A Browns Fan’s courageous breakup tale



Breakups are hard… Most of us will agree with that. I mean, you’d have to be some sort of robot devoid of human emotion to not feel SOMETHING, right? That’s exactly the case with my recent decision to discontinue my relationship with the Cleveland Browns at the beginning of the season. I’ve only given in and watched two games all season, and my life is noticeably less tragic as a result. All I needed after those two lapses in judgment was a friend to reassure me that I am, in fact, better off without them… And a couple shots of Tequila, using limes and the salt of my tears to choke them down.

Here’s the thing, It’s nearly impossible to avoid contact with an ex of this magnitude entirely. You’re constantly seeing them pop up on social media in the form of pathetic memes, Bleacher Report accounts of every god-damn failure and sad Browns fans moments set to an even sadder Adele soundtrack. How do you escape that? When I see it, I can’t help but feel a little tug at my heartstrings. It’s comparable to running into a pathetic ex at CVS while he’s shopping for toilet paper, wearing sweatpants and a mustard stained Guns N Roses tee. You can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastard. You know he’s clearly not better off without you and still hanging on to hope for that GNR reunion tour. It’s fucking sad. The Browns are my pathetic, sweatpants wearing, slob of an ex-boyfriend. It’s entirely possible that they’ll one day get their shit together, but right now I’m not willing to put my life on hold until they figure it out.

I still have some unresolved feelings and question my choice at times, but some days are easier than others. Let’s use today as an example, shall we? Why, what happened today, you ask? Today, my hometown heroes and our 3rd string QB were absolutely murdered by “division rivals”, the Cincinnati Bengals by a score of 37-3. I realized just how bad things had gotten when it was no longer fun for my brother, who’s an avid Bengals fan to shit talk me before or after a Cleveland/Cincinnati matchup. At this point, that would just qualify as bullying. It is not even worth his time to taunt me. THAT’S how sad things have become. The Browns are the fat kid on the playground of the AFC North.

Some fans have taken exception and tried to protest the team’s unprecedented shittiness by wearing brown bags on their heads while at the games, kind of like the Unknown Comic from the gong show, which is wildly appropriate when you think about it. However, the glaring issue with this plan, aside from attempting to drink a $9.00 draft beer with a bag on your head… You’re STILL AT THE GAME. I envision a bunch of millionaires, sitting around lighting Cuban cigars with hundred dollar bills while laughing maniacally because they still got you there. You know what would be powerful? Stop fucking going to games. Feel free to continue wearing a brown bag on your head, if you’re so inclined, but do it while you’re NOT drinking $9.00 beers and NOT paying $30 to park. “Brown bag the Browns” at the zoo, at the movies, from your God-damned couch. That’s how you send a message. Have you ever gone out to dinner and had a terrible meal? Did you go back to that same restaurant the following week expecting a different result? “Hey, last time you guys really fucked up, but here’s some more of my money.” My guess is no. You probably left a bad Yelp review and moved on with your life. Stop accepting an Olive Garden quality organization at fine dining prices.

Since the breakup, my Sundays have been pretty amazing. I hardly ever cry anymore and I feel stronger every week I stay away. Don’t get me wrong, I still drive by the stadium on occasion to make sure they’re still there (that’s not a guarantee, as history has shown us) and gently stalk them on Facebook occasionally. When it’s all said and done, I’m not going to be sucked back in until they make some serious changes. On a side note, I’m free next Sunday.

Photo Credit- Jen Steer


Will Move For School

Just relaxing with my morning coffee and paper

Just relaxing with my morning coffee and paper

My 9 year old daughter reluctantly started school last week at a new school, much to my dismay. I’ve been embroiled in a battle with the Lakewood City School District for the past two weeks over my daughter’s education and overall well being. I’m sure at this point, they assume they’re victorious in said battle. Well, I’m not quite done yet.

I’ve written thoughtful letters, phoned principals, administrators and anyone else I could think to reach out to, and even obtained a dr’s note from my child’s pediatrician stating that relocation to a new school will have adverse affects on her both academically and socially. I’ve included a link to the original letter and dr’s note here…http://thebroadsside.com/2015/08/22/dear-lakewood-city-schools/
Guess what? Nobody cares. That’s really the bottom line here. My problem presented itself less than a week before school started. I was in Chicago on business preparing to engage in a 80s lip sync battle to the death while outfitted in a super hideous prom dress, but that’s a story for another time. Footloose would have to wait because my daughter’s school was calling to inform me that since I moved two miles away and was now four minutes and twelve seconds from the school, she’d need to transfer. Wait… What? Why would they be letting me know about this move less than a WEEK before classes resume? That’s asinine, right? I registered online at least a month prior and clearly indicated a big ‘YES’ check mark on the change of address portion of the form, as well as plugged on the new information.

