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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Big Don hits Cleveland!

Enjoy this guest post from my good friend Big Don on his trip with his friend Mike to Cleveland.
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did...

Mike and I decided to purchase tickets to the December 9 Cleveland Browns game. A short time after that, I looked at the Monsters and Cavs schedules to see if either, or both teams had a home game on December 8. I told Mike that the Cavs were playing Detroit at home on December 8, but the Monsters did not have a matinee game on December 8. Then, I checked the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League home schedule to see if the Otters had a home game on December 8. Neither of us had been to Erie for an Otters game in a long time. The original idea for this trip was the Erie Otters home game on December 8, and Cleveland Browns game on December 9. A few days before this trip, Mike told me that he wanted to attend the Cavs game, instead of the Otters game. Mike had attended only one NBA game before December 8. I hadn't attended a NBA game in twelve years, so I was fine with Mike's decision. The next thing was to check the hotel rates. I started out with a place in Willoughby Hills (a few miles from Classic Park), that Mike and I had stayed at three times before this weekend. The rate was pretty cheap to begin with, and I received an email to take an additional 10 percent off. We were happy about that. We went to the Wheeling Nailers game on December 7 and talked about when we should leave on Saturday. The forecast for Saturday was for rain, so we decided to leave early, but not too early.
 
The Ride To Cleveland
Mike and I left my house about 12:20 pm on Saturday. In keeping with the traveling tradition, Mike had music that I hadn't heard in a while, or have never heard at all. The first stop was a travel plaza in Eastern Ohio for a whiz break. We consumed too much tea and water on the way. The second stop was Walmart near Ravenna. I bought a Browns knitted hat and a few snacks for the Browns pre-game on Sunday, and Mike bought a Cavs knitted hat and a few snacks for the Browns pre-game on Sunday. I was not about to go to the stadium hungry and spend $20 or $30 on food. Mike thought the same thing.
 
Saturday Night In Cleveland
We got to Cleveland early, and drove around to find a decent parking place. We ended up parking at the garage next to Progressive Field and "The Q." I asked Mike if he wanted to eat at one of the bars/restaurants down the street from "The Q." He said "yes." I had been to Cleveland many times over the last nineteen years, and had never eaten in one of the bars/restaurants until Saturday. Mike and I walked down the Street, and decided on Winking Lizard Tavern. I will give you thoughts on Winking Lizard later. We went to "The Q", and got posters and programs. Mike went into the Cavs store, and I waited near the entrance. Some of the Cavs girls were signing autographs, but the line was too long, so we passed on that. I did not say any smart-assed comments like I did before the Monsters game. Mike and I went to our seats, and were ready to watch the game. Before the game started, I said "The Cavs will probably lose this game, but I hope that they don't get blown out." Some idiots kept getting up after the game started. I was going to say something, but I didn't. I pointed to a mostly-empty section next to us, and then said "Hey Mike, are you ready to move, because I have a feeling that these idiots are going to do this all game." He said "Let's go." The game started out as "The Tayshaun Prince Show" for Detroit. The Cavs came from behind and even had a lead going at halftime. The Cavs scored a putrid 18 points in the third quarter, and dug a hole that they couldn't get out of. This is when Brandon Knight of the Pistons became a one-man wrecking crew. The Cavs fought back, but they didn't have enough to win the game. Anderson Varejao and Jeremy Pargo - who I ripped on before the game, each gave a good performance. The Cavs lost 104-97, and we thought "At least the Cavs didn't get blown out." We waited for a while to exit so we wouldn't get caught in traffic. We checked in at the hotel, and then decided to go to the Walmart that is down the road from Classic Park. We got back to the hotel and each went to sleep fast, because we wanted to get to Cleveland Browns Stadium early on Sunday.
 
Sunday in Cleveland
I woke up a little earlier than I wanted to, but I was cool with it. Mike woke up about ten minutes after I did. Each of us did his morning routine, and then we left for the Browns game about 10:20. We found a parking garage near the stadium, and then stood around for a while. We kept looking around and taking everything in. "I can't believe we are here" was said a few times. We wanted to avoid a long security line, so we started walking towards the stadium about 11:10. We walked slowly and took it all in. We went through security. I told Mike "The team shop is to the left," because I knew he wanted to go there, and I remembered that from buying the game tickets back in August. Mike bought some nice hats and a few other things, and I bought a few publications in the team shop. The next thing we did was take some pictures from the lower level. More on that later. Mike likes magnetic schedules, and after a few attempts got some. I got a few as well. You can guess who is getting one of them. Then it was time to walk up the ramps. I said "I hope that this isn't like Baltimore, with numerous ramps to walk." Mike had to stop about halfway because his leg was hurting. I was okay, but had a slight breathing issue due to nasal congestion. Mike got a few texts and phone calls while we were on the way to the game. Mike and I walked up to the 500 level and looked out at Lake Erie. Then Mike answered his texts and phone calls. There were many other people doing the same thing. Mike and I had seats in the very top row of section 537. Walking up the steps is okay for about the first 20 rows, then your legs start tightening up. We laughed about the climb. I said "I never could have climbed those steps when I was sick." We sat down, looked around, and got ready for the game. When KC scored their touchdown, I thought "This is going to be a long afternoon." Most of the games that I have seen in person have been blowouts. You know what happened in the game, so there is no need for me to go over that. During the third quarter, I had to use the restroom badly, but something told me not to go. That's when the Browns intercepted the ball. The first words out of my mouth were "Thank God I did not go to the restroom, because if I would have missed that, I would be pretty pissed off." When the Browns were on defense, I started saying D, then pointed to the fence that was behind us. Mike was laughing, and then he started doing it too. We probably looked silly doing it, but it was still funny. A man in the section next to us was yelling too much, and his voice kept cracking like a 13-year old, so everyone had some fun with that as well. After the game, Mike and I took our time because we didn't want to get stuck in a bunch of traffic. We were two of the last fifteen or so people left in the building. We were walking down the ramps to leave. I noticed some plastic fencing that was blocking off the one level. I went over to it and said D, and I went over to pick one of pieces of fencing up. I picked it up a little, and then tried to put it back down. The piece of fence would stand up on its own, so I had to let it fall. It made a loud noise, so I thought that I might get in trouble. Nothing happened, but Mike and I were laughing like crazy. Mike said something like "See what happens." I was too busy laughing though. Mike called his father, and asked him if he wanted a Browns hat. The Browns did not have either hat that Mike's dad wanted, so Mike's dad didn't get one. Mike and I walked back to the parking garage and left Cleveland at about 5:20.
 
The Ride Home
Mike put on a CD that he bought on Saturday night in Walmart. Even though we left late, we still were stuck in traffic.  We were both hungry at that point. I suggested that we eat at White Castle because there is none of those near the area where we live. Mike said "That's a good idea." It was more difficult to find than it should of been, but everything worked out in the end. We ate at the White Castle near Bedford,OH. Neither one of us were in a hurry to get home. Mike is on vacation through December 16, and I worked relatively late on December 10. We arrived at my house, and the friendly neighborhood cat was there to greet us. We said that it was a fun weekend, and then I walked into my house.

1 comment:

Noah Miller said...

Really sounds wonderful. Good for you. Success