Another article submitted by our own mkocs6:
I'm writing this in the afterglow of the Browns' dominant victory over the Chiefs and in the wake of losses by Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, so please forgive my excitement and heroic hyperbole. We should not discount Cleveland's drubbing of Kansas City because it came against a 2-10 team, because we all know they couldn't have done that to ANYONE at any time in the last five years (except, you know, the Pats that one time).
They've now won three in a row, and have a difficult--nay, impossible!--route to the playoffs still open to them. Before anything else, though, there are three games the Browns must win: one against the team that made a trade to get a player who was supposed to haunt us for decades, Washington; one against an ancestral nemesis once again led by one of the great quarterbacks of a generation, Denver; and one against the Great Enemy--with a chance for Cleveland's first season sweep in the series since 1988--Pittsburgh. Even if we cannot make it, what a chance exorcise demons! What an opportunity to announce our arrival as a force again, if only to wait for next year!
I grew up in Cleveland and, being realistic for a moment, I'd like to echo Wright Thompson's incisive column
on the place where I was born: there are two Clevelands. He is not the first person to make the observation; Anthony Bourdain observed something very similar when filming a 2007 episode
of No Reservations
in the city. Apart from the regrettable inclusion of Skyline Chili in its introductory scene, it's masterful work and you can get a taste of it here in his affectionate obituary of Cleveland author Harvey Pekar
in 2010. There is a Cleveland of the past--where anything seemed possible--and of the present--where everyone feels at least somewhat resigned to defeat and decline. We're talking about political economy and culture as much as we're talking about sports. It's all felt like part of the syndrome, where the narrative of past, of prosperity, sneaks into the present only to see the intervention of reality, of recession. I've had dreams crushed, like everyone else there. This, of course, is not unique to Cleveland. It is my Cleveland, though. I've stared longingly at the Terminal Tower--for several decades, none of them in my lifetime, the tallest building in the world outside of New York City--against a blue sky and stared blankly at a frozen Lake Erie--once polluted beyond hope of recovery, in my father's youth, but now a vibrant Great Lake--at a bleak twilight. As that suggests, it's more complicated than the metanarrative suggests. Seemingly contradictory rises and falls coexist with each other.
Sometimes I believe everyone thinks I'm something of a Don Quixote, wandering the football landscape and tilting at windmills. Perhaps I am playing that role, and while I lack a Sancho Panza, the city must be my Dulcinea. I've said it before
, but Cleveland must be more than the sum of its sports teams. Cervantes's mind is sometimes impenetrable, but I have a feeling that here he would tell us that real battle rages elsewhere.
I have to ask anyway. Fellow Browns fans, dare we dream...the IMPOSSIBLE DREAM?