My husband, Brent, and a friend both told me I was lucky I didn’t get beaten up. By Baltimore Ravens fans. After they lost to the Browns Sept. 29. But first, the back story.
Brent and I were in the Washington, D.C. area recently (or the DMV, as they call it now, in a reference to D.C., Maryland, Virginia). In three days, we attended three sporting events: The University of Maryland vs. Penn State Football game Sept. 27 in College Park, the Indians vs. Nationals game Sept. 28 in D.C., and the Browns vs. Ravens game in Baltimore Sept. 29. It’s hard work being a sports fan in the fall.
For a brief shining moment, early in the current NCAA football season, Maryland football was ranked for the first time since 2010 (after a huge win over Syracuse). The following weekend, Penn State would travel to Maryland for a face-off. Our son attends the University of Maryland so we joined him at this highly anticipated game. The weather was perfect for the sell-out crowd at the Friday night game under the lights. As the game got underway, a roar welled up from the stands, and it lasted about two seconds. That’s approximately how long it took for Penn State to seize control of the game that ended 59-0 in the Nittany Lions’ favor. We enjoyed ourselves nevertheless, as the evening included the chance to reunite with some long-lost friends: they were loyal Maryland alumni and Brent and I hadn’t seen them in decades. The game was a good chance to see each other again. The lopsided score meant we weren’t really missing anything as we chatted away the entire second half standing on the concourse under the scoreboard, instead of paying much attention to the action on the field.
When we bought tickets to the Indians/Nats game, the Indians were still battling for a post-season spot. The day before the game however, the Indians became mathematically eliminated from the post-season so the game, we saw was essentially meaningless. Like the Maryland game, however, it had an upside. I met some nice Indians fans as I waved around a large Indians flag despite the Indians falling behind 9-0 after just two innings, and we rendezvous’d with some friends at this game, like we did at the Maryland game. The Tribe lost 10-7 and we were pretty exhausted after two long days of fandom, but we had one more to go.
Sunday, we headed out to see the Browns play in Baltimore. I wore a Browns jersey and a large orange foam dog paw and waved a large Browns’ flag. We posed for a photo with a gaggle of Ravens cheerleaders. From our seats, which were in the stadium’s highest section, we were happy to see plenty of Browns fans in our general area. It was an exciting game with plenty of lead-changes to please any spots fan. As the Browns’ victory became secure, dejected Ravens fans streamed out of the stadium in huge numbers, leaving Browns fans a lot more visible. We cheered more boldly. I waved my flag more enthusiastically. More and more chants of “Here we go Brownies” rang out, followed by yells of “Woof Woof!”
As Browns fans tend to do, we didn’t believe we had the win until the last second ticked off the clock, at which point all the remaining fans – who were mostly in brown and orange – stood and celebrated together. I waved my foam paw and, in a moment of madness (or genius), I tied my Browns flag around my neck and wore it like a cape as we descended the steps and wound our way through and out of the stadium. There’s nothing like being in your home stadium after a big win but being dressed a Browns super-hero in someone else’s stadium was pretty special, too. Despite the warnings, at no point was I afraid of being beaten up.
By the time you read this, the Browns could be barking up a whole different tree, the Cavs will be playing and this sports fan will have a whole new set of circumstances to cheer for, obsess over and possibly get in a fight about.