Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Buffalo Bills are Amazing... for all the wrong reasons

I wore Zubaz.
I'm guessing if you grew up in Western New York, at some point you did too.
And we all looked equally as triumphant in them as Shane Conlan.

I didn't even like football that much until I was in college and didn't like getting made fun of anymore (Because I totally liked it when you guys made fun of me in high school... dicks).

But I wore the Zubaz, I know the chants. I know the songs. I know the history and I know who I'm supposed to hate, when I'm supposed to hate them, when I'm supposed to stop hating them because they were picked up by the Bills (TO), when I was allowed to hate TO again (thanks VH1) and why I should be ashamed of not being able to grow a beard.

I lived in Boston for over five years and the handful of Bills/Patriots, Sabres/Bruins games I went to had almost as many Buffalo fans as they did hometown fans. In almost every scenario, the Buffalo fans were way louder and if you heard "Aye aye aye aye" sung melodically from 50 yards away, you didn't think, you didn't look around, your body instinctively replied with the appropriate Buffalo based response.

Sports in the greater Buffalo area including the Bills, Sabres, Bonnies and probably the Bison's (shit I have no idea if they Bisons are good) and whatever professional soccer/lacrosse/badminton team has taken it's roots around here are inherently depressing.

Look at that, we're 5-1!
Oh my God we have the best goalie in the league!
Wow, Pelletier just broke the world shuttlecock record for speed serving!
F-Balls the Bisons played sports good!

It looks so good and the scent of victory, pride, unity, and hope is floating in the air, blocking out the sun like some sort of glorious red and white striped smog. Buffalo fans are the most passionate fans I've ever encountered (without the majority of them being assholes, ie. New England Sports fans are almost always passionate and absolutely always assholes about it. And no Evans, waving a terrible towel and blindly following a half-witted date rapist doesn't make Steeler's fans passionate. See also Philadelphia fans. I don't give a shit about you either Green Bay). We stand behind our teams and stand united as fans despite the fact that deep down inside we all know it's going to go badly sooner than later.

Most of us aren't even surprised when it does. We knew it was coming... somehow we always assumed we deserved it.

So why, when all hope seems to be lost and nobody is surprised, do I still say the Buffalo Bills are awesome?

Look at us. My group of friends still gets together every Sunday to watch the game. We still shoot lasers out of our fingers when the Bills score. We are still taking a party bus to the game this Sunday, which will almost definitely be freezing cold and doesn't make any difference on their season. We still think they're going to win Sunday too.  I still start Ryan Fitzpatrick on my fantasy team because I feel guilty taking him out. We still dissect the games afterwards for what looks good next season and for what the Bills could do this season if they would just listen to us!

If you're not a Bills fan, you might be saying to yourself. You know what, that's every group of sports fans in the whole world, to which I will reply, shut your stupid mouth and listen.

Yes, sports brings people together. Half of the people I watch football with every Sunday aren't even Bills fans. Wanting to drink and hang out with friends also brings people together, that's just an obvious one. Not wanting to think about work the next day... another good reason.

But what has every suspense/apocolyptic/tragic/disaster/teen coming of age movie taught us since Stand by me (besides not to jump into bogs in the middle of the woods... poor little Wesley Crusher)...

It has taught us that nothing brings people together like shared tragedy. What greater, mostly non-lethal, tragedy has ever outshined the Buffalo Bills as a representative for all of the fans of Buffalo sports.

We made it to the Super Bowl... we lost.
We're back!... we lost.
Third time's a charm!... we lost
We're here but we're probably going to lose... yup, we did.

The Buffalo Bills are amazing and being a Bills fan is awesome because whether you're a die hard sports fan, a casual fan, or just grew up around here and know too much about a sport you don't care anything about, you are connected and bound to a group of people who understands you and your pain.

We all know what wide right means. We all know what 4 feet of snow looks like. We all kn ow what chicken wings are supposed to taste like, and even if Brian Blask used to hit me every time I called it pop and now I call it soda, we all know what pop is. We're united as fans and we're united through the tragedy of growing up with parents who listened to Shane Conlan and dressed us in Zubaz.

Even if you weren't born and raised here. If you're an implant, maybe from Minnesota or Jersey, you have been to games, you know the stories, and you're cheering just as loud as the rest of us.

Are you even a Vikings fan Pearson?
Hoffy and Dwyer, Jersey sucks. (sorry Bruce)

Our stadium sucks. Our teams let us down. We can't feel our fingers half the time. We all gain 8-15 pounds every winter. We have closer and more dedicated friendships than any regionally related connection in the continental WORLD (scientifically proven, but I can't give you my source because Google is broken and Bing gets all its search results from Google... seriously? No one uses Yahoo anymore).

No one circles the wagons... like people who know the inherent pain and tragedy of the Buffalo Bills... including almost all of my best friends and family whom I love.


I still haven't read shit.

I have been watching what I eat, but not that closely and I'm getting barbecue tonight and it's going to be awesome.

I still miss kickball.

I'm a good bartender, and substitute bartending at Marshall Street Bar and Grill has been awesome (come see me this Saturday 5-close).

Bottling bear is actually really fun, once you get past the monotony of cleaning and drying 48 bottles.
In 2-3 weeks my first batch of beer will be done and since he helped me so much, I'm naming it after my buddy Brian. Let me know if you want to reserve a bottle of Brian's Irish Curse - Irish Stout.

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