Lakewood Native Takes Browns Backers to South Pole

As many Lakewoodites know, it's not easy being a Cleveland Browns fan. The losing seasons, the bad draft choices, the seemingly endless string of losses to Pittsburgh can take its toll. However, despite all the failure, loyal Browns fans continue to stick by their team. Someday, somehow, someway, they live in the hope that the Browns will win the Super Bowl before they die.

Despite the obvious drawbacks, millions of people around the world choose to follow the team. The Browns have 287 Browns Backers fan clubs around the world. From Mansfield, Ohio, to Mali, Africa, Browns Backers clubs offer a chance for Browns fans to gather, mingle and commiserate.

However, it took a Lakewood woman to bring the Browns Backers to the most distant and least populated place on earth- Antarctica. Nicky Gerome, a 1999 graduate of Lakewood High School, started the Browns Backers of Antarctica in 2004 when she took a job at McMurdo Station, one of three stations on the Continent. While at LHS, Gerome competed in soccer, basketball and softball. As a senior she was captain of the girls' soccer and softball teams and voted Athlete of the Year. Her decision to start the club was inspired by her father, a longtime Browns fan and the athletic director at Lakewood High.

If you think its tough being a Browns fan in Lakewood, try being a Browns fan in Antarctica. Although it varies throughout the year, the population typically ranges between 900 and 1000 people at Curd throughout the year. Since it is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed. Therefore, it is currently summer, and the temperatures have climbed as high as the mid 20s. In addition, the sun is up 24 hours a day. However, during the winter, temperatures will fall to 100¬° below (with wind chill) and it will remain dark all day. There is an 18-hour time difference, so a 1 p.m. Sunday game is actually on 7 a.m. Monday morning.
Despite the hardships, the club has grown. In 2004 there were only five members. But in 2005 the group grew to 12. All the Backers either grew up or lived in Cleveland for a while, and many still have parents in Northeast Ohio.

The group gathers to watch the games (or, in some cases, tapes of the game since many are not televised live). They wear their Browns winter gear outside and their t-shirts indoors, and swap stories and memories of the Browns, trips to the old stadium, favorite players and memories.

As with most Browns Backers clubs around the world, the club is about more than just football. Members get together and reminisce about Cleveland, family, and home. Like Browns fans everywhere else, they will spend the next couple of months pondering the best potential draft pick for the team, and of course looking forward to next year.
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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 08.42 AM / 11th January 2006.