Football Road Trip
Kim, Steve, Matt, and I left early Saturday morning. The van cd changer played some of the great jazz and blues recordings of Ray Charles, North Texas State University Lab Band, Etta James, Jimmy Smith, and Chris Botti. Just north of Cincinnati we stopped to stretch our legs and have breakfast at Bob Evans.
Our next stop was the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Awesome photography, interesting exhibits, interactive displays, and a theatre showing some incredible NFL action made the visit a great one.
Steve, Matt, Me, And Kim
We arrived in Cleveland just after dark and needed to stop for gas. As I pumped the petro, Steve was approached by a rough dude who asked for money. The guy had a severe gash across his neck that appeared to be an old knife wound. Steve gave him a fivespot in return for directions to a hotel. He assured Steve that he "was not carrying a weapon" and that he would be happy to ride with us and show us the way. We then assured him that we could remember his directions and could make it on our own. At that point we hurriedly got back into the safety our our Bengalmobile and left asap.
We secured a room at the Holiday Inn located on the banks of Lake Erie. The hotel was filled with many other Bengals fans. The sound of Who Dey chants filled the lobby and streets of Cleveland throughout the weekend.
Matt, Me And Steve With Bengals Fans
We walked downtown to the Quicken Center where the Cavaliers were hosting the Sixers. There were no tickets left at the box office and we didn't want to pay scalper prices on the street. Instead of going to the basketball game we decided to check out other activities in the downtown area. We visited the House of Blues and saw many other cool nightspots and restaurants.
We ended up entering the galleria area connected to the Hyatt Regency. As a Christmas choir of young girls sang "Silent Night", a young man, maybe 6 years old, saw our Bengals attire and started booing and giving us the thumbs down gesture. As the choir continued into the second verse we heard several nice Clevelanders addressing us as "morons", "jerks", "jacksasses", and a host of other choice names. They also added some additional well known derogatory gestures. Steve laughed and thanked them for their fine support of our team. I gave them a smiling thumbs-up as though we were ignorant and believing that they were giving us compliments. Kim was taking pictures of the choir and was not dressed in Bengals attire, so he was not a target. At age 12, Matt focused in on the booing 6 year old. Matt puffed out his chest and started to walk toward him with the vocal retaliation "Who Dey!, Who Dey!, We're gonna whup you wif our Johnsons." Obviously Matt had listened to the Bootsy Collins "Who-Dey Invasion" cd I had given him earlier in the week where Cincinnati funkmaster Bootsy raps about the talent of Cincy's Rudy Johnson, Chad Johnson, Jeremy Johnson, Doug Johnson, and Landon Johnson. At that point I reeled Matt in and reexplained that we were in Cleveland and were outnumbered. As a member of the school academic team, he understood the significance of the numbers thing and therefore ended the vocal exchange with "when is the last time the Browns were in the playoffs?" There are times when a father is just plain proud of his boy.
Steve Had To Fight Off Vicious Browns Fans
Matt With A Friendly Browns Fan
The Bengals soundly whipped the Browns 30-0. We celebrated throughout the game while the Browns fans fumed. The infamous Dawg Pound was silenced by the mighty Bengals.
Click To Enlarge To See The Disgusted Browns Fans Behind Matt
This road trip was as good as it gets. Kim, Steve, Matt and I are already planning next year's trip!