Lowering the Bar

Sometimes writing about a current, popular topic can be challenging. This is particularly true when addressing sports in Cleveland, where the Browns, with their ever-changing organizational structure, were expected to make changes after their final game Sunday, Jan. 3. The tricky aspect of writing about sports versus something less fluid, of course, is the changeability factor, particularly when addressing a currently "volatile" topic.

While online information is often presented immediately, traditional print media requires lead time, understandably, to allow for the physical manufacture of the final printed product. A good example of how that can impact my situation was illustrated in the fact that, due to the production schedule, I had to write this by Friday, Jan. 1, for the issue you will see on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

The general consensus is that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam will get rid of the clever little sideline texter himself, Ray Farmer, once the season ends Sunday, and keep coach Mike Pettine. I tend to agree with this approach, because due to Farmer’s incredibly poor draft choices, along with some hard-to-fathom free agent signings – not to mention ludicrous contracts – how do you hold Pettine accountable for having to coach a number of players who clearly have no business being on an NFL roster? So I could write a column praising those decisions.

But there still was one game to be played, and the possibility existed that something might happen on Jan. 3 to change Haslam’s mind about things. (Candidly, Jimmy’s been known to act impulsively in the past. Yes, hard to believe, but true). So I couldn’t write about it like it was a done deal, correct? What if the Browns lost 70-0 (not beyond the realm of possibility, folks), and Haslam fired Pettine, and this issue of the Observer had me singing the praises of keeping Pettine? I’d look pretty dumb (okay, okay, dumber than usual), right?

So what if I’d written a column that assumed both Farmer and Pettine had been fired? That’s the second-greatest probability, from where I stand (sit). I could approach it from that angle, and accuse Haslam of having rocks in his head for not retaining Pettine. Don’t get me wrong; it would be a fun column to write, but what if something had happened on Jan. 3 to persuade Haslam to fire Pettine, but keep Farmer? It’s difficult for me to fathom such a move but then again, it IS the Browns we’re talking about here. In which case, I’d appear to my loyal reader(s) (which reminds me: “Hi, honey!”) to be beyond dumb (stop right there; I know what you’re thinking).

So now you know how difficult it can be to write a timely column in sports. You may have also noticed how easy it is for me to “lower the bar” with the content of my articles. And just think: we have another whole year together!

Hey, I certainly hope those are “tears of joy” you’re crying.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

Read More on Sporting Views
Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 9:53 AM, 01.05.2016