Moving is hard

Moving is hard

We were all registered for the day care program before and after school at Horace Mann, which is the school she’s attended since Kindergarten. I wasn’t about to let this go without a fight. I personally emailed Superintendent Patterson, but apparently he thinks it’s acceptable to ignore an angry woman. Oh, that poor man. That was a big mistake! I made an appointment to meet with the director of student services at the School Board offices to discuss my daughter’s future and provide documentation from her dr. When I arrived, I was told that she was “out of the building”. Well, that’s convenient! I certainly wasn’t going anywhere without talking to SOMEONE.
After waiting for an extended period of time, they finally sent the assistant superintendent (that doesn’t even sound like a real thing) in to speak with me and my daughter. Would you like to know how to piss a forty something year old soccer mom off instantly? Send in the most gorgeous creature on the planet to talk to me while I blot the gross, puffy bags under my eyes with a tissue. That was super helpful. I was relieved I wasn’t wearing sweatpants, but nothing this pencil skirt and stiletto wearing slice of perfection said even registered. It was clear she didn’t care, and I’m not even entirely sure she’s not a genetically engineered robot woman created to make the rest of us feel inferior. She showed little emotion as my daughter sobbed uncontrollably as she was told that our 11th hour attempts had failed and she’d need to start her first day of school at Emerson the next day.
forward my mail to 1215 1/2 West Clifton Blvd

forward my mail to 1215 1/2 West Clifton Blvd

I was promised that someone would be reviewing my request and dr’s note, but the entire week went by without any contact from the administration. During my chats with different officials, assistant robot woman suggested maybe I should “just move closer” to Horace Mann and the problem would be resolved. That’s a brilliant plan coming from someone who’s clearly such a stickler for the rules! I’ll just pick up my entire life, break a lease, give no notice and pay thousands of dollars to relocate two miles. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

I decided that I would have to scale down significantly if I was to put this moving plan into action. As any normal person would do, I called one of my besties and kindly asked if he’d like to build me a new dwelling fashioned out of cardboard boxes. His answer… “Why wouldn’t I want to do that?” You see, logically speaking if I moved right into the school parking lot, that would definitely be close enough. Am I right? And how convenient is that? Thanks for the amazing suggestion, assistant robot woman! This is going to be awesome. I’ll be sure to send you all an invite to my housewarming party! Just don’t buy me anything that requires electricity, as my new home doesn’t have outlets. I’m really glad we were able to work this whole thing out! Should I start sending my daughter back to Horace Mann on Monday since we’re SO close to the school now? I’ll be waiting for your call.
Your move, Lakewood.

Dear Lakewood City Schools…

photoDear Superintendent Patterson,  Principal Waters, Lakewood Board of Education and anyone concerned with the well-being of children:

I am writing in regards to my daughter and her future. Jillian has been a stand-out student at Horace Mann in Lakewood since she began attending as a fresh faced, eager kindergartner with pig-tails and a crippling case of shyness.

She has excelled there and I’ve watched her evolve into a strong, intelligent young lady. She’ll be entering into the fourth grade this year. Unfortunately, we’ve encountered a rather large obstacle. I was just informed two days ago that my daughter will no longer be permitted to attend the school she’s grown to love so much. The issue? 2.2 miles. You see, I moved up the street two miles on April 1st. As a first time parent, I was unaware that I needed to seek permission to relocate within the same city. I’m new at this… I simply didn’t know this was a thing. I proceeded to follow email direction from Lakewood City Schools and completed my online registration for Horace Mann about a month ago.

Two days ago, amidst all of the excitement of back to school shopping and the anticipation of reuniting with all of her friends, I had to inform my daughter that she will no longer be permitted to attend Horace Mann after receiving an unexpected phone call from the school. To a nine year old with social anxiety, this has been absolutely devastating news. She doesn’t want to eat, complains of headaches and cries at the mere mention of school. Today she said to me, “mommy, I’m going to lose all of my friends and my teachers from St Peter’s (pre and after care program) that I love so much. I hate myself.”

As a parent, those words rocked me to my core. I’ll be honest… I’m angry, hurt and confused. I’ve made phone calls to everyone who will listen (some much more empathetic than others). I clearly indicated on the registration form that we had moved. Why am I hearing about this less than a week before students report to school. I’m being told that “open enrollment” ended April 2nd. I moved into my new place April 1st. Why would I think I needed to enroll my child in a school she’s been attending for the past four years? I was informed that she’s still in the computer as a student at Horace Mann and they’ll “just ship her file to Emerson”. Is that how easy it is? Aren’t you in the business of sculpting minds and building futures? Why is a child virtually expendable to you? Where is the concern for how this transition will affect her?

