It always goes as clock work. Whether it’s work, play, or waiting in line for a Beer. Girl or Boy. It is usually the 4th or 5th question in. “Where are you from?” As I sit there and before I say Buffalo, my brain goes into this mode of “oh, here we go.” Once I say Buffalo, either two sentences come out of it. “OMG don’t you guys get 100 feet of snow” or “Man, I’m sorry about Scott Norwood.”
I don’t know what annoys me more. My response to the snow question is, “Hey its almost as cold in NYC as it is in Buffalo and whenever it snows we have as many plows as you guys have cabs to scoop it up.” Not to mention when it snows 6 inches in NYC the city goes into a panic. The Norwood thing gets old. Living back home I never had to hear the Norwood thing whenever I met anyone on the streets. Heck, I had a interview for a job where the guy started making fun of me because of the Norwood situation. Lets just say my interview went down hill after that. Whenever I get the old Norwood taunt, I tell them how the Bills had a superbowl rally in the square after the SB and the fans cheered for Scott Norwood and gave him the biggest ovation when he took the podium. Mark my words, as big of a goat as he was that sort of love will never happen again. Just ask Bill Buckner.
The more I’ve been in NYC the more I realize that the city has some Buffalo Roots when it comes to their teams. They are passionate die hard fans who all know how to drink. They cheer when the team wins and boo when the team sucks it up. Whenever a player craps all of their city the fans get in a uproar about it. The big difference though is that once the team stinks in NYC the fans don’t go to the games anymore. The NYC Media ignores them and just concentrate on what teams are playing the best. Why is it that Buffalo Fans are so loyal when it comes to going to a see 2 sports teams that have only made the playoffs twice this decade?
I think its a combination of a couple of things.
Sports Teams=Big Time
Buffalo sports teams represent the city’s big ticket to America. It’s like living in a small town that no one has heard of and Bruce Springsteen comes to town. The sports team represents the big time. Everyone who lives outside of Buffalo will always say, “how’s the weather and do you like The Bills or Sabres?” That said, people want to be as close to the big time as possible. They love being able to turn it on ESPN to see cameras waiting for T.O. to arrive at the airport. Any Buffalo fan would tell you that one of the things they would do if they won a title would be to call anyone who doesn’t root for Buffalo and say, “hey now people will know who we are!”
Drinking is fun
Buffalo is known to be a “drinking town with a sports problem” and where else can you do your two favorite things then at HSBC And The Ralph. Buffalonians look for any excuse there is to have a drink, trust me on that one! The night out with coworkers in NYC usually starts at 7 and ends at 9. In Buffalo 7pm represents going home and trying to lose the buzz you got from drinking since 3pm only to go back out again at 11pm. Hate to make my city sound like a bunch of lushes but if they didn’t allow drinking at the arenas there would be a riot. NYC Crowds at games is like walking down Wall Street. The NYC Teams have pretty much out priced the common man to go to games, drinking is frowned upon and talking corporate mergers is the norm.
Look, I love talking about the old 90’s teams and how all those players made me proud to be a sports fan. But enough is enough. My biggest problem with some Buffalo fans is that they don’t let the past die. If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone mention “Jim Kelly should buy the Bills,” I’d be able to have cooler site graphics. Fans want to hold onto that memory way to much. It goes the same with the Sabres, “OMG they changed the uniforms! I remember the Aud and batman.” Save it! I think some fan’s memories play tricks on what the upcoming season may bring to them and think they are walking into seeing the reincarnation of those great teams. Plain and simple, if the Bills didn’t have their day in the sun in the 90’s that stadium would be empty.
Small Market Panic
What is every single Buffalo Fan’s worse nightmare? The Toronto or LA Bills. Since Mr. Wilson has made it known that it is very hard to survive in a market like Buffalo, where people and companies are moving out by the 1000’s a year. Fans feel that they have to buy the product in order to support it. That notion is as false as Ed Kilgore’s hair. That is something that I will get into on another date..no not Ed’s hair.
Make sure you tip your waitress!