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Zombo

RIP Stan "Atenears" Aten

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7 hours ago, Zombo said:

Glad you stopped in, Russ, even if it was awful news.

I always enjoyed seeing you at the tailgates, and I know Stan did too. We had quite a cast of characters and he just wanted all of us together always!

Z

To the Lot!

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We might need to have a memorial Lot service next year.

 

I will be up for my final game in Dec....the Panthers game.  I will wander in to the Flatiron and hopefully see Ed, Don, Todd, and whoever....I can usually find them in there.  It's where I talked to Stanley for 30 or more minutes the last time I saw him last season.  I wish I could see Stanley pull up in his "chick magnet" van one more time.    I always called him Stanley

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2 hours ago, Gunz41 said:

Without ever meeting any of you guys, and never talking to the man, I consider the ones I have conversed with pals, even Ghoolie. 

Prayers to his wife, children, family, friends, and all of you guys who knew him. Its never easy losing someone close, even harder when it is unexpected. 

Father, we pray that you take care of Stan, like we know you will. And we pray you ease the hearts of all those he left behind and help them get through these tough times and celebrate all the good times he had. Amen

I consider you a pal as well Gunz. You love the Browns, that makes us all family.

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2 hours ago, Zombo said:

Al, I remember it well ...

222162_1026037847477_7530_n.jpg?_nc_cat=

Zombo, Hoorta, Alporcini, Roachmaster, Atenears

Oh shot. I’ve never that pic. I’ll PM you my email addy. Would love to have it!!!!

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Great, melancholy thread...

 

Suggest at some point in the future it be distilled into a Bio page for the Browns Board's founder.

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1 hour ago, ballpeen said:

We might need to have a memorial Lot service next year.

 

I will be up for my final game in Dec....the Panthers game.  I will wander in to the Flatiron and hopefully see Ed, Don, Todd, and whoever....I can usually find them in there.  It's where I talked to Stanley for 30 or more minutes the last time I saw him last season.  I wish I could see Stanley pull up in his "chick magnet" van one more time.    I always called him Stanley

I’m in!

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WoW

Sad News indeed, I didn't know Stan very well and haven't been around much lately,

Prayers to his loved ones.

Ill be raising a glass in his honor at kickoff today.

 

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Wanted to see if I could holler at Tod/ Beanpot,
When I found this post from Stan regarding the Passing of Kathy H
 
 
Atenears

Just spent hours combing over old pictures of this group from the past 15 years. Watched the Channel 3 newscast of our crew at the September 12, 1999 tailgate party (first game back of the new era), and the interview of Kathy. I have pictures of Kathy being interviewed somewhere and many of that tailgate party. In my search, I read many posts from Kathy over the years and it just solidified what class she is as I've always remembered.

 

Reminisced about how my flight got bumped coming home from Vegas a few years ago and I missed her attending one of her last tailgate parties with us. Remember having lunch with Kathy at Chilli's in North Olmsted 4-5 years ago and that might have been the last time I seen her face-to-face.

 

Hope I get another chance to tell her how much of a glue she is to the group that stuck together all of these years that helped form this forum. Kathy has been the best of all of us, and I hope that she knows that.

 

I've been a little pissed off at a few in our close nit group here and didn't factor on enjoying their company this weekend while all are in town, but in combing through memories of Kathy, I realize that life is too short and that petty cowpoop today isn't worth missing out on the company of some truly great friends.

 

If any of you have an opportunity to get into town and meet some of these folks on this forum, I'm telling you firsthand that it will make your experience here on the forum 1000X's better than you could ever imagine. Take for instance, I'm a real pooper personalty here on the forum, but in person I am just a big huggable teady bear.

 

Here's to many more memories with Kathy and long live the Browns Board and everyone who frequents it!

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Hats off to Stan. I didn't know him like most of you guys, but I did attend many of the past tailgate parties. I was part of hoorta's wino crew from Dayton.

I'm glad I got to know him.

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10 hours ago, ballpeen said:

I don't get in here as often as I once did.  Came in to share the win, and see this.  Horrible.

 

Stan was as nice a guy as you could ever want to meet.  We bonded over baseball as both he and I coached the game.  I remember attending functions where he and his league were raising money.  All the tailgates.  He and his wife driving me to a Cavs game that Ed hosted.  Got to see him at 1 game last year.  He was at the Flatiron and we talked for 30 minutes.  Just a chance meeting, but one I will remember forever.

 

Sometimes life really sucks, and this is one of those moments.  My prayers and thoughts are with Kathy and his family.

 

Wow.  Sad indeed.

One more example of how Stan brought people together.  If not for Stan, Russ is another I wouldn't have met.   

 

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2 hours ago, Westside Steve said:

2002?

20181112_092621.jpg

Yep, I think that was the Bottlegate game.

Ed (Roach), Rich, Westside Steve, Kathy, Stan, Gumbo. Zombo (With way too many chins), Hoorta

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So I guess it is time for me to share my Stan story…

October of 1997 … The Indians and Marlins are in the World Series, the Browns are in limbo and I am assembling a desk in my new condo as I await the delivery of my Gateway2000 … I’m going on the World Wide Web, Ladies and Gentleman!

It arrives, I take it out of the box, plug in the phone line, turn it on, slap in that free AOL disk and I’m ready to surf. Screen name? Hmmm. I’ll pick one for business, Meehan2000, and one for fun … It’s Halloween, so how about my favorite Munster’s character … Zombo2000 it is. (Kids, “2000” was very sheik in 1997.)

So I’m in … And the first two words I typed in to the Internet were “Cleveland Browns”, Well those “keywords” took you to a place called AOL Grandstand. A wonderful place with all of these colorful characters like “Ghoolie” and “Hoorta” and “Furnier” posting about my beloved Cleveland Browns.

You have to remember, before the internet, many of us Browns fans were isolated. I spent my whole adult life Fall Sundays sitting by myself in the corner of a sports bar in New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, California or somewhere with the “bad TV” and no sound. So this was a spectacular discovery that I was not alone in my Browns obsession.

So then there was this character, “Anteater” or some sort of shit. He seemed like the “know-it-all” of the group. Who was this guy, an ex-football coach or something? He had a method of letting somebody get carried away with themselves and talking out of their asses … and then he would dissect their posts line by line and make them look like an idiot. This guy was good.

So after lurking for a couple weeks, I finally got up enough gumption to respond to one of his posts. It was a full year and a half before the “new” Browns first draft, but this Anteater guy was already trying to convince everybody that Ohio State LB Andy Katzenmoyer needed to be the Browns first pick. I made a reasonable reply that it was too early to choose, but that they should probably consider at QB with that pick, and I’m not sure how I worded it, but I will never forget his response: “That’s a real knee slapper, Zombo…” and it was on. I had my first internet battle. I famously called Katzenmoyer a “big dumb redneck” and we started debating and disagreeing on every subject … and we never stopped until last Saturday Night. In fact we were still arguing about the 1999 NFL draft the last time I saw him.

And when I say “argued”, I mean we almost always disagreed … but always made each other laugh.

After we both had that “Who’s this guy?” moment, the Atenears/Zombo show was on. We picked a side, dug in and destroyed everything in our path to make our point and took wild swings at each other’s loyal henchmen.

I became the leader of “Camp Couch” while Stan became the voice of “The Dark Side”.

