That Believeland-Buffalove conundrum

By: Darby Ratliff

Opinion Editor

The Cleveland Browns are certainly not the best team in the National Football League right now. To be honest, they haven’t been in my lifetime, and I’m not optimistic that they ever will be. 18 years spent full time in Cleveland, and I didn’t even own a Browns t-shirt or hat to wear for the game on Sunday against the New York Jets. What did I have? A Buffalo Bills shirt from a blood drive we hosted my freshman year, and to be even more honest, I was more content to wear that then the orange and black of my homeland (when it comes to the Indians or Yankees, don’t expect the same kindness, New York).

Every Sunday, when I log into Facebook to procrastinate studying or doing homework, I find that someone has ended a status with “Go Bills.” Half the time, the idea of the post has no relevance to Ralph Wilson’s tenants. Mostly, it’s something to the effect of “It was great to get outside today and enjoy the fall weather in my backyard. Go Bills” or “I love my mother’s homemade cooking. Go Bills.” Never once have I seen a similar inclusion of “Go Brownies” into a Clevelander’s social media. It’s something I respect quite a bit about the Queen City and its inhabitants; in fact, it makes me care about football, a feat unaccomplished by my father during my tenure in Ohio, despite his honest attempts.

I will always be the first to argue that Cleveland and Buffalo are similar cities with the latter being a smaller version of the former. Two terrible football teams. Two waterfronts on the rise. Two cities with a friendly history and underappreciation abound. Buffalo, however, has an almost nationalistic quality. It’s got its history–its tradition figured out. It knows how to celebrate itself. Taste of Buffalo, the chicken wing festival, St. Patrick’s Day. Its richness plays out all over the city, both downtown and its surrounding suburbs. It’s the “city of good neighbors,” where the smell of Cheerios wafts through the streets, all the way out to Hamlin Park where I catch it on my walk home down Eastwood. Cleveland isn’t there yet; it could afford a few pages out of Buffalo’s book. It needs to return to the age of Gund Arena and Jacobs’ Field, the age in which the city was personal and not promoting Progressive Insurance and Quicken Loans. We’re a people, not an ad placement.  Let’s kick into gear, Cleveland, so that I can at least say “Go Brownies” enough to rival my Buffalonian counterparts.

For now, go Bills.

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