CLEVELAND, Ohio – While growing up in Clinton, approximately a 48-minute drive to Cleveland, Scott Swisher listened to the stories his late father told about the Browns.
“When I came along, I was born right at the tail end of all the great teams,” Swisher remembers. “So I ended up hearing from him the Otto Graham stories and different things. To hear him describe Jim Brown, it was like describing a Greek god. I can remember him telling me, ‘He didn’t wear hip pads, he wasn’t like these players today.’ So I had that pretty much instilled in me in a very young age.”
Swisher, 57, shared his father’s passion for the Browns, and carries life-long memories that would put a smile on any fan’s face.
An employee of Summit Racing Equipment, Swisher works in quality assurance. He and his wife, Sherry, live in Clinton and have a son who will be 19 in two weeks. Swisher takes pride in rooting for the Browns, the team he’s stuck with since childhood. He remembers going to training camp at Kent State during childhood summers with his dad.
“Generally I’d take a little notebook and I’d get autographs,” Swisher said. “I got autographs from Mike Phipps and Brian Sipe when he was still a backup. Walter Johnson.”
During one of those days, Swisher got to hold running back Larry Poole’s helmet while Poole signed autographs for kids.
“I’m standing there holding his helmet, and I look over at my Dad, I hold it up, I’m like ‘look!’” Swisher said with a chuckle.
When Swisher was old enough to drive, his dad bought him tickets from a co-worker who had two season tickets but didn’t go to all the games.
Swisher’s dad became partially paralyzed in 1968 from injuries originally suffered years earlier while playing football as a youth. It became increasingly difficult for him to get around, so he didn’t go to any more games. With the two tickets, Swisher and one of his friends usually went to two or three games a year.
“The other nice thing, too, was with the season tickets, everybody around you were the same people every year,” Swisher said. “And we had these two older ladies that would sit next to us, and she’d bring cookies and everything.”
Another memory Swisher cherishes revolves around a Christmas season when he wanted a small Sony Watchman miniature television, but his dad told him it would be a waste of money.
Swisher didn’t think he’d receive the gift, but on Dec. 25 he was met with a surprise.
“After everything’s opened, he says, ‘Here, you forgot one,’” Swisher said. “And he goes to throw it, my mom says ‘don’t throw it.’ So I went over and got it, and it was just a little black and white TV. Couple inches squared. He got it for me so I could take it to the games so I could watch replays. So that was kind of special.”
Despite the franchise’s lengthy stretch of tough years, Swisher never wavered. He wasn’t raised to be a frontrunner.
“I’m from here, this is my team, and this is what I watch,” Swisher said. “I don’t watch a lot of other games very often. When it comes to the Super Bowl, I’m pretty much indifferent because I really don’t care who wins if it’s not Cleveland. That’s the way my dad was. My loyalty goes to one team, and that’s who I chose, and that’s who I stick with through thick and thin.”