We argued for days about legendary Browns like Corey Bridges, Darren “Chia Pet” Chiaverini and Terry “1700” Kirby. The only thing we agreed on was that Scott Rehberg sucked.

The 1999 NFL draft was more analyzed on the AOL board than any Presidential Election anywhere. Was Chris “Rosey” Palmer going to select my boy Tim Couch or Skippy’s idea of drafting Ricky “small hands” Williams or doing the Ditka Trade for a bevy of picks … if you supported anybody else, like say Akili Smith  … you were gay.

So when the dust had settled over the draft, and we looked over the scorched earth of the AOL Grandstand Board to see who was still standing … we realized we had a pretty good group. And we also realized that real football games were going to start and we should get together … as in meet as real people and not our screen name characters.

So, after the Hall of Fame game against Dallas (Couch looked great) our first preseason game was in Tampa, two hours from me. We knew this great Camp Couch Loyalist named “Flugels” who lived in the Tampa area, and I was only a couple hours away, so we convinced Stan he should come down to Tampa on “business”. So he set up a few sales call for his Penis Pump manufacturing business and made the trip and the first official Browns Board tailgate consisted of Me, Stan, Flugels, a crazy cat named “Vette” and some friend Flugels brought along who we called Booger … because he looked like the character from the Revenge of the Nerds movies ... in the parking lot of the Best Western walking distance from “The Big Sombrero” in Tampa.

That night was a whole story itself … If I see you at a tailgate next year ask me about the “Pizza Boy”, Vette’s arrest, the cops in the parking lot and the fight in the stands. What can I say … I may be one of the graybeards around here now, but when we started on AOL, I was 33 and Stan was 30 and we both acted like we were 20. Or 17. Some will say I still do.

So then Stan got together with Ed and Don and started the tailgate in the Flats down by some bridge. It was awesome. We had our own AOL Private “Clubhouse” board now, thanks Furnier, away from the prying eyes of trolling Steeler and Ravens fans, and Stan and some blonde chick named “Boo” were the moderators after we chased off the rent-a-cop moderators they provided us. Poor Boo … We gave her so much shit.

But Stan and Boo were on TV for the first ever Cleveland Browns Home Game in 99 against the Steelers telling the newcasters about this crazy “internet group” from the “world wide web” that had never met on-line before that day. And Ed was grilling burgers for a whole lot more people than he ever imagined.

I made it up to that tailgate later that season and finally met the legendary “Roachmaster”, “Furnier”, “Hoorta”, and the larger than life “Gumbo Dog” … amongst many, many other great folks that I met that day and at future tailgates.

I got Season Tickets in 2000 and always made it up to one or two tailgates a year and that is where my friendship with all these fine folks began … at the Browns Board Tailgate Stan started.

We may have found a permanent tailgate home in Cleveland (we thought), but we were still lost in the internet desert on-line, with Stan as our Moses trying to find us a place. The Clubhouse thing was dropped by AOL, we went back to the regular boards, but it was too trolly with Steeler and Ratbird heathen, we spent all of our time fighting with them and never got to discuss the important issues of the day like Wali Rainer’s bleeding forehead and Percy Ellsworth’s inability to cover anything.

We went to a CBS Sportsline forum that Stan secured for us … but it was too corporate … too many rules. Fatdad (Jim Deetz) started his own Cleveland website “The River Burns”, but God rest his soul, he wasn’t focused too much on the sports part of it and we knew we needed another place, a place devoted to Cleveland Browns Football … A Browns Board.

Stan and I were very tight friends at this point. He always invited me to stay at his house, offered to feed me, whatever I needed … but I was doing pretty well for myself so I’d usually get a hotel room for us to trash as we literally spent the entire tailgate weekends partying. He was with Kathy now … He was still with the “Toothless Hag” when I met him, and I was there for him through his divorce and then he met “Hag2” and they blended their two young families and added a fifth kid, Alexis … and Kathy put up with out shenanigans. Or, actually, she participated in most of them. The stories from this era are legendary, again, each should have it’s own thread: “The Bloody Turban”, the “Cab door”, Zombo Gets Arrested (OK, “detained”) Parts I, II, III and IV …

About this time, Stan decided he was buying his own website dedicated to Browns fans. He wanted me to be an administrator and moderator while he did the backstage tech stuff. I had never moderated, didn’t want to moderate … I wanted to be the “Bad Guy” … but when Stan asked, you knew it was for the good of our little on-line family, so I accepted, and here I am today moderating 2,000 cool guys and Ghoolie.

Marko and Hoorta were tabbed as moderators as well, and the First Lady of the Browns Board, KS “Kathy” Hutchins, affectionately known as “Mom”, kept us in line. And all was right with the world … Except the Browns still sucked.

My world changed in the Summer of 2007. That is when I found out that the woman that I had been married to for two and half years was actually a sick criminal strung out on prescription pain killers who had taken out second mortgages on all of my Florida properties, taken out countless credit lines under my name, stole $13,000 from my elderly mother and ran up $128,000 in credit cards in my name. In one year I went from thinking I was financially set to financial ruin. When I finally got away from this awful human to visit my family in Pennsylvania, I lost everything I owned in one day. She cleaned out our joint checking accounts, cleaned out our house, reported everything “stolen” and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it because I was married to it. All I had was the clothes on my back, my trusty beagle, my car and a friend's laptop. Thank God I had that laptop because the Brownsboard was my only place of peace.

Then came the hordes of false accusations of unspeakable crimes, going after my family, my Mom, my disabled brother, my innocent 10 year old niece … No, I didn’t kill her … But I should have. She went to prison. I went to hell.

The only person I reached out to outside of the family was Stan. I met Stan and Ed and a few others in Youngstown for a high school football game, it was the first time I had gone anywhere socially since everything went down, and I was a wreck inside. Stan never judged, never waivered. He had my back. He invited me out to the Browns opener against the Steelers on his dime. That’s when I met Marko, the Soup Nazi, Jarrod, and a few others but most importantly, I had a good time … and forgot my troubles for a day or two. I don’t think I ever thanked Stan for that, we never got all gushy and talked about feelings and shit … but he knew I had his back and I knew he had mine.

Eventually I got back in the game and the tailgates remained my one thing to look forward to every year no matter what. Marko, Mike from Atlanta, Howie and Gareth from the UK and Keith from Scotland joined our tightknit group with Stan and Ed and Don. There was Russ, and the other Russ, and Rich, and Gipper and the legendary Westside Steve. There are a ton of other folks that were huge parts of the Browns Board and the tailgates and if I started naming, names, that is a whole ‘nother thread too.

Then there was the big Anderson/Quinn wars where Stan and I MAY have taken out some frustrations in our personal life on half the Browns Board. The Browns Board had become too much work. It was supposed to be fun. Stan grew tired of people complaining about the way THEY wanted the board run, and he reminded everyone that it was his board. He once told me “You know, I just started all this so everyone could have a place to come and you, me and Flugels could enjoy ourselves at night”. It became too much. We chased off about half our membership, but lost a lot of good posters and good people in the process, and Stan was hurt that some of his closest and favorite posters went to the new rival board.

After that, I think Stan felt a little bit betrayed, and he became increasingly frustrated with how the Browns were run and he slowly relinquished control of the board to me and eventually pretty much stopped posting all together.

But he never closed the place down, he kept it going for his true friends. I know for a fact he has lost money on this site every year. And he grumbled about it. And he threatened to shut it down … but he never could. Because his friends were still there. And that will tell you everything you need to know about Stan.

