CLEVELAND, Ohio – I received this e-mail from a fan who thanked me for my Brown's coverage:
"My wife was diagnosed with cancer last month, I have two boys, 9 and 13. Because of Diagnosis Lately, there has not been much luck here.
"However, the Browns have had a smile on Sunday afternoons. The boys and I love the Cleveland sport. Anyway, after I took care of my family all day I found myself reading (about the Browns) at night. That would distract me from the things. I thank you for that.
This note is not about my writing.
It's about how sport affects the pressure of everyday life ̵
The breathtaking revival of the Browns makes many of them smile, laugh and wear their old Browns shirts and caps.
Some say things like, "I woke up feeling dangerous.
Baker Mayfield and the Browns have delivered a spe holiday feeling.
Or as someone recently told me, "This season was so much fun!"
Another person was disbelieving because a few talking heads on ESPN said the ravens were beating Browns Sunday.
This fan and anyone in a family crisis can tell you that a suddenly winning football team will not change the situation.
But it helps our attitude, and this can be a precious Christmas present amidst many pain.
In 2000, I met a lady named Melva Hardison. She is the mother of Gloria Williams, a member of our prison ministry. It was not long before Melva asked me about my mother. Her name was Mary Pluto and she died of a sudden heart attack in 1984 at the age of 58.
"You do not have a mom?" Melva asked.
"No," I said.
"I can be your mother," she said.
Due to disclaimers I joined a new team. For the last 18 years, Akron has had a four-meter-long black woman who stunned everyone when she said she was my mother.
On Valentine's Day 2019, Melva turns 93. Until two months ago, she was extremely successful. Then three trips to the hospital came in five weeks. Her life was balanced at least once.
She's back in her nursing home for nine days. It seems that the problem has been detected and treated.
Together with my wife (Roberta) and Gloria we ate a Christmas dinner together in the dining room of the Village of St. Edward in Fairlawn. Like the Browns, she is celebrating a remarkable comeback.
It was a great Christmas present.
I wrote many Browns stories during this ordeal. Melva's condition was not changed. But it distracted me, at least for a while, as we waited and waited for Melva to gather herself against very tough adversities.
And she did it.
I am writing this, knowing that many people have lost family and friends during this time. Former PD editor, designer and good friend Patricia McCubbin died a few weeks ago.
It is an empty feeling, even though she has suffered for several years.
The Browns do not fill the empty chair during the various hours of holiday food. They do not change the state of health. But sometimes they can help us through long nights in hospitals or anxious morning hours at work.
A successful football team brings people together, even though it means they sometimes smile and fight fear and tears.