Sirk: Cow Patties from Columbus

Old pal and ex-AFC North Truthcenter collaborator Steve Sirk has taken to sending us letters from his remote outpost in Columbus, Ohio. Filling in a gaping void in the OBR columnist line-up, Sirk will help us understand life as a Browns fan in Columbus, a land of divided loyalties where true Browns fans are often faced with unique challenges...


Like the Steelers and Bengals, you and I have a lot of catching up to do.

The truth is I don't even know if I can concentrate right now due to all of the commotion down here in Central Ohio. It started with the election, when all of the networks swarmed into town two weeks in advance as if Columbus were hosting The Super Bowl of Suffrage. And now, this very Saturday, there's a little thing being referred to as The Most Important Event In The History Of The Universe Ever Times Infinity.

In the past month, I have personally given 13 "man on the street" interviews. I have also given four "man at a diner" interviews, two "man at a gas pump" interviews, and one awkward "man at a urinal" interview. If I could pry him away from his ex-girlfriend, I would hire Albert Belle to throw baseballs at all these cameramen. I need a break.

But this is one of the biggest football weekends in Ohio history, so I don't have time to give the "other-fish-in-the-sea" lecture to a cranky ex-ballplayer.  Between the Bobcats, Buckeyes, and Browns, my level of anticipation has surpassed that of a dog hearing the automatic garage door opener grinding into gear.

As I write these words, my beloved Ohio Bobcats have just clinched the MAC East title; all but locking up their first bowl bid since 1968. I knew this year would be special when the Columbus Dispatch ran a front page story about the 17 Bobcat players that had been arrested in the past year, including one who punched a police horse Blazing Saddles style. Plus our coach tried to defend his DUI by saying someone spiked his drink with the date rape drug. Oh, and he feels study tables are a harsh punishment for assault and battery. Except for maybe the horse-punch, these are all hallmarks of a legit Division 1-A program. I never thought I'd see the day in Athens.

Another thing I never thought I'd see is the OSU-Michigan game being kicked up another notch. I thought this thing was all notched-out, but with #1 vs. #2, it has done the equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain buying longer bedposts.

 I don't know if I can even convey what it's like down here. Everything relates to The Game. I would not be shocked to turn on the news and see the following teaser for a fatal house fire:

"When we come back, we'll tell you why one Central Ohio family won't be able to watch The Big Game."

As excited as I am for OSU-Michigan, the Big Game for me will be the Browns-Steelers grudge match. This is huge for me for several reasons:

1. The Browns are actually on TV down here! I don't get to see them every week in Columbus now that the Cincinnati natives have learned that they got a new football team last year. In order to help Cincy fans learn about the current NFL, its current teams, players, rules, etc, WBNS has kindly blocked out three hours on most Sundays for Bengals Bandwagon Theater. This means the Browns are only on if there are no TV conflicts, like when the Browns are on CBS and the Bengals happen to be on another network, such as Court TV.

2. It features players at the polar opposite ends of the allegiance spectrum. As an Ohio Bobcat playing for the Cleveland Browns, Dave Zastudil is my hero. He's the anti-Roetherhelsburgerer, who is a Miami Redhawk playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. (After looking it up, I am proud to say that Zastudil's punts are averaging 0.6 seconds of hang-time more than Rothlissbergguer's passes. Take that, you Pittsami Steelhawk!!!)

3. It might make local Steeler fans shut up. Yes, as if Bengals fans weren't enough, we also have those Steeler types down here. I feel like Dark Helmet on the command deck of Spaceball One. I am surrounded by a**holes.

4. For the first time in NFL history, a game will feature two dangerously inept motorcyclists. Maybe Super Dave will do the halftime show.

5. I actually looked this up. If the Browns win on Sunday, it would be the first time that the Browns would be ahead of the Steelers in the standings since the conclusion of Week 11 of the 2003 season. Coincidentally, both teams entered that week at 3-6, but the Browns improved to 4-6 that day, whereas the Steelers fell to 3-7. If history repeats itself, we will be in rare territory last explored on November 16, 2003. Wow. After researching that, I feel like Jayson Stark, except suicidal.

I am incredibly anxious and psyched for the Browns game. And the Buckeyes game is going to be an incredible appetizer. It is my hope that the Bobcats got the weekend off on the right foot. One monumental win in the books, two more to go.

I will send you another update next week.


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