Stan and Kathy were made for each other. Funniest couple you will ever meet. One night out on the town with them and you will end up crying your eyes out in laughter every time, guaranteed. Kathy was always a good friend to all of us “idiots”, and Stan and Kathy always rolled out the red carpet when the “wolfpack” came to town to drink themselves silly and watch Phil Dawson kick field goals.

Stan and I stayed in touch the past few years mainly through Facebook, texts and messages. Not like the AOL days where we were “Instant Messaging” each other every night laughing about the trouble we were stirring up on the Board, but enough to know we still had each other’s backs. I missed the tailgate weekend this year, and it bothers me more than you know.

I miss that big guy with the big laugh and the razor-sharp sense of humor. He was loyal, he was fair, and he was bigger than life. And I can’t wait to belly up to that bar in the afterlife (Yes, there’s a bar) and hear from across the room “Hey, Zippy, that’s a real knee slapper…”

46043937_2193608760657667_83420659562640

Zombo

 

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I never had the pleasure to meet Stan, I sorry to hear this news. From the sounds of things he was great man, father and friend. And thankful he created this forum to give us place to talk, debate our Browns and meet other fans from all over. RIP Stan.

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Just now, Zombo said:

So I guess it is time for me to share my Stan story…

October of 1997 … The Indians and Marlins are in the World Series, the Browns are in limbo and I am assembling a desk in my new condo as I await the delivery of my Gateway2000 … I’m going on the World Wide Web, Ladies and Gentleman!

It arrives, I take it out of the box, plug in the phone line, turn it on, slap in that free AOL disk and I’m ready to surf. Screen name? Hmmm. I’ll pick one for business, Meehan2000, and one for fun … It’s Halloween, so how about my favorite Munster’s character … Zombo2000 it is. (Kids, “2000” was very sheik in 1997.)

So I’m in … And the first two words I typed in to the Internet were “Cleveland Browns”, Well those “keywords” took you to a place called AOL Grandstand. A wonderful place with all of these colorful characters like “Ghoolie” and “Hoorta” and “Furnier” posting about my beloved Cleveland Browns.

You have to remember, before the internet, many of us Browns fans were isolated. I spent my whole adult life Fall Sundays sitting by myself in the corner of a sports bar in New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, California or somewhere with the “bad TV” and no sound. So this was a spectacular discovery that I was not alone in my Browns obsession.

So then there was this character, “Anteater” or some sort of Sheet. He seemed like the “know-it-all” of the group. Who was this guy, an ex-football coach or something? He had a method of letting somebody get carried away with themselves and talking out of their asses … and then he would dissect their posts line by line and make them look like an idiot. This guy was good.

So after lurking for a couple weeks, I finally got up enough gumption to respond to one of his posts. It was a full year and a half before the “new” Browns first draft, but this Anteater guy was already trying to convince everybody that Ohio State LB Andy Katzenmoyer needed to be the Browns first pick. I made a reasonable reply that it was too early to choose, but that they should probably consider at QB with that pick, and I’m not sure how I worded it, but I will never forget his response: “That’s a real knee slapper, Zombo…” and it was on. I had my first internet battle. I famously called Katzenmoyer a “big dumb redneck” and we started debating and disagreeing on every subject … and we never stopped until last Saturday Night. In fact we were still arguing about the 1999 NFL draft the last time I saw him.

And when I say “argued”, I mean we almost always disagreed … but always made each other laugh.

After we both had that “Who’s this guy?” moment, the Atenears/Zombo show was on. We picked a side, dug in and destroyed everything in our path to make our point and took wild swings at each other’s loyal henchmen.

I became the leader of “Camp Couch” while Stan became the voice of “The Dark Side”.

We argued for days about legendary Browns like Corey Bridges, Darren “Chia Pet” Chiaverini and Terry “1700” Kirby. The only thing we agreed on was that Scott Rehberg sucked.

The 1999 NFL draft was more analyzed on the AOL board than any Presidential Election anywhere. Was Chris “Rosey” Palmer going to select my boy Tim Couch or Skippy’s idea of drafting Ricky “small hands” Williams or doing the Ditka Trade for a bevy of picks … if you supported anybody else, like say Akili Smith  … you were gay.

So when the dust had settled over the draft, and we looked over the scorched earth of the AOL Grandstand Board to see who was still standing … we realized we had a pretty good group. And we also realized that real football games were going to start and we should get together … as in meet as real people and not our screen name characters.

So, after the Hall of Fame game against Dallas (Couch looked great) our first preseason game was in Tampa, two hours from me. We knew this great Camp Couch Loyalist named “Flugels” who lived in the Tampa area, and I was only a couple hours away, so we convinced Stan he should come down to Tampa on “business”. So he set up a few sales call for his Penis Pump manufacturing business and made the trip and the first official Browns Board tailgate consisted of Me, Stan, Flugels, a crazy cat named “Vette” and some friend Flugels brought along who we called Booger … because he looked like the character from the Revenge of the Nerds movies ... in the parking lot of the Best Western walking distance from “The Big Sombrero” in Tampa.

That night was a whole story itself … If I see you at a tailgate next year ask me about the “Pizza Boy”, Vette’s arrest, the cops in the parking lot and the fight in the stands. What can I say … I may be one of the graybeards around here now, but when we started on AOL, I was 33 and Stan was 30 and we both acted like we were 20. Or 17. Some will say I still do.

So then Stan got together with Ed and Don and started the tailgate in the Flats down by some bridge. It was awesome. We had our own AOL Private “Clubhouse” board now, thanks Furnier, away from the prying eyes of trolling Steeler and Ravens fans, and Stan and some blonde chick named “Boo” were the moderators after we chased off the rent-a-cop moderators they provided us. Poor Boo … We gave her so much Sheet.

But Stan and Boo were on TV for the first ever Cleveland Browns Home Game in 99 against the Steelers telling the newcasters about this crazy “internet group” from the “world wide web” that had never met on-line before that day. And Ed was grilling burgers for a whole lot more people than he ever imagined.

I made it up to that tailgate later that season and finally met the legendary “Roachmaster”, “Furnier”, “Hoorta”, and the larger than life “Gumbo Dog” … amongst many, many other great folks that I met that day and at future tailgates.

I got Season Tickets in 2000 and always made it up to one or two tailgates a year and that is where my friendship with all these fine folks began … at the Browns Board Tailgate Stan started.

We may have found a permanent tailgate home in Cleveland (we thought), but we were still lost in the internet desert on-line, with Stan as our Moses trying to find us a place. The Clubhouse thing was dropped by AOL, we went back to the regular boards, but it was too trolly with Steeler and Ratbird heathen, we spent all of our time fighting with them and never got to discuss the important issues of the day like Wali Rainer’s bleeding forehead and Percy Ellsworth’s inability to cover anything.

We went to a CBS Sportsline forum that Stan secured for us … but it was too corporate … too many rules. Fatdad (Jim Deetz) started his own Cleveland website “The River Burns”, but God rest his soul, he wasn’t focused too much on the sports part of it and we knew we needed another place, a place devoted to Cleveland Browns Football … A Browns Board.

