Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Rivalry that almost Resumed

I am originally from northeast Ohio. I was born and raised in Akron, OH where I lived until I went to college in Lynchburg, VA where I met my beautiful wife. She, on the other hand, was born and raised in southern Colorado, living in the city of Pueblo until she went to college. As a result, I grew up a very staunch fan of Cleveland professional sports. My wife grew up a very loyal fan of Denver professional sports. Surely this could never be a problem in marriage, could it?

The year of our engagement and the first year of our marriage were the years that the Cleveland Brown faced off with the Denver Broncos in the American Football Conference Championship games. Both years brought joy to my wife and severe heartbreak to me. In each of those games my beloved Browns had the Broncos beat until the infamous “drive” the first year followed by the Ernest Byner “fumble” the second year propelled my wife’s Broncos into the Super Bowl (where, I might add, both years they were soundly defeated by the NFC champions) and my Browns home to watch on television.

As you might imagine, this created quite the rivalry. If you are a Broncos fan, you don’t have much love for the Cleveland Brown and if you are a Browns fan you literally detest the Denver Broncos almost as much as you do the Pittsburg Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. How serious did we take this “minor” difference in our marriage? Well, let’s just say that our children grew up without a football team until they were old enough to swear allegiance by themselves (and both have done so to the Indianapolis Colts).

The rivalry has really lost its steam over the last decade or more. Once the Browns moved to Baltimore leaving Cleveland without a football team for several years followed by the resurgence of the Browns into the NFL, but with very slow progress toward being the dominant team they once were, there has been very little conflict in our marriage over professional sports…but that almost changed when the World Series started last night.

The Cleveland Indians at one point had a 3 games to 1 led over the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. One more victory would have placed them in a best of seven series against the National League champions, the Colorado Rockies from the Mile High City of Denver. At the beginning of the season, nobody gave either of these teams a prayer. And frankly, even after they surprised so many by making post-season play, no one expected them to move out of the league divisional series.

Unfortunately for me, my Indians choked down the stretch and missed the world series. Oh, well, maybe it's for the better. Had they won, the Cleveland-Denver rivalry would have resumed in our marriage. My wife and I would have rooted for two different teams. In fact, we would have probably ended up watching the games in two different rooms on two different televisions. The last two times our teams squared off, I came out on the short end of the stick. Once again I will fail to taste the sweet nectar of victory. So who do I root for now? No matter the outcome I can guarantee this, when it’s over I’ll still detest the Broncos with every fiber of my being but I’ll still love my wife with all of my heart.

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