The Kicker And The Kids

Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed a chip shot field goal in a playoff game last week, and the Vikings lost.  No doubt he heard about it, in excruciating and probably vulgar detail, from the fans, and no doubt he personally felt terrible about it.

But then a first grade class decided to give him a show of support.  The kids wrote letters and drew pictures to encourage him, and recently Walsh stopped by their class to thank them.  You could tell that this football player was genuinely touched by the gesture and the kids’ innocent, warm-hearted decency and kindness.  The video above reports on Walsh’s visit and shows some of the kids’ drawings.

It’s a wonderful story that reminds me of the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  These kids know that there’s more to Blair Walsh, the human being, than a missed field goal, and they want to support him.  Why can’t more adults be like that?

Who’da Thunk It?

I ripped the Browns and their management earlier this week when they traded Trent Richardson, accusing them of giving up on the season and disrespecting their diehard fans.  So it’s only fitting that the Browns somehow figured out a way to score 31 points today and beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road, 31-27.

IMG_4861Let’s not kid ourselves — Minnesota isn’t very good, and the Browns aren’t either.  But I am amazed that this Browns team could figure out a way to score 31 points against any NFL team.  Of course, they frittered away lots of opportunities and had incredibly ill-timed turnovers, but this was the first time a lot of these guys had ever played together.  How in the world did they manage to gain more than 400 yards on offense and win on the road?

This week Browns fans everywhere will be tantalized.  Brian Hoyer looked a lot more comfortable in this offense than Brandon Weeden — could Hoyer and his quick release be legitimate?  The Browns D held Adrian Peterson below 100 yards, forced a fumble from him, and recorded six sacks.  Could the defense actually keep the Browns in games this year?

That’s the maddening thing about the Browns that only charter members of the Browns Backers can fully appreciate.  They usually don’t just stink up the joint — they always manage to raise your hopes before crushing them with an embarrassing loss or an impossibly inept play, and you look back on seasons and see countless losses that could have been wins and wonder about what might have been.  With today’s win, that process will start all over again.  Browns fans everywhere will see their hopes raised — at least until next week.