Stormy in Brownstown

September 14th, 2008


The last breaths of Hurricane Ike whipped across the shores of Lake Erie tonight, adding a mysterious tone to the Steelers Sunday Night match up against AFC North Rivals the Cleveland Browns. The seagulls were squawking, flags were flapping, and tailgate tents were headed back to Antie Em’s farm.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have family roots in Cleveland. So sitting by lake Erie I feel like I’m sharing some of my fathers past. But it also seems very distant. In many ways Pittsburgh and Cleveland may be alike, but living in Pittsburgh for the last eight years I have that feeling like I’m in a bizarre alternative to reality. At times I could close my eyes and think I’m still in Pittsburgh. Cleveland is a town that lives for football much like Pittsburgh. But after a few minutes, everything feels strange. Things are just different. And then it feels like I’m in bizarro world.

And to top it all off Clevelanders hate Pittsburghers. On any day other than Sunday this disdain is subtle. For instance my wife recently went to the Cleveland Clinc for a conference and on her name tag they put “Pittsburg,” dropping the silent “H.” Pittsburgh was forced to drop the “H” from 1890-1911 by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Pittsburghers fought to have it restored so we take great pride in it.  Now to any casual observer this oversight would appear harmless, but I am 51% certain that it was an intentional jab by a Browns fan crazed by their brief position of power over name tags. You be the judge.

All politeness gets thrown out the window on Sundays though. Should you walk through Cleveland on a game day wearing your Steelers colors, you would hear several things, none of them polite.

“Hey Loser, you suck!”

and the favorite term that rings in unison “ass-hole!”

I went to the game by myself and the best comment I got was: “Hey Polamalu look at you walking all alone like a homo! Get a haircut.” And one guy really reached by making fun of Byron Leftwitch. Browns fans are really digging for something when the start making fun of the backup quarterback first.

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