Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ricky and the Cleveland Browns

During the holiday season, I get to be thinking about family members who have passed on. I lost my sister, Bev, in March, 1997, my dad in September, 2000, my mom in April 2004, and my brother, Allen, in July of 2009. Most people who have read this blog, remember my writings about my brother, Ricky, who passed away in March, 2008. Ricky suffered from neurofibromtosis. He had seizures and had other developmental problems. But he always loved a good joke and had a very memorable laugh.

I was really thinking about Ricky this afternoon, as I watched the Cleveland Browns drop their final game of the season to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ricky was a big sports fan. He became one when I became one. As I posted before, he was my shadow. And being blessed with living in the Cleveland metropolitan area, we rooted for the Cleveland sports teams, primarily the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers. And whatever hockey team represented the area. Ricky became a human sports encyclopedia.

Right after his 41st birthday in 1999, my parents had to make the decision to place Ricky in a nursing home. His caretakers found out he had a love of cartoons and sports. My mom would go up there to visit. The nurses noted that he really loved his cartoons. They could hear him all over the floor laughing. they also knew that they could get the latest scores by going to his room and asking.

In 2003, we transferred Ricky to a nursing home in Rittman, as Kathy and I took over his care, since my mom was in failing health. Everybody knew he had two basic interests: Spongebob Squarepants, and Cleveland sports.Which brings us to the Browns.

Sunday afternoons in the fall, the air of the nursing home would be filled with one thing: Ricky yelling at the television. the Browns had returned to the NFL, or so they say, in 1999. The new stadium was filled to capacity. The play was....crappy to say the least. Cliff Note: This is a trend that continues to this day. Anyway, Ricky bled orange and brown on game day and demanded a quality product. He was your typical Browns fan, and remember that fan is short for fanatic.

Although those around him were amused with his game day involvement, he would promise not to watch another game...until next Sunday. I sometimes think if we could get people in the Browns front office with Ricky's passion, there would have been a couple of Super bowl teams playing in Cleveland by now.

I guess the Browns being as inept as they have been has been good for bringing back some good memories of my little brother.