Stan and I were very tight friends at this point. He always invited me to stay at his house, offered to feed me, whatever I needed … but I was doing pretty well for myself so I’d usually get a hotel room for us to trash as we literally spent the entire tailgate weekends partying. He was with Kathy now … He was still with the “Toothless Hag” when I met him, and I was there for him through his divorce and then he met “Hag2” and they blended their two young families and added a fifth kid, Alexis … and Kathy put up with out shenanigans. Or, actually, she participated in most of them. The stories from this era are legendary, again, each should have it’s own thread: “The Bloody Turban”, the “Cab door”, Zombo Gets Arrested (OK, “detained”) Parts I, II, III and IV …

About this time, Stan decided he was buying his own website dedicated to Browns fans. He wanted me to be an administrator and moderator while he did the backstage tech stuff. I had never moderated, didn’t want to moderate … I wanted to be the “Bad Guy” … but when Stan asked, you knew it was for the good of our little on-line family, so I accepted, and here I am today moderating 2,000 cool guys and Ghoolie.

Marko and Hoorta were tabbed as moderators as well, and the First Lady of the Browns Board, KS “Kathy” Hutchins, affectionately known as “Mom”, kept us in line. And all was right with the world … Except the Browns still sucked.

My world changed in the Summer of 2007. That is when I found out that the woman that I had been married to for two and half years was actually a sick criminal strung out on prescription pain killers who had taken out second mortgages on all of my Florida properties, taken out countless credit lines under my name, stole $13,000 from my elderly mother and ran up $128,000 in credit cards in my name. In one year I went from thinking I was financially set to financial ruin. When I finally got away from this awful human to visit my family in Pennsylvania, I lost everything I owned in one day. She cleaned out our joint checking accounts, cleaned out our house, reported everything “stolen” and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it because I was married to it. All I had was the clothes on my back, my trusty beagle, my car and a friend's laptop. Thank God I had that laptop because the Brownsboard was my only place of peace.

Then came the hordes of false accusations of unspeakable crimes, going after my family, my Mom, my disabled brother, my innocent 10 year old niece … No, I didn’t kill her … But I should have. She went to prison. I went to hell.

The only person I reached out to outside of the family was Stan. I met Stan and Ed and a few others in Youngstown for a high school football game, it was the first time I had gone anywhere socially since everything went down, and I was a wreck inside. Stan never judged, never waivered. He had my back. He invited me out to the Browns opener against the Steelers on his dime. That’s when I met Marko, the Soup Nazi, Jarrod, and a few others but most importantly, I had a good time … and forgot my troubles for a day or two. I don’t think I ever thanked Stan for that, we never got all gushy and talked about feelings and Sheet … but he knew I had his back and I knew he had mine.

Eventually I got back in the game and the tailgates remained my one thing to look forward to every year no matter what. Marko, Mike from Atlanta, Howie and Gareth from the UK and Keith from Scotland joined our tightknit group with Stan and Ed and Don. There was Russ, and the other Russ, and Rich, and Gipper and the legendary Westside Steve. There are a ton of other folks that were huge parts of the Browns Board and the tailgates and if I started naming, names, that is a whole ‘nother thread too.

Then there was the big Anderson/Quinn wars where Stan and I MAY have taken out some frustrations in our personal life on half the Browns Board. The Browns Board had become too much work. It was supposed to be fun. Stan grew tired of people complaining about the way THEY wanted the board run, and he reminded everyone that it was his board. He once told me “You know, I just started all this so everyone could have a place to come and you, me and Flugels could enjoy ourselves at night”. It became too much. We chased off about half our membership, but lost a lot of good posters and good people in the process, and Stan was hurt that some of his closest and favorite posters went to the new rival board.

After that, I think Stan felt a little bit betrayed, and he became increasingly frustrated with how the Browns were run and he slowly relinquished control of the board to me and eventually pretty much stopped posting all together.

But he never closed the place down, he kept it going for his true friends. I know for a fact he has lost money on this site every year. And he grumbled about it. And he threatened to shut it down … but he never could. Because his friends were still there. And that will tell you everything you need to know about Stan.

Stan and Kathy were made for each other. Funniest couple you will ever meet. One night out on the town with them and you will end up crying your eyes out in laughter every time, guaranteed. Kathy was always a good friend to all of us “idiots”, and Stan and Kathy always rolled out the red carpet when the “wolfpack” came to town to drink themselves silly and watch Phil Dawson kick field goals.

Stan and I stayed in touch the past few years mainly through Facebook, texts and messages. Not like the AOL days where we were “Instant Messaging” each other every night laughing about the trouble we were stirring up on the Board, but enough to know we still had each other’s backs. I missed the tailgate weekend this year, and it bothers me more than you know.

I miss that big guy with the big laugh and the razor-sharp sense of humor. He was loyal, he was fair, and he was bigger than life. And I can’t wait to belly up to that bar in the afterlife (Yes, there’s a bar) and hear from across the room “Hey, Zippy, that’s a real knee slapper…”

46043937_2193608760657667_83420659562640

Zombo

 

Wow. This was both heartbreaking and heartwarming with laughter in there all at the same time. Beautifully written Zombo. Going girly for a second to send you a hug (sorry). Stan may not have been a big emotions guy but I think he would be touched by your words that reverberate with love. I am very sorry for the loss of your friend. And when you step up to that bar when you see him again, you're probably going to have to have 2 at a time to catch up.

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4 hours ago, Zombo said:

So I guess it is time for me to share my Stan story…

October of 1997 … The Indians and Marlins are in the World Series, the Browns are in limbo and I am assembling a desk in my new condo as I await the delivery of my Gateway2000 … I’m going on the World Wide Web, Ladies and Gentleman!

It arrives, I take it out of the box, plug in the phone line, turn it on, slap in that free AOL disk and I’m ready to surf. Screen name? Hmmm. I’ll pick one for business, Meehan2000, and one for fun … It’s Halloween, so how about my favorite Munster’s character … Zombo2000 it is. (Kids, “2000” was very sheik in 1997.)

So I’m in … And the first two words I typed in to the Internet were “Cleveland Browns”, Well those “keywords” took you to a place called AOL Grandstand. A wonderful place with all of these colorful characters like “Ghoolie” and “Hoorta” and “Furnier” posting about my beloved Cleveland Browns.

You have to remember, before the internet, many of us Browns fans were isolated. I spent my whole adult life Fall Sundays sitting by myself in the corner of a sports bar in New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, California or somewhere with the “bad TV” and no sound. So this was a spectacular discovery that I was not alone in my Browns obsession.

So then there was this character, “Anteater” or some sort of Sheet. He seemed like the “know-it-all” of the group. Who was this guy, an ex-football coach or something? He had a method of letting somebody get carried away with themselves and talking out of their asses … and then he would dissect their posts line by line and make them look like an idiot. This guy was good.

So after lurking for a couple weeks, I finally got up enough gumption to respond to one of his posts. It was a full year and a half before the “new” Browns first draft, but this Anteater guy was already trying to convince everybody that Ohio State LB Andy Katzenmoyer needed to be the Browns first pick. I made a reasonable reply that it was too early to choose, but that they should probably consider at QB with that pick, and I’m not sure how I worded it, but I will never forget his response: “That’s a real knee slapper, Zombo…” and it was on. I had my first internet battle. I famously called Katzenmoyer a “big dumb redneck” and we started debating and disagreeing on every subject … and we never stopped until last Saturday Night. In fact we were still arguing about the 1999 NFL draft the last time I saw him.

And when I say “argued”, I mean we almost always disagreed … but always made each other laugh.

