Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Tis the season to forget about Browns' losses

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

So fa la la la la ... and let’s get on with being jolly.

Christmas is almost upon us. It is the season of warm thoughts and good cheer.

And I am 100 percent for being of good cheer. I am tired of pervading negativism, especially where I am concerned. And I’ll tell you how concerned I am.

The other morning the lady of the house interrupted breakfast to go out and feed the birds, because if there is anything she can’t stand it is animals of any description that are hungry.

By the time she was back inside, hundreds of birds had shown up, were eating heartily, and one lone squirrel was gobbling up as much of the bird feed as he could handle.

“I wish a really mean blue jay would show up and peck that squirrel in the back of the neck and make him go away,” I said.

“Why do you say that?” she asked.

“Because I am paying to feed birds and I am not paying to feed squirrels,” I replied.

“Squirrels have to eat too,” she retorted. “And my, aren’t you a little grumpy today?”

Whenever she calls me grumpy, I stop and reassess my attitude, because she is always right, and I do not want to acquire a reputation for being grumpy.

I know of only two people named Grumpy. One is a dwarf, one of seven, and the other is Grumpy Thompson of  Masonic Lodge #302 in Willoughby.

They are both honorable people, but it is not my desire to be known by that same appellation, so as I departed for the door, I let it be known that I had sworn off, silently yet sincerely, not to be grumpy again unless it was absolutely necessary.

When I arrived at the college, I was more pleasant than usual and not in the least bit grumpy. I asked the ladies several questions, such as how can I access my email when the college is closed for the holidays, and my tone of voice was sweet and congenial.

That noon, I was sitting in a circle of friends and everybody was grumpy about the Browns losing the day before to the Bears.

Ryan LaGanke came walking by and he was also grumpy about the Browns losing.

“It was only a game,” I proclaimed. “There is always a winner and a loser. Don’t be grumpy about losing. Just be happy for the winners.

“There are 31 teams that don’t win the Super Bowl,” I went on. “There is only one winner. Just be happy for the winner, don’t be grumpy for the losers.”

Later on I read the sports pages of both papers. When I say both, I am referring to the two papers that are in circulation locally, excluding the Wall Street Journal, which is available everywhere, and doesn’t even have sports pages.

Maybe they are smarter than we are. They get grumpy about the economy and we get grumpy about football games. But I digress.

All of the sports writers and columnists in this area were overwhelmingly grumpy because the Browns lost.
And I thought, “Good grief! Get a life. It wasn’t like a death in the family. It was only a football game.”

People started nodding in agreement. Maybe they agreed with me. Or maybe they thought I was crazy.

Crazy maybe. But not grumpy.

“It was an entertaining game,” I went on. “You don’t have to win for a game to be interesting. Look at it my way. Josh Gordon scored another touchdown on a fairly long pass.

“The Browns were in the game with a possibility of winning right up to the end ... until they lost.”

As I left the meeting I thought about the game and the magnitude of despair the Browns cause by losing.
And I thought, in a deep funk like that is nowhere for one to be dwelling. The agony of defeat should last until you draw your next deep breath. Then go on with your life.

Leave the worrying to the people who get paid to worry — the players, the coaches,  the owners, the people who leave the parking lot looking like the city dump after tailgating before a game — they are the professional worriers about winning and losing.

Not the season ticket holders. They are used to losing. Those people know better that to worry about not winning. They know the Browns will not win. They go to watch a game being played by rather large men who are handsomely paid for their efforts – win or lose. If they win – wonderful! If they lose – so what?
Think of how much the other team enjoyed winning.

And so, without a smidgen of grumpiness in my soul, and although it’s been said many times, many ways...
Merry Christmas – to you, to you, and especially to YOU.


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