**This post originally appeared on December 11, 2015 when it seemed as though things could not get worse for my beloved Browns. But they did. As the Super Bowl approaches, it’s time to bring it back. This is an optional assignment. Students who do it can use it to replace a missed assignment later in the year. They can choose any team.**
I love football.
Unfortunately, I’m from Cleveland. And what is a fun hobby for many is a factory of sadness for me.
To escape from the sadness, I dove into literature. And here’s what I came up with.
A Creative Writing Assignment Using Fictional Characters to Solve the World’s Problems
Step 1: Choose a problem that needs solved but doesn’t appear to be solvable. It can be a classroom problem, a school problem, a community problem, a national problem, or even a global problem.
Step 2: Choose 5 characters (or however many characters you see fit) from literature you’ve read and put them to work solving the problem.
Step 3: Write 3-5 sentences (or more) on how this character could help solve the problem. Make sure to cite specific incidents from the literature to show the character’s ability to solve the problem.
This actually covers common core standards.
RL.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
RL.9-10.3. Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Common Core Writing Standard 1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Common Core Writing Standard 3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
How to Save the Cleveland Browns
GM and Coach: Ender Wiggin from Ender’s Game. Saving the Browns starts at the top. It’s time to hire a general manager and coach. Ender Wiggin can handle both responsibilities. Ender Wiggin became the youngest commander ever at battle school, took an untrained, unskilled army and went undefeated. The Browns have an untrained and unskilled football team that could use a superior commander. For those worried about whether or not the players would respect a prepubescent coach, just ask the older kid with the bruised testicle who decided to mess with Wiggin in Null Room G.
Owner: Tom Walker from “The Devil and Tom Walker.” It’s apparent that many successful sports franchises have made deals with the devil–the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Lakers, for example. That’s exactly the deal the Browns need to make to at least reach 8-8. Tom Walker’s past dealings with scratch should give him a leg up on the competition–although Jerry Jones might have Lucifer locked down for the next decade.
Quarterback: Sanger Rainsford from “The Most Dangerous Game.” Sanger Rainsford has been known to shoot a moose from 50 meters out, at night, in a blizzard, while running uphill, both ways, which is exactly what it’s like playing quarterback for the Browns. In addition to his sharpshooter aim, Rainsford won’t lose his head when things start breaking down–like the Browns offensive line, for example. And let’s not forget that his feeding of Zaroff to his own hunting dogs makes great symbolism for Rainsford metaphorically feeding the Steelers’ defensive secondary to the Dawg Pound!
Wide Receiver: Peyton Farquhar from “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” The Browns haven’t had a wide receiver with the escapability of Peyton Farquhar since the days of Paul Warfield. Dude escaped from a noose while getting hanged from a bridge, followed by dodging Union gunfire while swimming in a river. Granted, this all occurred in his mind, but it’s still far more impressive than anything Dwayne Bowe’s done this year.
Running Back: Thomas from The Maze Runner. This is a no-brainer. Thomas is able to cover an entire maze between sun up and sun down. His sense of direction is amazing. Some question his toughness. Some are stupid. Dude defeated one of those monster things that hangs out in the maze, and in the Scorch Trials he ran across the entire desert, dodging thousands of crazed enemies, which is thousands more than Isaiah Crowell has dodged the entire season. Throw in the fact that Thomas has no memories, making the Browns’ dreadful past unaffecting, and we have our best running back since Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack.
Offensive Lineman: Lennie Smalls from Of Mice and Men. Despite the stereotype, offensive linemen are usually among the smartest players on the field, so you would have to surround Lennie with intelligent lineman, but if you have Lennie anchoring your line, you could suit up Bill Gates and other nerdish smart people and it won’t matter. Just tell Lennie that as soon as the play starts, the guys on the other team are trying to hurt George. He’d get a lot of penalties and thrown out of a few games for breaking defenders’ hands and necks, but the defense would be so intimidated that even Bernie Kosar could evade a pass rush.
Defense: The townspeople from “The Lottery.” Of course, we’re gonna need a defense to anchor our above average Browns’ dream team and nobody defends better than the townspeople from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” They’ve successfully defended a barbaric tradition with no logical justification for centuries. You want a defense that swarms? These folks waste no time swarming all over Tessie Hutchinson with a shower of rocks. In addition, if these people can find all these rocks, just imagine how quickly they’ll get to the ball.
The Ultimate Fan: Walter Mitty from “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Walter Mitty has taught us all that when misery, frustration, and hopelessness are present, just dream your way out of it. So Browns’ fans, I’m looking forward to seeing you as the Browns take home the 2016 Super Bowl trophy!