As I roam the bustling streets of Bradenton/Sarasota Florida, I can't help but see the proliferation of Kobe and Shaq jerseys people are wearing. I openly wonder...were these people Laker fans When Vlade Divac patrolled the middle?....
As they indicted the CEO of IM Clone for insider trading, I noticed another shudder run through the stock market. Not just the CEO mind you. His relatives as well. And the spectre of Martha Stewart being led off in hand cuffs (it's a GOOD thing).
And somewhere in the midwest, a father plans out his child's athletic future, even though she's only 2 years old. Seems he saw the Williams sisters in the Open final
and has decided his daughter WILL play tennis.
A 37 year old man jumps onto his computer, and day trades stocks like he's picking ponies at Thistledown. A down and out family man spends his last 5 bucks on lottery tickets.
Face it. We live in an instant gratification world. A world where companies were created that never intended to make a profit, or even operate as businesses. A world where DOT COM at one time brought the promise of million dollar buyouts. A world where the pot of gold was within the reach of any man who had a computer, a modem, and access to Schwab.com. A world where the hordes of disenfranchised "fans" could slip on a Kobe jersey, and feel like a winner.
Truth be known, the instant gratification syndrome extends beyond traders and fans.
Organizations that ignored salary cap issues mortgaged their futures on one good year. Wayne Huizenga bought his world series ring, and bailed out of the team 2 years later. And then there is the king of instant gratification.
Who else could spend money he didn't have on Andre Rison, as a last gasp effort to win a Super Bowl? Who else could traumatize a city and it's loyal fans, by selling out to a new city willing to give him more? Who else could win the Super Bowl and still offer 1 dollar as a fee for training facilities the following year? Who else could sell out to HBO the following year, and proceed to ignore salary issues?
The saddest part is that these people sometimes achieve their goal. A day trader may make a million, and Art did win a super bowl. But at the heart of their achievement is the inevitable conclusion that the trader will give it back, and Art would bankrupt his team.
But I know there is a different world out there. A world of working people making their dreams come true through hard work and effort. People who have cultivated years of sacrifice and pennance, to emerge victorious. True victory ALWAYS takes time. And sometimes years of effort don't translate into achieved goals.
When Cubs fans threw home run balls back onto the field, it was their way of saying,
"We may suck, but we don't need your superstar home run ball". These people were fans. Win or lose, it was the journey that counted the most.
Fans cannot subscribe to the rules of an instant gratification society. And Browns fans don't. The masked dawgs represent our link to a time where we came just short of our goals. Guys like Bullhockey tie us to the eras of Graham and Brown, when we
regularly achieved our goals. We talk about the Steve Holdens and Willis Adams in the same breath as the William Greens. We are bound by years of success and failure. Solidified by trauma and rejection.
In our hearts, we know we are the best fans. We bleed with our team. We've worn the colors during the Paul MacDonald years. We don't need heavy network coverage or a Shaq or Kobe to get us going. We know the difference between a cheap win and an earned victory.
And as we watch Martha Stewart led off in cuffs, and Arthur Anderson and Enron dissolve in a sea of discord, we see our Browns growing stronger by doing the right things. And we know that our goal is again...within reach.
Why Browns Fans are Among the Best Fans in Sports
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