Being a Cleveland sports fan is an undeniably unique (if not completely soul-crushing) experience. It's an allegiance that's much more special than Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo/whatever fanboydom — and a culture that, strangely, has some interesting parallels with certain fundamental elements of role-playing games.
Cleveland fans have more unwavering hope than any upbeat RPG protagonist and provide their local teams with more support than any Final Fantasy summons, but receive nothing but grief from mass media.
This makes the “Cleveland has nothing” picture ESPN typically portrays all the more aggravating, as the Lebron James media show overshadows the most special, integral part of Cleveland sports — the fans.
Read on for the true Cleveland that’s always missing from ESPN and why you’d always want to have a Cleveland sports fan in your RPG party or MMO guild.
1. Healers, stat boosters, shapeshifters…we got 'em.
If you want the nittiest, grittiest level of Cleveland sports culture, then attending a Browns game is where you’ll find the most brazen recruits for your party. It’s the Cleveland fandom at the rawest, most diehard level.
Even through the blizzards and crushing losses, the zealous folks in the Dawg Pound, Cleveland's infamous fan section, cheer well after the clock runs out, dressed in crazy gear that gives the whole section +10 vitality. People bring extra dawg bones and necklaces to share, and a woman in the second or third row makes the most morale-boosting cookies. In the Dawg Pound, you'll find your stat boosters and healers who stick it out til the end.
2. We've always got a Phoenix Down.
Cleveland fans’ (somewhat misguided) optimism would prove incredibly helpful against those daunting turn-based battles. Cleveland teams may seem to lose constantly, an elusive championship ever our of their grasp, but Cleveland fans never quit hoping or thinking there is a way we could win the game. Despite every fumble, poor management decision, or blown inning, we believe in and root for our teams until the bitter end. (Image, right, from Believeland.net)
3. We don't need your stinkin' heroes.
No one likes that “oh sh*t” moment when you have to split your party in an RPG and reassemble the team with your unfortunately under-leveled supporting cast. Cleveland has been in this constant state of change well before Lebron, and although it’s been a while since we’ve had an iconic athlete like him, we’ll rearrange and find another way.
Even if the main protagonist is down and out, we’ll keep supporting our teams through the losses that are sure to come this season while repeating our mantra: "There's always next year."
Do you think your team's sports fans would make better RPG allies? Share your local, quirky sports culture (with an RPG analogy, if possible) in the comments below!