The Curse of Fandom

Lately I’ve been wondering if being a sports fan ultimately is a blessing, or a curse. In my adult lifetime, teams I have rooted for have won precisely one championship — the Ohio State Buckeyes won the college football national championship in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, which was a great game that Russell and I attended in person. (I’ll write a blog post about that experience some day, I think.)

Other than that, the record of the teams I root for has been dismal indeed. The Browns last won an NFL championship in 1964, when I was 7 years old and not really paying attention to professional football. They are one of the very few NFL teams that has never made it to even one Super Bowl, although they’ve played for a spot in the Super Bowl four times. The Buckeye football team and basketball team have had their share of heartbreaking losses in Big Games, the Cleveland Cavaliers have never won an NBA championship, and the poor Cleveland Indians have not won the World Series since 1948 — nine years before I was born. During much of my adult life, the Tribe was so appallingly bad that they actually made a fine and funny movie, Major League, about the team’s futility. (Alas, the movie was a fantasy.)

I admit that I get foolishly wrapped up in the teams I root for, and make a spectacle out of myself when they gag away a big one. It raises the question of whether the angst and stress from season after season of failure is worth the One Shining Moment when my team actually won it all. I’m not sure how I come out on that exercise in weighing pro and con, but in any case Spring Training is beginning and in a few days pitchers and catchers will report and another season of Indians baseball will begin. And perhaps … just perhaps … this will be the year.


Well, I have greatly disappointed Poppers with the fact that I have not posted a blog on the new Webner Family Blog, so consider this my inaugural blog.

First of all, I should say that Dad has greatly enjoyed the Webner Family Blog – great gift, Richard! He accesses it frequently, enjoys contributing, and enjoys (as do I) all of your and Russell’s entries. He’s been after me to post something quite nearly from its inception, but I find myself feeling inexplicably self-conscious — unlike Dad, who sits down and writes with great fluidity on a wide range of topics.

Anyhow, I think I will first write about Poppers. Since Penny returned, I’ve gotten a big kick out of the fact that she – while still clearly favoring me – now seems particularly fond of Poppers as well. She gladly goes on walks with him (sans me) comes to him when called, sits at his feet, is excited when he gets home for dinner, etc. Dad won’t admit it, but he clearly enjoys the apparent fondness Penny feels for him (although he still lets out those incredibly long sighs when Penny is doing something annoying and irritating, which is often. And I’m certain he believes life would be much easier without her.)

Anyhow, I told Dad I would make my first entry “Living with Poppers,” but I’m not sure I can sustain any one topic for any great length – but I’ll try. Actually, Dad is pretty easy to live with – and I’m certain I drive him nuts in a way he could never drive me. The biggest thing about Dad that became all the more apparent since you guys left the house is his proclivity toward routine. He always gets up at 5 am, takes his walk around the Yantes Loop, and always in the same direction. When I accompany him on the walks (which isn’t usually, I admit) I’ll suggest a different route – but I can always tell it kinds of unsettles him to deviate from his routine. Anyhow, once done with his walk, he comes home, plays solitaire on the ancient computer in the guest room, gets ready for work. Somewhere in between all those tasks he usually straightens up the house. He’s much neater than I (as you both know), and the various debris (chewed up plastic bags, toys, etc.) that Penny manages to leave everywhere drives him positively nuts, as do the many things (hosiery, wrappers, etc.) I leave scattered around.

When Poppers gets home in the evening, he changes, eats dinner and usually spends lots of time on the computer entering more songs onto his ipod, visiting the Webner family blog, etc. Sometimes we walk to the library. Lately we’ve started watching The Wire, which is a good television series about inner city Baltimore and the police department there. It’s very unusual; Dad said some people have called it the best television series ever; I think that’s hyperbole, but it is quite good.

Anyhow, back to routine …today we indulged in one of Popper’s more familiar routines – going to lunch at the Indian Oven (I didn’t have to work because of Presidents Day). The owner there really likes Dad, and they have their usual banter about whether Dad is going to order, once again, the Lamb Korma. Dad clearly enjoys the attention he gets there. The owner loves him – and why shouldn’t he? Between Dad and the various summer associates and other Vorys colleagues he takes there, he’s a darned good customer – one of the biggest “regulars,” I’m sure.

Anyhow, today Dad kept wishing everyone “Happy Presidents Day,” which elicited many strange looks in return.

Well, enough about Poppers …. All’s well here at home. Being an empty nester is very quiet. I can’t believe how quickly those years went by when both of you were home. It’s particularly strange to go into your bedrooms (not that I do that often, I promise). They pretty much look the same – that inimitable look of “perfect disorder” — but everything is sooooooo still and quiet.

Work, however, keeps me pretty busy. I work 7:30-4:30 pm. That 7:30 am remains a real challenge for me, but I’m managing. We’ve started ordering really good coffee (free trade, from Dean’s Beans/Amnesty International) at work, and so I look forward to a really good cup ‘o joe.

Anyhow, that’s about it for now. Maybe since I’ve done my first entry, the next one will come a bit more easily.