I know as a Buffalo Sabres fan – I am cringing at the likelihood of another lockout by the National Hockey League. Hockey is my sport. Threatening to take away the one sport that I can watch, listen to, write about, and follow again is going to affect my fandom.
Am I going to continue to love the National Hockey League, the Buffalo Sabres, and the sport played on a beautiful sheet of frozen water? You bet your ass – if the NHL ever folds up its doors permanently, I will seek out the best possible way to follow a hockey team in another city (Rochester is not that far away, neither is Syracuse, Binghamton, Hamilton, Erie, where ever the puck drops, I will be there.
I would have to find another venue in which to continue one of my favorite chants at a sporting event, “Lets Go Buff-a-lo!”
I could never get on board with the Bills. Just never been a football fan. Oh sure, it was fun watching them win in the 1990s, but they never gave me a reason growing up to like them – I wasn’t a natural football fan – and they couldn’t bring me in. Oh sure, I’ll watch the games on television, but in all my life I have never been to Ralph Wilson Stadium for any sort of football – and I won’t go out of my way to watch the games on the internet, or lis .
Baseball, could however, be my replacement for the non existent Buffalo Sabres. I don’t watch it on television, I don’t follow the majors all that closely – that’s in part of not really having a great interest in the sport because we don’t have a major league presence in Buffalo. I love the Bisons, and the rumors floating around of an agreement on the horizon with the Toronto Blue Jays has everyone – including myself a little excited about future seasons of AAA baseball in Buffalo. Growing up I had several visits to Pilot Field, Dunn Tire Park, and now Coca-Cola Field (although my preference for Pepsi has to be put on hold when I’m at the ball park.) I could never get into it on a major level – I would follow the Bisons; I would hope they won; but the stats and complexity of baseball I will save for the rabid fans of the game. Seeing a double play happen is awesome in its own right, I am not one to care if its a 6-4-3 double play or not.
I was 28 before I learned the meaning of the “walk off home run”. I still scratch my head in wonder at why some pitchers have to swing the bat, and others only get to play defense. Lately its only been once a year that I make it down to the Swan Street Entrance, and this year it was Thursday August 23rd against the Scranton Yankees. I took my children to just their second professional baseball game. For the second year in a row, they had a blast, and a lot of it had nothing to do with what was going on just feet away on the grassy diamond.
I got to hang out with family and friends – just above is a picture of my two year old son and my mentor and Uncle Dom from last nights contest. It was a great night for a ball game (despite the Yankees winning). The Earl of Bud was present, the game went into extra innings. New friends were made – the women in front of us who shared their french fries, nachos, and got their fingers sticky with cotton candy with my bright eyed two year old, even as the extra innings continued and 11PM grew near. Sitting in my house tonight watching this, I can hear the distant rumble of the Friday Night Bash.
Seeing the Bisons this year rekindled my love and passion for America’s game – and if Gary Bettman and company can’t figure out the finer details in little over two weeks – they may end up replacing the Buffalo Sabres as my favorite team bearing the name of the city I have grown to love.