Sometimes my uttered words — when angry or frustrated — are not the best choice of verbiage. Thanksgiving evening was one of those occasions. My washer decided to take a late-hour holiday sabbatical with a load of soaking wet, non-spun clothes inside. Many words were spewed, none of them complimentary toward the appliance.
After the Monday evening last-second loss by the Cleveland Browns to my nemesis team, the Baltimore Ravens, “Oh Cleveland!!” might translate into my new phrase when expressing ultimate rage – still acceptable to the ears of small children and nearby neighbors.
The seeming jinx of “only in Cleveland” continues. As Kelly Ripa suggested Tuesday morning during the opening segment of her show with Michael Strahan, “Cleveland needs a de-hexing to lift the curse.” Strahan’s angst-filled commentary about the Cleveland Browns’ Monday evening debacle only added more pain for long-suffering fans.
Potentially Ripa’s commentary has merit. The jinx of “Red Right 88” has haunted the team since 1980, when the Cleveland Browns were defeated by the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Central title game.
That fateful play, called by former Cleveland Browns’ head coach Sam Rutigliano, resulted in a game-ending interception that overshadowed the remaining professional career of then-Browns quarterback Brian Sipe.
Despite the loss, Sipe received the NFL title of Most Valuable Player for the 1980 season, with an astounding 4,000 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Oakland continued their victorious march to Super Bowl XV and defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10, on Jan. 25, 1981.
When will the Browns have a season of success versus dejection and ongoing bad luck? “The positive spin” now being touted by Cleveland sports writers is the potential of the Browns aligning for a second consecutive “number one NFL draft pick.”
As if Johnny Manziel became the team’s savior this year after becoming the Browns first-round 2014 selection? His embarrassing alcohol-fueled antics have no place in the NFL, let alone in beleaguered Cleveland.
Speaking of another “Dog Pound,” potentially fewer deserving canines are living in animal shelters this week, due to a Thanksgiving evening program titled “The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration.” Televised on the Fox Network and hosted by “The Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco, the show spotlighted the plight of hundreds of deserving shelter dogs nationwide.
The program also honored several non-profit organizations specific to animal welfare. One of the programs is specific to helping both our serving military and the beloved pets they leave behind.
“Dogs on Deployment” was founded by married military members Alisa and Shawn Johnson. When faced with the dilemma of dual deployments, the fate of their beloved Austrian shepherd, JD, was in jeopardy. Alisa, a Marine Corps member, was being assigned to Quantico, Virginia, while Shawn was on deployment for the Navy.
Living on-base in barracks during six months of intensive training for Alisa was not a viable option for housing JD. Local boarding facilities and pet sitters were contacted, but the price of long-term care proved prohibitive. Finally, with only days remaining before reporting to Quantico, a distant relative living in Virginia, whom Shawn had never met, was contacted and agreed to foster JD.
These 2011 stressors of few options for a beloved pet during military service and the possibility of having to surrender him if an agreeable host had not been found, were instigating factors for the couple to establish Dogs on Deployment.
Now credited with hosting 813 dogs of military members, this non-profit organization pairs willing families or individuals who have volunteered to foster a pet while the owner is deployed.
Potentially many pets’ lives have been saved by this innovative concept and the reassurance it gives our military members, knowing their pets are in a loving home versus an unknown fate and future after being surrendered to a shelter. For more information or to volunteer as a foster family, the website is www.DogsOnDeployment.org.
As for the Cleveland Browns, that city’s “Dog Pound” remains a sad place with a “rescue” from the team’s woes far from an easy fix. If anyone knows someone who can reverse a jinx, please recruit them to Cleveland — since changing the team’s trajectory is going to take more than just another first-round NFL draft pick.
Mariann Main is a Delaware native, animal and football lover, and undergraduate journalism major of The Ohio State University. She is also licensed as a counselor in Ohio and Georgia, working primarily with adolescents and their families. She can be contacted via MariannMain@gmail.com.