After we both had that “Who’s this guy?” moment, the Atenears/Zombo show was on. We picked a side, dug in and destroyed everything in our path to make our point and took wild swings at each other’s loyal henchmen.

I became the leader of “Camp Couch” while Stan became the voice of “The Dark Side”.

We argued for days about legendary Browns like Corey Bridges, Darren “Chia Pet” Chiaverini and Terry “1700” Kirby. The only thing we agreed on was that Scott Rehberg sucked.

The 1999 NFL draft was more analyzed on the AOL board than any Presidential Election anywhere. Was Chris “Rosey” Palmer going to select my boy Tim Couch or Skippy’s idea of drafting Ricky “small hands” Williams or doing the Ditka Trade for a bevy of picks … if you supported anybody else, like say Akili Smith  … you were gay.

So when the dust had settled over the draft, and we looked over the scorched earth of the AOL Grandstand Board to see who was still standing … we realized we had a pretty good group. And we also realized that real football games were going to start and we should get together … as in meet as real people and not our screen name characters.

So, after the Hall of Fame game against Dallas (Couch looked great) our first preseason game was in Tampa, two hours from me. We knew this great Camp Couch Loyalist named “Flugels” who lived in the Tampa area, and I was only a couple hours away, so we convinced Stan he should come down to Tampa on “business”. So he set up a few sales call for his Penis Pump manufacturing business and made the trip and the first official Browns Board tailgate consisted of Me, Stan, Flugels, a crazy cat named “Vette” and some friend Flugels brought along who we called Booger … because he looked like the character from the Revenge of the Nerds movies ... in the parking lot of the Best Western walking distance from “The Big Sombrero” in Tampa.

That night was a whole story itself … If I see you at a tailgate next year ask me about the “Pizza Boy”, Vette’s arrest, the cops in the parking lot and the fight in the stands. What can I say … I may be one of the graybeards around here now, but when we started on AOL, I was 33 and Stan was 30 and we both acted like we were 20. Or 17. Some will say I still do.

So then Stan got together with Ed and Don and started the tailgate in the Flats down by some bridge. It was awesome. We had our own AOL Private “Clubhouse” board now, thanks Furnier, away from the prying eyes of trolling Steeler and Ravens fans, and Stan and some blonde chick named “Boo” were the moderators after we chased off the rent-a-cop moderators they provided us. Poor Boo … We gave her so much Sheet.

But Stan and Boo were on TV for the first ever Cleveland Browns Home Game in 99 against the Steelers telling the newcasters about this crazy “internet group” from the “world wide web” that had never met on-line before that day. And Ed was grilling burgers for a whole lot more people than he ever imagined.

I made it up to that tailgate later that season and finally met the legendary “Roachmaster”, “Furnier”, “Hoorta”, and the larger than life “Gumbo Dog” … amongst many, many other great folks that I met that day and at future tailgates.

I got Season Tickets in 2000 and always made it up to one or two tailgates a year and that is where my friendship with all these fine folks began … at the Browns Board Tailgate Stan started.

We may have found a permanent tailgate home in Cleveland (we thought), but we were still lost in the internet desert on-line, with Stan as our Moses trying to find us a place. The Clubhouse thing was dropped by AOL, we went back to the regular boards, but it was too trolly with Steeler and Ratbird heathen, we spent all of our time fighting with them and never got to discuss the important issues of the day like Wali Rainer’s bleeding forehead and Percy Ellsworth’s inability to cover anything.

We went to a CBS Sportsline forum that Stan secured for us … but it was too corporate … too many rules. Fatdad (Jim Deetz) started his own Cleveland website “The River Burns”, but God rest his soul, he wasn’t focused too much on the sports part of it and we knew we needed another place, a place devoted to Cleveland Browns Football … A Browns Board.

Stan and I were very tight friends at this point. He always invited me to stay at his house, offered to feed me, whatever I needed … but I was doing pretty well for myself so I’d usually get a hotel room for us to trash as we literally spent the entire tailgate weekends partying. He was with Kathy now … He was still with the “Toothless Hag” when I met him, and I was there for him through his divorce and then he met “Hag2” and they blended their two young families and added a fifth kid, Alexis … and Kathy put up with out shenanigans. Or, actually, she participated in most of them. The stories from this era are legendary, again, each should have it’s own thread: “The Bloody Turban”, the “Cab door”, Zombo Gets Arrested (OK, “detained”) Parts I, II, III and IV …

About this time, Stan decided he was buying his own website dedicated to Browns fans. He wanted me to be an administrator and moderator while he did the backstage tech stuff. I had never moderated, didn’t want to moderate … I wanted to be the “Bad Guy” … but when Stan asked, you knew it was for the good of our little on-line family, so I accepted, and here I am today moderating 2,000 cool guys and Ghoolie.

Marko and Hoorta were tabbed as moderators as well, and the First Lady of the Browns Board, KS “Kathy” Hutchins, affectionately known as “Mom”, kept us in line. And all was right with the world … Except the Browns still sucked.

My world changed in the Summer of 2007. That is when I found out that the woman that I had been married to for two and half years was actually a sick criminal strung out on prescription pain killers who had taken out second mortgages on all of my Florida properties, taken out countless credit lines under my name, stole $13,000 from my elderly mother and ran up $128,000 in credit cards in my name. In one year I went from thinking I was financially set to financial ruin. When I finally got away from this awful human to visit my family in Pennsylvania, I lost everything I owned in one day. She cleaned out our joint checking accounts, cleaned out our house, reported everything “stolen” and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it because I was married to it. All I had was the clothes on my back, my trusty beagle, my car and a friend's laptop. Thank God I had that laptop because the Brownsboard was my only place of peace.

Then came the hordes of false accusations of unspeakable crimes, going after my family, my Mom, my disabled brother, my innocent 10 year old niece … No, I didn’t kill her … But I should have. She went to prison. I went to hell.

The only person I reached out to outside of the family was Stan. I met Stan and Ed and a few others in Youngstown for a high school football game, it was the first time I had gone anywhere socially since everything went down, and I was a wreck inside. Stan never judged, never waivered. He had my back. He invited me out to the Browns opener against the Steelers on his dime. That’s when I met Marko, the Soup Nazi, Jarrod, and a few others but most importantly, I had a good time … and forgot my troubles for a day or two. I don’t think I ever thanked Stan for that, we never got all gushy and talked about feelings and Sheet … but he knew I had his back and I knew he had mine.

Eventually I got back in the game and the tailgates remained my one thing to look forward to every year no matter what. Marko, Mike from Atlanta, Howie and Gareth from the UK and Keith from Scotland joined our tightknit group with Stan and Ed and Don. There was Russ, and the other Russ, and Rich, and Gipper and the legendary Westside Steve. There are a ton of other folks that were huge parts of the Browns Board and the tailgates and if I started naming, names, that is a whole ‘nother thread too.

Then there was the big Anderson/Quinn wars where Stan and I MAY have taken out some frustrations in our personal life on half the Browns Board. The Browns Board had become too much work. It was supposed to be fun. Stan grew tired of people complaining about the way THEY wanted the board run, and he reminded everyone that it was his board. He once told me “You know, I just started all this so everyone could have a place to come and you, me and Flugels could enjoy ourselves at night”. It became too much. We chased off about half our membership, but lost a lot of good posters and good people in the process, and Stan was hurt that some of his closest and favorite posters went to the new rival board.

