On Being Brown: What it Means to Be a Cleveland Browns Fan

On Being Brown: What it Means to Be a Cleveland Browns Fan

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by Scott Huler
     
 

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What is this madness all about? Anyone who has experienced it knows: being a Cleveland Browns fan is just different.

Why are we the only fans in the nation who ever demanded their team back—and got it? Why did three seasons without football fail even to dampen the enthusiasm? Why have we endured years of heartache (The Fumble, The Drive, “Red

Overview

What is this madness all about? Anyone who has experienced it knows: being a Cleveland Browns fan is just different.

Why are we the only fans in the nation who ever demanded their team back—and got it? Why did three seasons without football fail even to dampen the enthusiasm? Why have we endured years of heartache (The Fumble, The Drive, “Red Right 88” . . .) yet grown ever more attached to the experience?

These 33 essays hold the answer. Scott Huler’s nostalgic memoirs, and his interviews with Browns legends and other fans, uncover those essential, special elements of shared experience that define what being a Browns fan has meant for us all.

It’s about pride. It’s about desire, tempered by crushing disappointment. It’s about tradition, and learning how to root for the home team at your father’s side. It’s about rivalry and electrifying victory. It’s about longing—for a return to past championships, for future glory. It’s about heart. It’s about all that, and much more.

This odyssey takes Browns fans back to some wonderful places. It revives some truly heartbreaking moments. And it looks to the future with great hope. If you’re Brown, you’ll enjoy the ride.

Editorial Reviews

The Plain Dealer
Those who . . . want to renew the bittersweet relationship between team and fan will enjoy this book.
Cleveland Scene
Consistently poignant and occasionally profound
Free Times
The 33 essays and interviews are as bite sized as pretzels, just as addictive . . . Each nostalgia cluster has a take on the relationship between team and town.
Currents
Captures brilliantly the love affair between the city and the team.
SportsJam!
Not just another history lesson . . . this book is therapeutic.
SportsJam! - Book Reviewer
Not just another history lesson . . . this book is therapeutic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781886228313
Publisher:
Gray & Company, Publishers
Publication date:
08/15/1999
Pages:
156
Sales rank:
634,612
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.35(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Brown

Brown is the color of my true love’s . . .

Start, naturally enough, with the ground. The ground on the field of Cleveland Municipal Stadium is as brown as dry, dead leaves, as brown as any ground has a right to be, as brown as any ground on which men play professional sports. On sunny days it is a yellow, sandy brown, but the first time I ever see it, during a dispirited 6–2 Browns loss to the Dallas Cowboys, it is a wet, muddy brown in a thick stripe down the middle of the field. The game is longtime coach Blanton Collier’s final home game, and the uneventful loss means more than I have any way of knowing at the time. Collier is the last man to guide the Browns to a championship, but to me this means little; I am only 10, and I know nothing of history. And this is, after all, the first time we meet.

Brown is the color of the milky coffee that my father pours out of his thermos, steaming into the damp November air, and sips to warm up. At home coffee is a bitter beverage, objectionable to my young tastes; at the stadium, coffee bespeaks halftime, the closeness of my father and my uncle, a momentary lessening of the tremendous pressure that fills the stadium while the game is in progress. The small, acrid coffee aroma mingles with the other rich stadium smells—of beer, of hot dogs, of liquor, of men’s breath. Above all, the coffee is brown.

Brown is the color of the crowd—a stadium Browns game is the first place that I experience the feeling of being in a crowd comprising many black people. To me they seem friendly, gentle, supportive in a deep, resonant way. They are brown; Jim Brown, something of a god in our household, is brown; the team is named the Browns. It all seems to go together in some inexplicable, mystical way, and I envy these brown people their more obvious identification with the team. In the distance, on the other side of the stadium, the crowd, a mixture of brown and white faces, gray and brown overcoats, and the white vapor of condensing breath, is the color of the coffee that comes out of my dad’s thermos, and so the crowd becomes in memory warm and steamy as well.

Brown is the color of the unfamiliar downtown buildings we pass as we drive in to the game, always arriving a half hour before kickoff. Brown is the color of the factories we can see in the distance under the low gray clouds beyond the bleachers. Brown is the color of the leaves by the side of the road, the mud at the schoolyard where my brother and I pretend we are football players. Brown is the color of autumn.

Brown is the color of my true love.

[Excerpted from On Being Brown, © Scott Huler. All rights reserved. Gray & Company, Publishers.]

Meet the Author

Scott Huler, a Cleveland native, currently roots for the Browns from Raleigh, North Carolina. He has written five books and has been a staff writer for the Raleigh News and Observer and the Philadelphia Daily News as well as an award-winning producer and reporter for Nashville Public Radio. His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times and have been heard on such national radio shows as National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Public Radio International’s Marketplace. Huler graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis and was a 2002–2003 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.

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On Being Brown: What it Means to Be a Cleveland Browns Fan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am always looking for books that examine the sport experience from the perspective of the fan, as I teach and research issues relating to sport marketing. Mr. Huler's book is a fine case study on one highly vested group of sport consumers. He highlights the historically strong relationship Browns fans had/have with the franchise (it was written before the new Browns emerged), underscored with personal insights and interviews with other key figures (fans and former Browns). I added the text to my sport marekting course to allow students to think about how fans develop bonds with sport properties. Beyond the scholarly angle, it helps us all think about why we are fans, and the values we place on our sport organization relationships.