Sometimes, it is hard to ever let go of the great disappointments we face in life, as the death of one Scott E. Entsminger of Mansfield demonstrates.
His passing, while sad, offers lessons about being a fan and maintaining unwavering support in the face of a great deal of adversity, and also reminds us that while the calendar shows it's the middle of July, football season is not that far away.
If you haven't heard the story yet, Entsminger died on July 4 at the age of 55. In addition to having worked at General Motors for 32 years, he was an accomplished musician who loved playing his guitar and was a member of the Old Fogies Band, according to his obituary that appeared in the Columbus Dispatch.
He liked to garden, fish and spend time with his family. He also was a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Browns and a season ticket holder who wrote a song each year and sent it, as well as coaching advice, to the team. Those who attended his service Tuesday were encouraged to wear Browns clothing.
So, he seemed just like any other guy in Central Ohio who enjoyed his family, his friends, his work, his music and football. What made his obituary different is that he asked for six Browns to be pall bearers, so the team could let him down one last time.
As a Steeler fan who lives in Steeler Country (OK, I will admit there are those pockets of Browns backers in our area), it can sometimes be difficult to consider the plight of Cleveland supporters.
While the Steelers have won six of the eight Super Bowls they have played in since January 1975, Browns fans have suffered through the Drive (led by Denver's John Elway in January 1987 in the American Football Conference title game), the Fumble (by Earnest Byner as he appeared to be headed into the end zone for a touchdown that would have tied the AFC title game against the Broncos in January 1988), the indignity of seeing their team become the Baltimore Ravens after the 1995 season and all of the trials and tribulations that came with being an expansion team when the franchise was reactivated in 1999.
All of which brings us back to the realization that football season is just around the corner. Cleveland, in fact, will open training camp Friday when its rookies report to Berea.
The Steelers, meanwhile, open their camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe to all players on July 26. The preseason schedule for the Browns begins Aug. 8, when they meet St. Louis in First Energy Stadium, while the Steelers open their preseason Aug. 10 when the Giants visit Heinz Field.
It's a time when all fans - even those who have experienced one disappointment after another over the years - can look to a brighter future and hope for better things to come.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)