After that, I think Stan felt a little bit betrayed, and he became increasingly frustrated with how the Browns were run and he slowly relinquished control of the board to me and eventually pretty much stopped posting all together.

But he never closed the place down, he kept it going for his true friends. I know for a fact he has lost money on this site every year. And he grumbled about it. And he threatened to shut it down … but he never could. Because his friends were still there. And that will tell you everything you need to know about Stan.

Stan and Kathy were made for each other. Funniest couple you will ever meet. One night out on the town with them and you will end up crying your eyes out in laughter every time, guaranteed. Kathy was always a good friend to all of us “idiots”, and Stan and Kathy always rolled out the red carpet when the “wolfpack” came to town to drink themselves silly and watch Phil Dawson kick field goals.

Stan and I stayed in touch the past few years mainly through Facebook, texts and messages. Not like the AOL days where we were “Instant Messaging” each other every night laughing about the trouble we were stirring up on the Board, but enough to know we still had each other’s backs. I missed the tailgate weekend this year, and it bothers me more than you know.

I miss that big guy with the big laugh and the razor-sharp sense of humor. He was loyal, he was fair, and he was bigger than life. And I can’t wait to belly up to that bar in the afterlife (Yes, there’s a bar) and hear from across the room “Hey, Zippy, that’s a real knee slapper…”

46043937_2193608760657667_83420659562640

Zombo

 

Wow. Fantastic post John. I had no idea the depth of what you went through. I'm glad you made it through that......and God bless Stan for being there when you needed him.

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I don't have a Stan story, but I've been on this board forever, and also the old AOL board. I don't post a lot, but check the board every day. I've had a few discussions with Stan, and he helped me work out a problem with signing in a couple years ago. I appreciate what Stan did to create a place to come and discuss our team. Like I said...I never met him personally, but after reading all this stuff, I have no doubt he was a great guy. He will be missed.

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6 hours ago, Cowsrus said:

Wow. This was both heartbreaking and heartwarming with laughter in there all at the same time. Beautifully written Zombo. Going girly for a second to send you a hug (sorry). Stan may not have been a big emotions guy but I think he would be touched by your words that reverberate with love. I am very sorry for the loss of your friend. And when you step up to that bar when you see him again, you're probably going to have to have 2 at a time to catch up.

Thank you, Heidi. One thing this place has always needed was a woman't touch, so since we lost Kathy I am always happy to see you come around.

Z

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So sorry to hear this news.. 

Prayers and condolences for Stan's family.. 

 

I didn't know him, but im sure if I did, I probably would of thought he was a good guy..

Rest easy man..

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3 hours ago, Furnier said:

Wow. Fantastic post John. I had no idea the depth of what you went through. I'm glad you made it through that......and God bless Stan for being there when you needed him.

Thanks, Doug, I wish I didn't share as many details about my own trauma as I did, but I was up late and ... Grief is strange thing, it just takes your emotions and runs with them.

Didn't even really scratch the service with Skippy ... Little League Baseball, Cavs Indians, Mentor HS, Candy Apple Red Chick Magnet Minivans, Casinos, Vegas, Bud Light, Fireball, Umbrella Drinks ... He loved them all. But most of all he loved Kathy and the kids. Keep thinking about them.

And how, when you were with Stan, you were always laughing. That damn, shit-eating grin ...

Zombo

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Zombo, that was quite a tribute.  Thanks for bringing back so many memories.  (You still owe me an umbrella)

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5 minutes ago, roach said:

Zombo, that was quite a tribute.  Thanks for bringing back so many memories.  (You still owe me an umbrella)

I gave it to Stan to give back to you ... That bastard!

Z

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40 minutes ago, Zombo said:

I gave it to Stan to give back to you ... That bastard!

Z

And Stan had to die before me and Gipper could collect on that pitcher of margaritas at Maya he owed us for being wrong on the Trubiski bet. ( It was Mitch wasn't going top 10) Probably going to go there after the service and have a couple in his memory.

PS Z, I knew things got ugly with your Ex, but I had no idea they were THAT ugly. My admiration for you weathering that personal tradegy is boundless. 

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7 hours ago, Zombo said:

Thanks, Doug, I wish I didn't share as many details about my own trauma as I did, but I was up late and ... Grief is strange thing, it just takes your emotions and runs with them.

Didn't even really scratch the service with Skippy ... Little League Baseball, Cavs Indians, Mentor HS, Candy Apple Red Chick Magnet Minivans, Casinos, Vegas, Bud Light, Fireball, Umbrella Drinks ... He loved them all. But most of all he loved Kathy and the kids. Keep thinking about them.

And how, when you were with Stan, you were always laughing. That damn, Sheet-eating grin ...

Zombo

I don't mean to keep interjecting but Z, you said you wish you didn't share as many details about yourself as you did & didn't say much about all the other things about Stan. I have to disagree with you though, respectfully of course. In sharing your story about that horrific time in your life you showed exactly who Stan was. He was there for you, no words, no judgement, but you knew for a fact that he was there and all in for you and was there to support you in ways you probably didn't know at the time that you needed. That's what a friend does, what a brother does, no questions asked no pressure, just be. That speaks volumes and embodies everything he was, kind, funny, a smartass and a naturally good human being in a world full of selfish, cruel sometimes crazy people and always just plain there for you to let you know that you have a back up if you need it. I remember you going through a lot at that time and it wasn't my business and I had no idea it rose to that insane level. You said you don't think you ever thanked him for helping you when you came up here, from my heart, I think he knew how much it meant to you and 2 words thank you were conveyed to him just the same even though it was just an ordinary act for him. 

You're right, grief is strange. When something like this happens, like lightening out of a clear blue sky, you are in such shock that given any idle time at all brings the memories of all the past both good and bad and what will never be and it hurts. Even the good parts hurt right now because damnit,  it's not fair. He's not here, it wasn't supposed to happen, he was a great guy, we need people like him to balance out the effects of the (sorry 'bout this but) assholes in this world. Emotions come when it's quiet as it's good to share and open and let everyone know what kind of man he was and what he means to you. He was a part of your life and nothing will fill that hole in the defensive line of your life quite like that because souls like his are a rarity and should be cherished. I for one am glad you said what you did, it spoke volumes of who Stan is and says tons about his character. So, thank you for sharing. It's good for the mind and soul. So please don't think you over shared, it was unreal what you went through. A lot of people would have crumbled but you rose from the ashes. We all keep things private but the burdens we share mean we don't need to carry the heavy load alone. 

With everyone sharing, I don't know what made me look in my messages and there was one from Stan from 2009. Why it's still there I have no idea but it was classic. I was apologizing for saying something to someone, I'll never remember who but they said something about Stand and I went off on them then felt bad thinking I was out of line and I never try to offend anyone or argue but I don't like jerks so my mouth got away from me. He said he was glad I did, proceeded to complain about some of the members and their fighting and what I interpreted as general frustration at all the work he did and they made it harder (I'm paraphrasing). It was true Stan, he loved the Browns, he worked hard for this board for all fans to share their Browns love/hate but it was still a huge undertaking. He thanked me and said he wished I posted more and not to beat him at Fantasy Basketball lol and I am now glad that somehow that was the only one of his messages still in my inbox. Still trying to figure out what I said on the board to the other member but for a reason that will remain unknown sleestacks were mentioned and I told Stan I still want one LOL. 

