We are Cleveland Browns fans.
We have missed family reunions and cut vacations short just to watch our team play on Sunday afternoons.
We have suffered through the snarky comments of co-workers and the condescension of wagon-jumping fans of every stripe.
We have vehemently attacked the team on local sports talk radio shows for being incompetent and disorganized, while defending them on national shows from outsiders who say the same thing.
To each other, we say we're used to the the losing.
But we're not.
To ourselves, we say we no longer care if the team wins.
But we do.
We get frustrated when players who are supposed to represent us don't seem to get it, and when they seem more interested in inflating their egos or pointing their fingers.
We want to yell at them, to tell them to play like a Brown, and to tell them that it should mean something when they put on that orange helmet and those brown jerseys.
Because it means something to us.
We want to tell them to play like Otto Graham and Brian Sipe and Bernie Kosar— guys who won because they were not afraid to lose.
We want to beg them to emulate the toughness of Jim Brown, who would rather take a hit than step out of bounds.
We want them to feel as much passion towards the city their team is named for as that city feels for them.
We want them to hate the Bengals.
We want them to hate the Ravens.
We want them to hate the Steelers.
We want them to know that when you're a Cleveland Brown, it's not enough to give less than your all. It's not enough for the fans that have defended you, it's not enough for the city that supports you, and it's not enough for the memory of all the players that have gone before you.
We want them to know that we are proud of this team, even when it lets us down.
That we are grateful for every great play and great player.
That we are ready for a champion.
And that we are patient.
Because we are Cleveland Browns fans— and we would not choose to be anything else.