Hey there WFNY faithful. Thanks so much for reading this site and helping us fulfill our sports dreams. I know that’s overly dramatic, but all I ever wanted to do after hearing Howard Stern was be on radio. Even if it’s just a weird approximation, I’ve now found something of an audience for well over 600 podcast episodes of mostly me talking and interviewing people. It’s pretty awesome and it – namely recent guest Zac Jackson – gave me my topic for today.
Before I get to that topic, I want to thank all those who’ve supported us via Patreon and encourage anyone who hasn’t done so to consider it at least for a little bit. If you don’t want to be in the club forever, no big deal. Throw us a couple bucks and cancel. We’d obviously prefer an ongoing relationship and you can bid as little as $1 per month1 to stand up and be counted.
One of this week’s podcast guests was Zac Jackson who recently joined The Athletic Cleveland. We had a really nice conversation about a lot of topics, but the one thing that I don’t think I’ll ever forget from the podcast is him recounting the moment that the Browns broke him. I won’t spoil it because you should have listened to the podcast, but I’ll just say it involved John St. Clair. It made me think seriously about what the moment was for me that the Browns broke me.
In case you haven’t heard it, listen to Zac Jackson talk about it on the WFNY Podcast.
So, when did it happen for me? First of all I need to say that, yes, I am indeed broken as a Browns fan. For a variety of reasons I’ve long since stopped caring. I couldn’t mount a reasonable defense to myself or my family to retain the Browns season tickets that we’ve had every year possible since I can remember as a kid in the 1980’s. I certainly haven’t bought any Browns gear since the infamous color change or jersey unveiling. I’ve still not had a new Browns jersey since the Kellen Winslow one I gave to Goodwill after he was traded to Tampa. That wasn’t the moment.
You’ll all remember the tantrum I had when the Browns traded Trent Richardson very quickly after drafting him and saying he was going to be a big part of their plan. Even that, however wasn’t the moment that I was officially broken by the Browns. I was really mad2 that the Browns were wasting another year of my life by pushing their future to the next draft and beyond.
Then they fired Chud. That was likely the beginning of the end for me in terms of being broken. Somewhere in there we had Jimmy Haslam’s issues with the government based on his business dealings at Pilot Flying J. The firing of Chud was unconscionable after just a year on the job with an experienced roster of coordinators and a trade of what was supposed to be a star offensive weapon in Trent Richardson.
I had glimmers of hope thereafter and really leaned hard on my sense of tradition in order to justify keeping our Browns tickets, but I was lying to myself. I really didn’t believe in those teams or the people executing the plan. There was a glimmer of hope for the future when they fired Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi but it was once again nothing but wishful thinking. I really think it goes back to Chud. Prior to that season, I’d always withheld my outrage, instead finding reasons to abide by whatever the Browns were doing. I’d look for silver linings in some potential plan that could possibly make sense. I liberally handed out benefit of the doubt like I was creating a feeding frenzy of ducks and geese in a neighbor’s pond as a kid. That season, between the trade of Trent and the one-year firing of Chud, the music had really died for me. Finally.
So when did it happen for you?
I’m old. This year is my 20th high school reunion. That means I graduated from high school the same year that Dav Pilkey released the first Captain Underpants “novel.” This also means that I am firmly outside the demographic of people that grew up reading the books, but holy hell are there a lot of fans. Any person about 30 or under has a chance to have grown up with some or all of these books. For those of you who are youth-challenged such as myself, this series includes titles like “Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets,” “Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants,” and my personal favorite, “Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outerspace (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds)”.
My soon-to-be seven-year-old is such a big fan of Dav Pilkey’s work that he and I went to meet the author when he gave a talk at the Parma branch of the Cuyahoga County Library. There were hundreds of fans there that evening. When I told Ben that this was being turned into a movie, he started counting down the months to June. I think this was around Christmas time.
On Wednesday morning I saw that a trailer had been released and I showed it to him and just watching him get captivated by it got me all excited too. So now even I’m looking forward to the Captain Underpants movie. What’s happened to me?