My daughter has experienced academic success, best friendships and more than a few skinned knees under the watchful eye of the faculty at Horace Mann. I’ve trusted this school with the single most important thing in my life… My child. My greatest accomplishment sits in a classroom under your roof because I believe in the institution. So, because of that, I am unwilling to accept that there’s nothing anyone can do in this situation. The answers I’ve received are unacceptable and I plan to fight for my child’s continued education at Horace Mann. If that means I construct a home out of cardboard boxes and strategically place it in the parking lot near the playground just so I can have my mail forwarded there, that’s what I will do. Some things are worth a fight. My child’s scholastic and social well-being is not something I’m willing to gamble on.


LinkedIn… You’re Doing It Wrong

Tell me these people aren't sexy!

Tell me these people aren’t sexy!

I’m embarrassed to say that I recently discovered I’d been using LinkedIn ALL WRONG for years! I was under the impression that it was a professional networking site used for resume swapping, recruiting and job searches. Wow, do I feel like an asshole! Apparently, it’s actually a dating site! I know it has to be true because someone much smarter than me, who gets paid millions to make decisions uses it in this manner.
I have a bit of a history with the Don Juan in question. He’s a pretty well known figure in professional sports who is adored by the masses. I have no problem with meeting people online… In fact, he ordered me on the internet a year and a half ago. The difference, you ask? Well, that was on a DATING site. Two people consciously decide that they’d like to entertain meeting new people and perhaps begin some level of romantic exploration if things go well. You know full well what you’re signing up for and everyone is on the same page, for the most part.
Last week, one of my good friends received an “invitation to connect” on LinkedIn from this guy. To be fair, that does sound pretty damn sexy. Once connected, she received a 2 am message which is always appropriate on a career website. It happened to be almost the exact same message I received from him on match.com last March. To be objective, perhaps he thought some of her endorsed skills were statistician or batting right handed. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I can’t imagine that he was sitting around at 2 am looking at thumbnail sized pictures and decided, “well, she has a pretty head. I think I’ll hit on her.” I mean, that would be ridiculous, right? One would have no idea who is on the other end of such a communication. What if she’s married or 8 months pregnant? In my opinion, that’s pretty ballsy, but he’s SO smart! He must know what he’s doing.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be the one who’s wrong in this circumstance. I’ve decided to embrace my mistake and make some immediate changes. First and foremost, there isn’t nearly enough cleavage in my LinkedIn profile picture. Also, I hate to solicit endorsements, but if there are any ex-boyfriends who would kindly log in and endorse me for skills such as back rubs and fellatio, I’d really appreciate it. I’m sure that has to be in the drop down menu of endorsable skills. Also, how much fun will it be to make this pop-culture mainstream? “Check her out. I’d sure like to put my link in that!” This is gonna be awesome! The unemployment rate will probably skyrocket, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Additionally, I feel that this has really opened my eyes. Why have I been holding myself back? Seriously, who needs Tinder when you have E-Bay? Am I right? You’re selling a crock-pot? I think we all know perfectly well what that means! I’m getting aroused just thinking about it. As a courtesy to you, I’ve compiled a list of other websites which can also be used to try and have sex with strangers. Outside of the obvious LinkedIn and eBay selections, I’ve listed a few more below!
Modern Bride
Mommies of Multiples

Better Business Bureau

You’re welcome, you bunch of freaks. Now, go get some!

Social media assassination 


One of my favorite local haunts has been in the news this week in the Cleveland area, so of course I feel the need to offer up an opinion. The West End Tavern has been put on blast because a waitress typed the word “fags” on a bar receipt. Great idea? Of course not. According to her explanation, it was intended to be a joke between friends. She didn’t anticipate that anyone would see it besides the recipients of the check in question. It fell into the wrong hands and the rest is history. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this type of thing has happened rather frequently. Whether it’s a racial or homophobic slur or perhaps a jab at someone with special needs, it’s all just one click away from becoming viral. 

