Former Cleveland man looks to color up team's fumbled histories

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published:

Fans of professional sports in Cleveland are equipped with a unique vocabulary filled with regional colloquialisms of each team's moments of defining failure.

The thesaurus of Cleveland fans include, "the fumble," "the drive," "the shot" and recently, courtesy of LeBron James, "the decision." But each word has the same meaning -- loss.

Scott O'Brian, a former Clevelander now living in Los Angeles, wants to commemorate some of the best known Cleveland sports faux pas in a 55-page coloring book "Why is Daddy Sad on Sunday," available through a Kickstarter campaign which runs through March 16.

The project is "a humorous coloring book for the whole family, depicting famous disappointing moments from Cleveland professional sports," O'Brian said.

Pages opposite the illustrations will feature the story behind the memory.

"You know the history. You've been to the games. You've watched them on TV," O'Brian posted on his Kickstarter page. "You know that when it seems like the game cannot be lost, it will be. That when the most is at stake, they will play their worst. And when it seems like it can't get any worse, it definitely will. I am speaking specifically about the Browns, the Indians, and the Cavaliers."

O'Brian, who owns an e-commerce site in California, grew up in Cleveland as a fan of local sports, attending Browns games with his dad, Kevin.

"When I was growing up in Cleveland, the Browns had opportunities to make the Super Bowl behind Bernie Kosar," O'Brian said. "We all know how that ended. The Cavs also seemed poised to make some deep post-season runs. Nope. And the Indians came one inning away from a World Series title. Then it just kept getting worse."

One of the worst Cleveland sports memories for O'Brian is "the fumble" in 1987.

With 1:12 left in regulation, the Browns were trailing the Denver Broncos by a touchdown in the AFC championship game. The Browns were marching. On second down and five from the Broncos 8-yard line, Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar handed the ball to running back Kevin Byner. As Byner hit the 2-yard line, the ball was striped and recovered by Denver.

Denver held on for a 38-33 win.

"I remember watching that as a kid on TV," O'Brian said. "I remember my mom taking me out for ice cream afterwards and everyone being bummed out. All three of the AFC Championships were brutal."

A recent change in the Cleveland Browns front office solidified O'Brian's frustration with the team.

"I think the straw that broke the camel's back was the firing of the front office for the Browns -- again," O'Brian said Feb. 17, from Los Angeles.

After the personnel change, O'Brian, who recently had a child, started thinking how he could describe to her, or any child, what it was like being a Cleveland sports fan.

"Over the past 10 or 15 years they have never even seen the teams succeed in any meaningful way, like I did when I was a kid," O'Brian said of younger Cleveland sports fans. "And it all clicked. A coloring book would be kind of funny, for people like me, who have these memories of huge disappointments."

The book will contain about 25 black and white illustrations, created by O'Brian.

Pages opposite the illustrations will feature the story behind the memory. There will also be a thank you page and table of contents.

The number of books published will depend on the money raised, O'Brian said. The target amount is $2,000, which has already been reached. As of Feb. 20, 263 backers have pledged a total of $8,858, with more than 20 days left to donate.

Left over books will be sold for around $15 to $20, O'Brian said. Once the money is raised, O'Brian will search for a Cleveland area printer to publish the books.

"I never expected this to have the response it did," O'Brian said.

The project is not about reopening old Cleveland wounds, O'Brian said.

"This is about having a laugh at the sheer lunacy of what we have witnessed over the years -- we know we have to laugh sometimes to avoid losing our minds," he said. "It's also about sharing the history with our children so they can appreciate why we cheer the way do, and more often, hang our heads in disbelief. At the very least, it is a great way for them to learn about Murphy's Law."

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

Facebook: TimTroglenRPC

Twitter: @Trog_RPC

INFO BOX

O'Brian has set up a Twitter account for the campaign, @CLEsportsBummer.

For more information visit the page at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1254956201/disappointing-moments-in-cleveland-sports-coloring?ref=live.

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