 

 

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On 11/11/2018 at 6:25 PM, Dutch Oven said:

I've run out of "likes" or whatever they are called on here, or I'd give them all to Furnier for his post. 

I've only been on here for a little over a year or so, so I had no interaction with Stan. 

But from what people have said about him who did know him, he's someone who seemed to brighten the lives of those he did know. At the end of the day, that sounds like a successful life to me. 

Rest in Peace, Stan. 

damn from reading i wish i could have met a good ole soul like him sounds like the type of guy that would help anyone out and someone who liked to have a good time

peace & love to all of you that knew him and of course to his family

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11 hours ago, Zombo said:

Thanks, Doug, I wish I didn't share as many details about my own trauma as I did, but I was up late and ... Grief is strange thing, it just takes your emotions and runs with them.

Didn't even really scratch the service with Skippy ... Little League Baseball, Cavs Indians, Mentor HS, Candy Apple Red Chick Magnet Minivans, Casinos, Vegas, Bud Light, Fireball, Umbrella Drinks ... He loved them all. But most of all he loved Kathy and the kids. Keep thinking about them.

And how, when you were with Stan, you were always laughing. That damn, Sheet-eating grin ...

Zombo

Thanks for being so open Z. Always good to see a real human being behind a screen name. 

Bill

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Most will not know me, but some of the original members will.  And, maybe some of the newer members, if Stan ever told one of the many stories that he andI participated in together.  My name is Jeff Valli, or as Stan called me "Fat Jeff" (mentioned in an earlier post).  I just want you all to know that it warms my heart to read all of the love that you all had for Stan.  I loved Stan like a brother.  We have been close friends since our early days of back yard tackle football back in high school.  He was my roommate for many years, and we were both in each others weddings.  I am now grief stricken, and still in denial a bit.  I am sick thinking about his poor family.  May all of our prayers help to ease their pain.  RIP Stan, you will be missed my many!

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4 minutes ago, Jeff "Taz" Valli said:

Most will not know me, but some of the original members will.  And, maybe some of the newer members, if Stan ever told one of the many stories that he andI participated in together.  My name is Jeff Valli, or as Stan called me "Fat Jeff" (mentioned in an earlier post).  I just want you all to know that it warms my heart to read all of the love that you all had for Stan.  I loved Stan like a brother.  We have been close friends since our early days of back yard tackle football back in high school.  He was my roommate for many years, and we were both in each others weddings.  I am now grief stricken, and still in denial a bit.  I am sick thinking about his poor family.  May all of our prayers help to ease their pain.  RIP Stan, you will be missed my many!

Hey Fat Jeff, I obviously remember you well ... I think I still have the welt on my noggin.

I enjoyed hanging out with you and Stan back in the day, and of the great stories about you too.

Maybe you can come by a tailgate sometime and share some Stan stories ... he'll never be forgotten!

Zombo (John)

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6 minutes ago, Zombo said:

Hey Fat Jeff, I obviously remember you well ... I think I still have the welt on my noggin.

I enjoyed hanging out with you and Stan back in the day, and of the great stories about you too.

Maybe you can come by a tailgate sometime and share some Stan stories ... he'll never be forgotten!

Zombo (John)

Feel free to contact me when you are coming to town.  I would really enjoy sharing some Stan stories.  

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19 hours ago, Zombo said:

So I guess it is time for me to share my Stan story…

October of 1997 … The Indians and Marlins are in the World Series, the Browns are in limbo and I am assembling a desk in my new condo as I await the delivery of my Gateway2000 … I’m going on the World Wide Web, Ladies and Gentleman!

It arrives, I take it out of the box, plug in the phone line, turn it on, slap in that free AOL disk and I’m ready to surf. Screen name? Hmmm. I’ll pick one for business, Meehan2000, and one for fun … It’s Halloween, so how about my favorite Munster’s character … Zombo2000 it is. (Kids, “2000” was very sheik in 1997.)

So I’m in … And the first two words I typed in to the Internet were “Cleveland Browns”, Well those “keywords” took you to a place called AOL Grandstand. A wonderful place with all of these colorful characters like “Ghoolie” and “Hoorta” and “Furnier” posting about my beloved Cleveland Browns.

 You have to remember, before the internet, many of us Browns fans were isolated. I spent my whole adult life Fall Sundays sitting by myself in the corner of a sports bar in New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, California or somewhere with the “bad TV” and no sound. So this was a spectacular discovery that I was not alone in my Browns obsession.

 So then there was this character, “Anteater” or some sort of Sheet. He seemed like the “know-it-all” of the group. Who was this guy, an ex-football coach or something? He had a method of letting somebody get carried away with themselves and talking out of their asses … and then he would dissect their posts line by line and make them look like an idiot. This guy was good.

 So after lurking for a couple weeks, I finally got up enough gumption to respond to one of his posts. It was a full year and a half before the “new” Browns first draft, but this Anteater guy was already trying to convince everybody that Ohio State LB Andy Katzenmoyer needed to be the Browns first pick. I made a reasonable reply that it was too early to choose, but that they should probably consider at QB with that pick, and I’m not sure how I worded it, but I will never forget his response: “That’s a real knee slapper, Zombo…” and it was on. I had my first internet battle. I famously called Katzenmoyer a “big dumb redneck” and we started debating and disagreeing on every subject … and we never stopped until last Saturday Night. In fact we were still arguing about the 1999 NFL draft the last time I saw him.

And when I say “argued”, I mean we almost always disagreed … but always made each other laugh.

After we both had that “Who’s this guy?” moment, the Atenears/Zombo show was on. We picked a side, dug in and destroyed everything in our path to make our point and took wild swings at each other’s loyal henchmen.

 I became the leader of “Camp Couch” while Stan became the voice of “The Dark Side”.

We argued for days about legendary Browns like Corey Bridges, Darren “Chia Pet” Chiaverini and Terry “1700” Kirby. The only thing we agreed on was that Scott Rehberg sucked.

The 1999 NFL draft was more analyzed on the AOL board than any Presidential Election anywhere. Was Chris “Rosey” Palmer going to select my boy Tim Couch or Skippy’s idea of drafting Ricky “small hands” Williams or doing the Ditka Trade for a bevy of picks … if you supported anybody else, like say Akili Smith  … you were gay.

 So when the dust had settled over the draft, and we looked over the scorched earth of the AOL Grandstand Board to see who was still standing … we realized we had a pretty good group. And we also realized that real football games were going to start and we should get together … as in meet as real people and not our screen name characters.

So, after the Hall of Fame game against Dallas (Couch looked great) our first preseason game was in Tampa, two hours from me. We knew this great Camp Couch Loyalist named “Flugels” who lived in the Tampa area, and I was only a couple hours away, so we convinced Stan he should come down to Tampa on “business”. So he set up a few sales call for his Penis Pump manufacturing business and made the trip and the first official Browns Board tailgate consisted of Me, Stan, Flugels, a crazy cat named “Vette” and some friend Flugels brought along who we called Booger … because he looked like the character from the Revenge of the Nerds movies ... in the parking lot of the Best Western walking distance from “The Big Sombrero” in Tampa.

That night was a whole story itself … If I see you at a tailgate next year ask me about the “Pizza Boy”, Vette’s arrest, the cops in the parking lot and the fight in the stands. What can I say … I may be one of the graybeards around here now, but when we started on AOL, I was 33 and Stan was 30 and we both acted like we were 20. Or 17. Some will say I still do.

