GASP! Did I just mention the devil and forgive in the same sentence? As I hide my head underneath a paper bag to avoid possibly being recognized before completing this fan commentary, I seriously wonder.... will it make a difference? At this point into a horrendous season, we all question if it's something we did that makes our team lose - did I wear the same clothes as I did when we beat the Bills? Why did I wash that shirt, damnit! Perhaps I should have had 6 pre-game beers instead of 3?
As a young kid watching "the drive" and again the following year watching "the fumble", I prayed to God. I didn't know any better. I was young. I hadn't yet discovered alcohol and the hardships of real life hadn't been uncovered. Please God, let them win. Nothing. No answer. Silence. And the aforementioned ensued. This more than anything in my life made me question whether God truly existed. And judging by the fact that two years in a row he ignored me, I decided to ignore him.
I am not a religious man. I would be described as agnostic, at best. But after suffering the last 11 years of mostly horrible football, I can't help but wonder: is this a test? Similar to how Job was tested in the Bible. What else could possibly go wrong that would make me curse the football gods? I don't think there is much more Satan himself could do to make me feel more dejected and depressed than I am as a Browns fan now. Move the team to Baltimore again maybe?
At this point, I've exhausted all options. I wear my Browns gear religiously, pun intended, to the bar at 10AM every week - I'm on the west coast so no chance of watching us on local TV. My brothers and I go on our annual pilgrimage to the homeland to watch a Browns game once a year. How much more loyalty can the football gods ask for? (If you're anything like me, you've been doing the same routine for the past 11 years). Which brings me to my last ditch effort to get this program on the right track - do I dare forgive Art Modell, Satan himself, for ripping the team away and them subsequently having a successful team year-in, year-out?
Job was tested with the loss of his wealth, his family, and even his health. Hopefully, the football gods don't care too much for my money, family or my health. But they've already taken everything else. And Art Modell was a big part of that.
Forgiveness is not something I would ever give lightly. I've sworn many times in my life that I would never forgive Art Modell. But if that's what it takes to get this team back to its winning tradition and bring us to the promised land, then so be it.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.