It’s been a long, cold winter. The Bills and Sabres haven’t been giving fans much of a reason to feel flushed with excitement.
Things are… stale.
Still, the fans are crazy about their teams here, and I guess I am too. I can’t help it. I was born into this mess. Buffalo, ’74.
Some of you might know me or my scribblins’ from Buffalo Rising, ProSportsDaily.com, Suite101.com, or even the Hamburg Sun. But trust me, I am not starting this blog in order to network.
Like I said, things are… stale.
It’s been a difficult sporting season here in Buffalo. Meanwhile, yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of “Wide Right.”
Twenty years? Goodness. I don’t remember much about Superbowl XXV. I remember that final play. I was with my girlfriend, at a party. When the kick went up, everything stopped. Everyone quit breathing. The earth’s rotation slowed down. Then, that damned ball went wide, and the silence turned into a collective wheezing from everyone around me. All that tightly held air pouring out from all those suddenly weak, rattling lungs. I’ll never forget that sound, that feeling.
I was lucky enough to have to work during the next three Superbowls. It was tough not being able to watch those games, but as the Bills imploded, it was cathartic at least to have foodfights in the kitchen of McDonald’s.
In 1999, I was living in Australia when “no goal” happened. I was glued to a prehistoric internet broadcast of the game on my 56k modem, and watching a Sabres chatroom on AOL. I was getting the play-by-play five minutes late, so when everyone in the chat room suddenly switched to all caps, I knew it was over. Back then, most of my friends and family didn’t have the internet or email yet, and phone calls cost more than sixty Aussie bucks. So I turned off the computer, and went crazy by myself.
I was lucky enough to be visiting Buffalo in 2000, and was at a family gathering during the Music City Miracle. There was some real violent rhetoric after that play. Debate around the Bills has cooled down quite a bit within the family since then.
Like I said, things now are just stale.
In ’05-’06, I was in Jacksonville, FL, sitting in a BW3’s and watching the Sabres during what all Sabres fans seemed to agree was The Year. Oopsy.
In ’06-’07, I was planted in the same bar. The air smelled of Yuengling, and the mob of Sabres fans was loud. Before one game, the bartender got on the PA to ask everyone if he should put the sound on for the Sabres game, or some basketball game. I leapt up on top of my table, and yelled, “I’m full of Genny Cream, and ready to rumble!” Thunderous applause. Any ball fans in attendance simply turned their eyes down. It was our house. What a buzz (that playoff year, not the pre-game Genny or bartime Yuengling). Of course, that buzz didn’t last.
Finally, I am back in Buffalo, and I am tired of waiting for the Bills or the Sabres to turn it back on. I guess that is what finally brings me here, and to all of you.
Buffalo. Australia. Florida. It’s been a lifetime of excitement, disappointment, and indefatigable hope. I am not willing to let that hope burn out, or even burn less, due to the current state of our teams.
Heck no: instead, I am going to try my best to light a big ol’ bon-fire under this stale scene. I want this town to burn for victory, and I want its heart to feel that acidic burn again, when the Bills or Sabres lose.
If not for all of you, then at least for my own self.
After all folks, it’s been a long long time since I was born and invested into this crazy mess.