Winning The Must-Win Game

This afternoon the Cleveland Browns had to beat the Baltimore Ravens to stay in contention for a playoff spot.  Somehow, someway, they did it.

This Cleveland Browns team is not pretty.  In fact, they’re about as far from pretty as you can get. It’s a blue-collar team that managed to win today in a blue-collar way — with tough defense, quarterback pressures, and big plays on offense when it counted.

IMG_5321I don’t think Baltimore is very good, but that’s part of the reason why today’s game was crucial.  If you can’t beat the crummy teams, you don’t have a future in the NFL.  Jason Campbell isn’t an all-pro quarterback, but he can make plays that Brandon Weedon can’t, and today it was just good enough.  As long as the offense doesn’t give up turnovers, this Browns defense should be good enough to keep the team in a lot of games.

When it comes to the Browns, my needs are few.  They’ve sucked for years; I don’t expect a sudden conversion to a Super Bowl team.  What I do expect is a team that plays tough defense, doesn’t give the ball away on offense, and makes a few big plays to put some points on the board.  Today, the Browns met those limited goals, and as of week 9 they are still in the hunt.

When you consider that the Browns often have been out of the playoffs by week 9, what this Browns team has delivered is good enough for me.

Orange You Glad It’s Autumn?

IMG_5306It’s been a beautiful fall color season in New Albany this year.  The maple tree in our backyard looked particularly radiant, with its blazing orange leaves.  Unfortunately, the inevitable autumn storms have come, and the wind and rain have knocked many of the leaves off the trees — as the carpet of color at the base of our maple tree indicates.  We’ll have a more days of the beautiful colors, then it will be time for the grim Skeletal Tree Season.

Ross-Ade Stadium, November 2

IMG_5291Kish and I had a great time going to yesterday’s OSU-Purdue game, thanks to the generosity of proud Purdue alum WOW II and his lovely wife the Gifted Googler, who can use her handheld to identify architectural styles in the blink of an eye.

The fact that the Buckeyes prevailed helped, of course, but it was great to see another Big Ten stadium, do some tailgating with the Boilermaker faithful, and get a tour of the Purdue campus — which is beautiful — with an alum as tour guide.  The Purdue fans were gracious and friendly and everyone was having a good time in the tailgating area.  It makes me think that it might be fun to do a road trip to another Big Ten stadium now and then.

Fall Back, The Clocks Are Attacking!

You never fully realize how many clocks you have in the house until it’s a “time change” Sunday and you have to patrol the household and make sure that every time-keeping instrument is set to the correct hour.

IMG_5298It’s a day that shows how beholden we are to time.  We’ve got clocks on our phones, on our computers, on our stoves, on our microwaves, and on our TVs.  There’s a clock on the dashboard of my car.  We’ve got standalone clocks and alarm clocks and clock radios.  We have more than a dozen clocks in our two-person, two-dog household — and that’s without any wristwatches, because I stopped wearing one years ago.  It’s hard to believe that our ancestors lived for generations without having any kind of timepiece telling them it’s 6:56 a.m.

When it’s time to actually change the time, I develop a special appreciation for computers and smartphones that automatically adjust to Standard Time.  The Sunbeam alarm clocks are next on the simplicity appreciation meter, because you can quickly change the position of the hands on the clock with a twist of a knob on the back.  The clock radio and the microwave are a little bit tougher, because you have to hold down a button and hit another button until the time adjusts to the new normal.

And then there is the clock on the oven, which was designed by some sadistic engineer who wanted to torment sleepy people on a Sunday morning in November.  I can never figure out how to change the clock, so after a few half-hearted attempts and some well-chosen epithets I give up.  After all, it’s only a few months until Daylight Savings Time rolls around again.