This is precisely why it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, regardless of intent. In the society we live in, people are just waiting for this kind of slip-up. We love to be enraged, it seems. You have to assume that everyone is watching. You’re always just a tweet, Facebook status update or Instagram post away from being taken to task. What disturbs me most is the reaction from the internet. Clearly, this server is an ambassador for the West End, right? It stands to reason that because she had a huge error in judgement everyone affiliated with the establishment must be bigots. I mean, there might as well be a “No Fags” menu board out front. Does that really make sense to anyone? 29 years of brunches, nights out and catching your favorite Cleveland sports games should surely hinge on the immaturity of one girl slinging drinks. What? Yes, that does sound pretty ridiculous when you put it in perspective. Those threatening to boycott are simply part of the problem. If you want to make a difference, go volunteer at a place specializing in GLBT teenagers making a frightening transition or donate to increase awareness. Not eating a cheeseburger at West End won’t change the world. It may take money out of a single mother’s pocket, but that doesn’t appear to be a factor with all these knee jerk reactions. 
Let me clarify that I would never offer support for ANY business that exhibited any type of bigotry. I have far too many friends in all types of persuasions. I couldn’t back any organization that refused to see the beauty in all of the wonderfully diverse people I’ve collected over the years. With that being said, the witch hunt is ludicrous. Why in the world would you penalize the West End, their ownership and all of the other truly awesome people who work there? People need to get off the soap box long enough to see the big picture. This place isn’t standing behind the use of a homophobic slur on a receipt. In fact, they’ve issued a very heartfelt apology. 
It’s pretty unfortunate that everything is under a microscope these days. Social media can be a beast. You can literally ruin people’s lives with a single snap chat. Where do we draw the line? Everyone is offended by something. There’s a woman I refer to as “camel face”. Now that I’ve put that in print, is there some sort of camel coalition that will come gunning for me? Admittedly, it’s hurtful (mostly to the camels). The point is, that’s MY opinion and I’m the one accountable for said opinion, although I feel like I could sway some votes if you were to see a side by side comparison. No, I’m not comparing camels to the gay community…. So don’t run with that. I’m simply pointing out that anything can be made to be offensive if you try hard enough. I don’t really see that changing any time soon. We live in a social media driven society, which is a double edged sword. It’s fairly frightening how powerful that can be. If you act like a jackass, there’s sufficient opportunity for someone to capitalize. I’m confident that the West End ownership will do the right thing in this situation and I urge people to show support for something they clearly had zero control over. I’m also realizing how thankful I am that social media wasn’t around to document my dumbass years. 


Ray’s first Indians Spring Training


I had the unique privilege of bringing one of my closest friends to Cleveland Indians Spring Training this year. He had always wanted to go, so damn right I was going to be the one to make that happen. Unfortunately, he went to Goodyear Ballpark in my purse. You see, my friend Ray passed away very suddenly in November. Ray was my baseball buddy. That was always our thing. When I met him 15 or so years ago, he was impressed with my ability to engage in spirited baseball debates. He referred to me as a “lumpy boy” and laughed as I’d make off the cuff remarks about pitch count or how many men were LOB… While I was rocking stilettos. 

It was customary to ask “Were you DFA?” or “demoted to the pen” when discussing relationships. We were both baseball nerds, which is a beautiful thing. I gave it a lot of thought, and initially wanted to scatter some of Ray’s ashes at Progressive Field (it’s still “the Jake” to us) I eventually landed on Goodyear Ballpark as the final destination for my boy, Ray for more than one reason. #1- there was potential that I would be immediately arrested for my renegade behavior and I figure that the Arizona penal system is slightly more tolerable than Cleveland. I totally Googled “scattering a dead guy at a sports venue” and it’s not legal. I was willing to take my chances to fulfill this last wish. The main reason, however is what Spring Training represents. It’s a new year…  New hope. Every team is on an even playing field. There’s a special magic in the air during the spring. It’s exactly what Ray would want. He had a social media countdown each and every year. He felt that everyone should know how many days until pitchers and catchers reported. After that came the countdown to opening day. I can’t even explain how much I missed that this year. 

I had the huge honor of writing Ray’s obituary. I included the Cleveland Indians in the “left behind” portion because Tribe baseball is such a huge part of who this man was. He took it very seriously, which opened up some opportunities for me over the years. Ray was what I refer to as a “potato chip manager”. He was really gifted at making managerial decisions while sitting on his couch with a bag of wavy Lay’s chips… Almost always AFTER the situation had played itself out. “Oh… You would have pulled the starting pitcher before he gave up that home run? You’re a genius!” He would mumble under his breath, second guess the lineup and question pitching changes. On one occasion where he was being particularly vocal, I had the server deliver a piece of chocolate cake while proudly exclaiming, “congratulations on your promotion to Indians manager!” 

