Cleveland Browns: Why I will attend the 0-16 parade
By Joel W. Cade
The Cleveland Browns are down to their last chance to avoid the infamy associated with an 0-16 record. But if the Perfect Season Parade happens, here is why I will be I in attendance.
Let me make this very clear. I am a devoted Browns fan who has had the privilege of covering the Browns for Dawg Pound Daily for the past two seasons. It is a lot of fun and I have learned a lot about the Browns while sharing my knowledge as coach and student of the game. I sincerely hope the Browns win on Sunday and avoid infamy.
That said, if the Browns go 0-16 this season, I will be attending the 0-16 parade on Jan. 6, 2018. I have already RSVP’d on Facebook and I have lined up a place to stay in Cleveland for the weekend.
Recently on the Cleveland Browns radio show Cleveland Browns Daily, it was suggested that anyone attending the 0-16 parade was not a “true” Browns fan. In this John Dorsey-type statement, the caller began to divide what is a “true,” or should it be said “real,” Browns fan by their attendance at an 0-16 parade.
If this was not ludicrous enough, co-host Matt Wilhelm all but agreed with the caller. Wilhelm suggested that someone from sales should go to the parade, single out season-ticket holders and cancel their tickets. He also suggested that people at the parade should not spend their money on the Browns because “you are not a fan at that point.” This is a pretty emotional response to a seemingly harmless demonstration.
Although it should be noted that Nathan Segura did state his normal line that the easiest way to stop all the parade talk is to simply win a game. On this point, I agree with Segura. Win a game and the parade talk does not exist.
But I vehemently disagree that fans, like me, who may attend this parade are not “true” or “real” Browns fans. It raises the question, what does it mean to be a “true” or “real” fan?
I will avoid the philosophical route, which is difficult given my day job, and focus on the asinine statement, which both hosts tacitly consented to, that a “real” or “true” Browns fan would not attend the parade.
The one question I would like to see answered is “why?” Why are people who attend the parade not true fans?
One can have fun by going into the etymology of the word “fan,” which is a shortened form of fanatic. The hosts of Cleveland Browns Daily have done this several times so it seems like fair game to refute their argument.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online a “fanatic” is “a person who is extremely enthusiastic about and devoted to some interest or activity.” On this surface, an argument stating that Browns fans are enthusiastically devoted to their team means that “true” or “real” fans are extremely devoted.
The difficulty with this definition (sorry for the philosophy, just hang in there) is that it uses the Greek “enthusiasm” to define the Latin “fanatic,” when both words refer to the same object and are often used interchangeably in English. The definition is the equivalent of saying “a dog is a dog.”
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Nonetheless, fanatic and enthusiasm signify to be seized by the divine or a god in a religious setting. For example, the Oracle of Delphi would be enthusiastically taken over by the god to deliver the divine message. While in the throes of such an experience, the “fan” loses all use of rational thought in their pure devotion to the higher power.
It seems to me that neither Segura nor Wilhelm would suggest that fans should blindly follow the Browns and leave all rational thoughts about the Browns aside.
But in this case, being a “true” or “real” Browns fans seems to entail a vicarious living of one’s life through the ups and downs of Browns football that seems to defy rational critical inquiry. Hence, to be a “true” or “real” fan, one must be in the throes of devotion and emotionally tied to the Browns performance on Sundays. That is, if the Browns lose, everyone feels bad and has a bad day.
But what is this parade if not a rational criticism of how that Browns have been owned, managed and operated since owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam took over the team? Rationally criticizing ownership, management and players is a form of devotion.
For example, I am devoted to my wife. I love her very much. Yet on occasion, for the growth of our relationship, I sometimes need to express my disagreements with her. I can express these disagreements both rationally and emotionally. But in the end, I still love her very much and remain a “true” or “real” husband to her. My criticism does not signify a hatred. Quite the opposite, it is an expression of my love and devotion by working to improve the relationship.
It seems to me a “true” or “real” fan would want to express their concerns in a tangible way rather than simply running off with the office secretary or deny that such problems even exist. The 0-16 parade is that forum.
It is time to put away vicarious living with the Browns. I heard the saying but cannot track it down that fans should not “let the millionaires ruin your day.” Are “true” Browns fans supposed to leave critical thought behind to allow their lives and emotional states to be dictated by how 53 well paid athletes perform on Sunday?
A good rule of thumb is if one reacts with extreme, almost irrational, emotion to a situation, that is a signal that there is an unresolved issue in one’s life. It is best to find a way to resolve that issue instead of playing it out every week with the Cleveland Browns.
Lastly, I ask all of you readers, how do you want to remember this season? Do you want to look back at how awful it was and bring that negativity back into your life? Or do you want to have some fun with the fact a group of 53 professional athletes could not perform well enough to win a single game?
The Browns are 53 well paid professional athletes and a set of well paid coaches. They are not gods. They do not deserve a god like devotion from us fans.
As a “true” or “real” fan of the Cleveland Browns, I will be in Cleveland on Jan. 6, ,2018 (God forbid!) expressing my displeasure over the current state of the Browns, all the while turning a potentially negative experience into a positive.
Next: DPD Podcast: The 0-16 parade
Twenty years from now, I will remember the 2017 Browns with a smile while I remember all the fun I had at the 0-16 parade. As a “true” fan should.
Let’s hope the Browns win today and all of this is a moot point.