 So then Stan got together with Ed and Don and started the tailgate in the Flats down by some bridge. It was awesome. We had our own AOL Private “Clubhouse” board now, thanks Furnier, away from the prying eyes of trolling Steeler and Ravens fans, and Stan and some blonde chick named “Boo” were the moderators after we chased off the rent-a-cop moderators they provided us. Poor Boo … We gave her so much Sheet.

But Stan and Boo were on TV for the first ever Cleveland Browns Home Game in 99 against the Steelers telling the newcasters about this crazy “internet group” from the “world wide web” that had never met on-line before that day. And Ed was grilling burgers for a whole lot more people than he ever imagined.

I made it up to that tailgate later that season and finally met the legendary “Roachmaster”, “Furnier”, “Hoorta”, and the larger than life “Gumbo Dog” … amongst many, many other great folks that I met that day and at future tailgates.

 I got Season Tickets in 2000 and always made it up to one or two tailgates a year and that is where my friendship with all these fine folks began … at the Browns Board Tailgate Stan started.

We may have found a permanent tailgate home in Cleveland (we thought), but we were still lost in the internet desert on-line, with Stan as our Moses trying to find us a place. The Clubhouse thing was dropped by AOL, we went back to the regular boards, but it was too trolly with Steeler and Ratbird heathen, we spent all of our time fighting with them and never got to discuss the important issues of the day like Wali Rainer’s bleeding forehead and Percy Ellsworth’s inability to cover anything.

We went to a CBS Sportsline forum that Stan secured for us … but it was too corporate … too many rules. Fatdad (Jim Deetz) started his own Cleveland website “The River Burns”, but God rest his soul, he wasn’t focused too much on the sports part of it and we knew we needed another place, a place devoted to Cleveland Browns Football … A Browns Board.

Stan and I were very tight friends at this point. He always invited me to stay at his house, offered to feed me, whatever I needed … but I was doing pretty well for myself so I’d usually get a hotel room for us to trash as we literally spent the entire tailgate weekends partying. He was with Kathy now … He was still with the “Toothless Hag” when I met him, and I was there for him through his divorce and then he met “Hag2” and they blended their two young families and added a fifth kid, Alexis … and Kathy put up with out shenanigans. Or, actually, she participated in most of them. The stories from this era are legendary, again, each should have it’s own thread: “The Bloody Turban”, the “Cab door”, Zombo Gets Arrested (OK, “detained”) Parts I, II, III and IV …

 About this time, Stan decided he was buying his own website dedicated to Browns fans. He wanted me to be an administrator and moderator while he did the backstage tech stuff. I had never moderated, didn’t want to moderate … I wanted to be the “Bad Guy” … but when Stan asked, you knew it was for the good of our little on-line family, so I accepted, and here I am today moderating 2,000 cool guys and Ghoolie.

 Marko and Hoorta were tabbed as moderators as well, and the First Lady of the Browns Board, KS “Kathy” Hutchins, affectionately known as “Mom”, kept us in line. And all was right with the world … Except the Browns still sucked.

My world changed in the Summer of 2007. That is when I found out that the woman that I had been married to for two and half years was actually a sick criminal strung out on prescription pain killers who had taken out second mortgages on all of my Florida properties, taken out countless credit lines under my name, stole $13,000 from my elderly mother and ran up $128,000 in credit cards in my name. In one year I went from thinking I was financially set to financial ruin. When I finally got away from this awful human to visit my family in Pennsylvania, I lost everything I owned in one day. She cleaned out our joint checking accounts, cleaned out our house, reported everything “stolen” and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it because I was married to it. All I had was the clothes on my back, my trusty beagle, my car and a friend's laptop. Thank God I had that laptop because the Brownsboard was my only place of peace.

 Then came the hordes of false accusations of unspeakable crimes, going after my family, my Mom, my disabled brother, my innocent 10 year old niece … No, I didn’t kill her … But I should have. She went to prison. I went to hell.

The only person I reached out to outside of the family was Stan. I met Stan and Ed and a few others in Youngstown for a high school football game, it was the first time I had gone anywhere socially since everything went down, and I was a wreck inside. Stan never judged, never waivered. He had my back. He invited me out to the Browns opener against the Steelers on his dime. That’s when I met Marko, the Soup Nazi, Jarrod, and a few others but most importantly, I had a good time … and forgot my troubles for a day or two. I don’t think I ever thanked Stan for that, we never got all gushy and talked about feelings and Sheet … but he knew I had his back and I knew he had mine.

 Eventually I got back in the game and the tailgates remained my one thing to look forward to every year no matter what. Marko, Mike from Atlanta, Howie and Gareth from the UK and Keith from Scotland joined our tightknit group with Stan and Ed and Don. There was Russ, and the other Russ, and Rich, and Gipper and the legendary Westside Steve. There are a ton of other folks that were huge parts of the Browns Board and the tailgates and if I started naming, names, that is a whole ‘nother thread too.

 Then there was the big Anderson/Quinn wars where Stan and I MAY have taken out some frustrations in our personal life on half the Browns Board. The Browns Board had become too much work. It was supposed to be fun. Stan grew tired of people complaining about the way THEY wanted the board run, and he reminded everyone that it was his board. He once told me “You know, I just started all this so everyone could have a place to come and you, me and Flugels could enjoy ourselves at night”. It became too much. We chased off about half our membership, but lost a lot of good posters and good people in the process, and Stan was hurt that some of his closest and favorite posters went to the new rival board.

 After that, I think Stan felt a little bit betrayed, and he became increasingly frustrated with how the Browns were run and he slowly relinquished control of the board to me and eventually pretty much stopped posting all together.

But he never closed the place down, he kept it going for his true friends. I know for a fact he has lost money on this site every year. And he grumbled about it. And he threatened to shut it down … but he never could. Because his friends were still there. And that will tell you everything you need to know about Stan.

Stan and Kathy were made for each other. Funniest couple you will ever meet. One night out on the town with them and you will end up crying your eyes out in laughter every time, guaranteed. Kathy was always a good friend to all of us “idiots”, and Stan and Kathy always rolled out the red carpet when the “wolfpack” came to town to drink themselves silly and watch Phil Dawson kick field goals.

Stan and I stayed in touch the past few years mainly through Facebook, texts and messages. Not like the AOL days where we were “Instant Messaging” each other every night laughing about the trouble we were stirring up on the Board, but enough to know we still had each other’s backs. I missed the tailgate weekend this year, and it bothers me more than you know.

I miss that big guy with the big laugh and the razor-sharp sense of humor. He was loyal, he was fair, and he was bigger than life. And I can’t wait to belly up to that bar in the afterlife (Yes, there’s a bar) and hear from across the room “Hey, Zippy, that’s a real knee slapper…”

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Zombo

 

The "real" story about the Cleveland Browns lies in the passion of the fans. Not some stupid NFL movie starring Kevin Costner and Arian Foster, not some Cleveland Browns documentary about a radio host talking about us losing over and over again.

It's a story about all of the fans from Cleveland, or who love Cleveland, the relationships, the love of partying and tailgating, and the damn passion we have about our football team to win. And it ends with us winning a superbowl someday.

Thanks for sharing your story Z, I've lost close friends but I like to think they've helped made me the man i am today. It looks like Stan helped you become a better man too, and that shows his character and how great of a friend he was.

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