18. shouting.

Y’all want a crack at a Super Bowl trip, right?

Have I got a deal for you.

If you head over to Draft Day Suit, you’ll find details about a contest, sponsored by Vicks — the Dayquil people, not the dog-abusing, whining quarterback — that gives you a shot at showing your commitment to your chosen NFL team for a shot at a trip to this season’s Super Bowl — which, granted, is in Indianapolis, but still…

Need an idea of what you’re required to do? The Draft Day Suiters — specifically Laurie, Kristabella and yours truly — have helpfully provided a couple of suggestions for the tone that Vicks is looking for. Go take a look.

And once you’ve read, go enter the contest. You’ll have a shot at that magical trip to, ahem, Indianapolis, and you’ll be helping out DDS as well.

mysterious.

Stuff that arrived in the mail today:

1) A coupon from Right by Nature.

2) Address labels from a charity I haven’t given money to for years.

3) This:

No. 3 was something of a surprise, because I didn’t order it and Mrs. Crappy said she didn’t either. It’s a really nice jersey — all the stuff that comes with one of the NFL Authentics — and I have no idea where it came from.

I assume this is someone’s reaction to my questions last week about my NFL fandom; maybe whoever sent this wanted to reinforce my decision to stay with my Browns, no matter how ugly things get.

Those would be decent reasons for the why; I still don’t have any idea about the who. I have some guesses in mind (coughfredahem) but they are just that — guesses — at this point.

To my benefactor: Thank you. It means a lot. And I am totally wearing this on Super Bowl Sunday.

DISCLOSURE: I know I’m supposed to disclose gifts I’ve received because of my blog, so I suppose I need to say that here. This jersey, apparently, was a gift. But I don’t know who I’m thanking, which makes this disclosure a little weird. Sorry about that.

not happening.

I look good in black. But I’m a lot more comfortable in brown and orange.

I had a Moment of Weakness on Friday, and it led to ask a question that had never hit me in the 16 years I’ve lived in western Pennsylvania. I also asked you guys for advice about how to handle this question about my pro football identity, and most of you came through with honest, thoughtful responses.

Before I get to those, though, I should tell you about my test on Saturday. After I finished up a work assignment in the morning, Mrs. Crappy and I headed to the Strip, to get some lunch and find some Aloha kitsch for our upcoming Groundhog weekend. To further set the scene:

  • My lifelong commitment to Cleveland Browns football is apparently wavering.
  • I live in Pittsburgh — not just the area, mind you, but I own a house in the freaking City of Pittsburgh — and it would be awfully easy, convenient and fun to jump on the Stillers’ bandwagon.
  • I’m in the Strip on the day before the AFC championship game. There is cheap Stillers gear everywhere — everywhere — and if I were to ever make the leap, I could have outfitted myself right then, head to toe, for less than 40 bucks.

And you know what happened?

Nothing.

I helped Mrs. Crappy look for a black and gold scarf. We stopped at many of the tables set up along Penn to check out the new stuff. Although I had plenty of opportunities, I wasn’t tempted to buy a single fucking thing.

- – - -

The comments I got on Friday’s post — here and on Facebook — were somewhat predictable, but also helpful. Most of the Stiller fans said they were ready to welcome me to the fold. The people who have a more thorough idea of my football past said I should know better than to even consider changing my mind.

But the one comment that resonated the most came from Kim, a lifelong Red Sox fan who A) knows a little bit about suffering for your team and B) knows how good the payoff is when it comes. Her point? Jumping on that black-and-gold bandwagon would be fun; it would also inevitably become hollow, because that’s not where my heart is.

- – - -

I also found this. That’s the front and back of my old Pittsburgh Browns Backers T-shirt. Between regular Sunday shifts for several years and our travel to Columbus for those other football games, I haven’t been able to watch a game with the club for years; the two seasons I was able to hang out with those folks were among the most fun I’ve had as a pro football fan (and yes, those were after the team returned to the league). The team was probably even worse back then, but being with like-minded people helped a bunch; it also made those rare wins even better.

That is who I am. I may still be pissed about the current state of the team, but it is still my team. And it always will be.

On Friday I asked you guys if I was loyal or stupid.

The answer? Yes.

And if you don’t like it, you can kiss my brown-and-orange ass.

crisis.

I’m probably past the point where I would logically expect to have a midlife crisis or some other sort of existential hassles. And as I’m generally a content kind of guy, that stuff really isn’t my style anyway.

Unless, apparently, we’re talking about football.

I was strolling through the Mall at Robinson this afternoon and I was struck with a question:

Why am I making myself miserable every single football season when I could be enjoying myself?

Here’s what prompted the question. Every store in the mall has Steelers stuff up in their windows. Everyone is wearing football gear. Everyone is talking about Sunday’s game. I have a well-worn Newsbreak shtick where I gripe about the endless Steeler stuff, but if I were a fan, I would have jumped in with both feet a long time ago.

I was a huge NFL football fan until 1995. I went with some great seasons — albeit some with hugely frustrating endings — with my Cleveland Browns until that point.

And then my team was stolen, with the blessings of the league. And even since the team came back, I’ve been largely absent from NFL fandom. In the four years I went without the Browns, I learned to live without Sunday football; since the team rejoined the league, I’ve had precious few reasons to get excited about anything they’ve done. And in a league that is built to make sure all its teams have a shot at being competitive, the only reason I can find for a decade of embarrassing, barely professional football in Cleveland is complete and total incompetence, from the owner on down.

And I’m tired of it.

Still, as I’ve lived in Pittsburgh area for that entire decade, that question has never popped into my head. I’ve had people ask me why I’m not a fan of  the local team; I have plenty of friends here who aren’t natives but have had no trouble assimilating.

So what’s my deal? Am I admirably loyal? Or am I just an idiot?

For the past two years, a native friend of mine who is as frustrated by the Pirates as I am by the Browns has offered me a trade: He’ll dump the Pirates in favor of the Cleveland Indians fan if I make the reverse switch in the fall. I’ve never taken him up on his offer, but on the ride back home from Robinson this afternoon, I started thinking about the possibility.

In theory, it would be easy. I already know more about the Steelers day-to-day than I do about the Browns and I don’t think I would have too much trouble finding gear I would like — I look good in black and I already own two terrible towels.

Having said that, I’m not even sure it would be possible. I’m talking about a team that I’ve hated for years; along with my feelings for pro football in general, that’s kind of faded towards indifference recently, but it still could be tough to try to flip a switch and change my allegiance. It might even be impossible.

But you guys know me — I’m all for fun, and if I had already found a different approach to Sunday football, I’d be having a lot more fun than I am now.

So, I’m curious to hear what y’all think about this one. Am I a horrible person for even letting this cross my mind? Or am I moron for trying to hang on to something well past the point that any sane person could be expected to do so?

pekar.

No matter what my Pittsburgh friends think — or would have liked to see — the state of Ohio failed to burn down after the departure of a basketball player last week.

This departure, however, is a pretty big deal. And a much more important reason to be upset.

Thanks, Harvey, for sharing your life with us and reminding us of the depth, humor and joy we can all find in our common, everyday lives.