I can’t tell you how much he hated it when I’d place an imaginary call to the bullpen or the front office on his behalf. “My friend Ray doesn’t think so and so should be batting lead off. In fact, is there any chance he can just make all the management decisions going forward? Is he good at making decisions? Well, it only took him 20 minutes to decide what kind of beer to order. Does that count? No? Ok, I’ll let him know.” He’d just smirk and shake his head. 

I found the perfect spot for Ray in Goodyear. It’s a place where nobody cares who’s in the lineup or coming out of the pen. New talent is showcased and the future is prominently on display. If you’re not winning, it’s no big deal. It’s baseball at it’s very best. It’s hope and that’s what we could all use in Cleveland right now. I know Ray would be complaining with a bag of Cheetos because the 2015 Indians campaign didn’t get off to the best start, but it was his team no matter what. His family. That’s what I miss about him the most. His loyalty to this team, and essentially everyone else he considered near and dear. I keep hearing him in my head, “they’ll turn it around.” 

Yes, yes, they will.


The Broad’s Side of the Sports Illustrated Jinx


If you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon, there’s some speculation that being on the cover of Sports Illustrated can be somewhat of a jinx. Enter the 2015 Cleveland Indians and their fanbase with a predeliction for doom. Whoah! Kiss of death, right? 

The Cleveland Sports curse is often highlighted around these parts. In fact, it may well be responsible for my last three failed relationships. To be fair, I’d like to think there were some athletics involved, and I definitely don’t want to take accountability for any type of failure. See how easy that is? Blame the curse. As Clevelanders, we’re conditioned to do that. So, imagine the reaction when SI elects to feature Indians standouts Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and MVP candidate Michael Brantley on the cover. 

Even more alarming is the magazine’s assertion that this team may be good enough to contend or perhaps even win the World Series. WHAT?? How dare you suggest that this team has a ton of upside. Are you soulless, Sports Illustrated? Don’t you know what you’ve done here? I’ll tell you what they’ve done…They’ve indicated that this team has the pieces in place to be competive and they think the Indians are capable of winning. That pretty much sums it up. 

Kluber’s arms aren’t going to fall off and a meteor probably won’t hit the ballpark on dollar dog night. The concept of a curse or jinx is nonsense. Let’s pull ourselves together here. I’m a fairly logical person, so I’m not a huge fan of predicting the World Series champs before a single pitch of regular season baseball has happened. EVER. There are far too many unknowns in any sport to begin that type of speculation, but I’m not mad at the concept. Why can’t we just enjoy the positive press and possibly get behind the team? Maybe it will be a great year. Why the hell not? 

I don’t believe a magazine cover can ruin your individual career, force you to lose a team championship or put you in a pine box. Let’s explore, shall we? Dale Earnhardt was on the cover of SI shortly before he tragically died at the Daytona 500 in 2000. Well, clearly that was caused by a photo shoot and not his frighteningly dangerous career choice and excessive rate of speed, right? If SI was to blame, I may have missed that murder trial. Race car drivers die… A lot. I doubt that the majority of them expect to spend their final days at Sunnydale retirement community. 

When I was little, my dad took me to the races regularly, until my favorite driver, Jimmy Shampine was involved in a firey crash. I’ve never been to another race since that day. My dad couldn’t break my heart with news of his death, so he told me he retired from racing and moved to a farm. I just found out about that a few weeks ago. Now that I think about it, I’m starting to think my dog Shelby didn’t really end up on a farm either, but I digress. 

Here are some other examples we should chat about. Are we willing to entertain the thought that perhaps Michael Phelps was photographed smoking pot because of his cover…. Or that Tiger Woods’ wife caught him having sex with essentially ALL the women alive due to a hex? Did Marion Jones get caught up in the BALCO scandal and get stripped of her Olympic medals because of magazine voodoo? What about the Kansas City Royals? Did they lose the World Series in 2014 because of a cover story? I’m pretty sure that one was Madison Bumgarner’s fault. If you need to place blame, I’d stick with that theory. There are far too many examples to name, but I think you can see my point. Whether it’s performance related issues or something as simple as someone being a complete dumbass, there’s ample opportunity for everyone to become an asterisk in the SI jinx Wikipedia entry. 

The Indians might have a phenomenal season this year. They might not. One thing I do know? Whether it’s a great season or a shitty one, it’ll be because they earned it themselves. It won’t be because of the Sports Illustrated jinx, a message in some tea leaves or a prediction from a magic 8 ball. Take a deep breath, Cleveland. Wear your socks inside out, eat some eye of newt, do whatever it is you do to ward off the evil sports reporter gods that be, and come down to the ballpark and root for your team. 

About the Broad

A humorous look at dating in your mid-thirties and the other hilarious things that happen around us on a daily basis.

February 2016
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