“Hey Dad, Browns tickets are going for $6 or less,” my son Ben said to me a few weeks ago.
He loves the Cleveland Browns and I love saving money, so the cheap tickets were intriguing. Sure there were a few negative points about the game, but they were minimal, such as:
- The game was going to be played on a cold winter’s day,
- The Browns were 0-14 at the time and had been playing terribly,
- The game was set for Christmas Eve,
- I was supposed to be an usher at my church on Christmas Eve,
- I would have to get up at 3 a.m. on Christmas Day to drive family members to the airport,
- We would have to drive more than three hours each way just to sit in the cold and likely watch the Browns lose.
Obviously, that was not enough to keep us from $6 tickets and the opportunity to see the Browns make history with their losing season, so we decided to go.
Soon after, we ordered some tickets, I told the head usher at church that I had to go to out of town for the day, and then I changed the subject when asked why I was traveling.
On Christmas Eve Day, the weather was cold and rainy, but the drive up to Cleveland went pretty well. When we arrived, the rain had stopped and we paid more to park than we had paid for the tickets, which was both frustrating and satisfying at the same time.
At game time, the stadium was at least half empty or nearly half full (depending on if you are an optimist or a Browns fan), but there were a decent number of excited Browns fans who were fired up for the game. And for some strange reason, there were a ton of fans of the opposing team, the San Diego Chargers, inside the stadium. Every Chargers fan in the region must have been there, but who would have imagined there could even be that many San Diego fans in the northeast Ohio area?
Why would someone living in northern Ohio like the Chargers? (I will accept that some of them were Antonio Gates fans.) I understand fans moving from one city to the next, but why in the world would someone move from San Diego to Cleveland? They hate living somewhere with perfect weather and want to either freeze or be way too hot and humid during the year? They like dreary skies? They are just huge Drew Carey fans?
It’s like moving from San Diego to Los Angeles. It makes no sense.
Also, what does the name “Chargers” even mean anyway? What kind of mascot is a bolt of electricity? I think they should change their name to something better like the Thunder Cats! It’s a cool name, the mascot would be awesome and the crowds would go crazy chanting, “Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Cats Ho!”
Anyway, I was happy that there were some fans there, and we were lucky to sit in a pretty fun section. One guy to the right of us was completely decked out in Browns gear and along with a big dawg mask, one guy in front of us had a Browns banner and all kinds of people in Browns and Chargers jerseys stood all around us. I proudly wore my Virginia Tech sweatpants that Amazon had sent me by mistake.
The fans in our section were very into the game and they were also often pretty funny. When a player got hurt and was lying down on the field, for example, a guy from up above us yelled, “Rub some dirt on it and get up. I have to get home soon to open presents!”
“Stay down a little longer,” a guy in front of us yelled in response. “I have to go to my in-laws for Christmas Eve after the game. Take your time.”
Sitting close to the field, I was amazed at how hard the players hit each other, how fast everything happened and how much beer the people around us seemed to be drinking. Seriously, a bunch of the fans near us missed at least half the game as they were constantly going back and forth to buy overpriced beers or to use the overflowing restrooms.
In the fourth quarter, though, nearly everyone in our section was back in their seats and the atmosphere was electric.
First, the Chargers had a chance to tie the game in a field goal attempt right in front of us, but the Browns blocked the kick and the stadium went crazy. Ben and I yelled and jumped around and everyone nearby was high-fiving except for the negatively charged San Diego fan sitting right in front of us.
And after some exciting Browns plays, the Chargers got the ball back at the end of the game and tried again to kick a field goal. This time, the clock was close to 0:00 and the Chargers barely got the play started before time expired. The crowd was super hyped up and we were jumping around as the San Diego kicker attempted to tie the game.
The kick looked good to me and my son and we were both momentarily disappointed until we noticed everyone else in the stadium celebrating. That’s when we realized the kick had sailed to the right and the Browns had somehow won.
It was one of the more exciting epiphanies I have ever had, and it was a great moment. Ben and I yelled and jumped around, high-fiving all of the Browns fans around us while watching the large number of drained San Diego fans slowly leaving the stadium.
Ben and I happily made our way back to the car, only got lost once leaving Cleveland and made the long, but fun drive home.
It didn’t seem much like Christmas Eve, but it is definitely a Christmas Eve I will always remember. And in some ways, it was similar to other Christmas Eves in these ways.
- We did a lot of praying (please miss the field goal, please miss the field goal, please miss the field goal).
- There was a lot of hugging
- It was a great celebration
- We even had a present from the Chargers in all the missed field goals.
I did miss taking part in some of the traditional Christmas Eve items, and I wondered if anyone in my church knew where to sit or how to get a bulletin since I wasn’t there to usher, but it was a great experience. We got to see the Browns get an important win and we even got to see a little history after all as that game was one of the final games ever for the San Diego Chargers, who recently announced that they are moving to Los Angeles next year so they can play in a soccer stadium and try to forget the pain of losing to the Browns.
And when you think about the whole day we had, there is an even more important factor about spending this fun day with my son that made it extra special.
Tickets for $6! It was super cheap! Merry Christmas to me!
Any thoughts on the game or other suggestions for cheap tickets? Feel free to comment below. Thanks!