Buffalo Sabres Lose To Buffalo Bills
The statement above is strikingly odd, as not many teams lose to the Buffalo Bills, at least not in the past 13 seasons. The Bills are definitely a tough team to root for. Luckily, I am old enough to remember the glory years when the team went to, and lost, 4 straight Super Bowls. Darryl Talley, Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett, Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed…WOW…such great teams!
Prior to this season, I did not consider myself an avid NFL fan. The NFL just cannot compete with the intensity, skill, and speed of the NHL, in my opinion. The overwhelming amount of advertising and constant commercials tend to bog down my NFL game-watching experience. So, before this season, I would usually only watch Bills games. I was too enthralled with hockey to get any deeper. I was busy watching 5 to 6 NHL games a week, including every Sabres game.
Unfortunately, the NHL and my beloved Sabres are slowly and successfully losing me to the Bills and the NFL. Now, I find myself watching 5 football games a week. I have gotten hooked to fantasy football. As bad as the Bills are, they have my attention.
I am learning how a bad coach tries to run out a clock with 1:06 left to go until halftime, but only kills 8 seconds and gives the ball back to a good coach who puts forth an effort to get those last minute points. I am learning how a bad coach kills his teams momentum by giving the ball back while at midfield with 3:30 to go in the game and down a touchdown; how a bad coach trusted his lowly ranked defense to try and win the ball back, even though the team already had the ball and a chance. I digress…
It is odd how the lockout is affecting my life. In my spare time, I would be checking out hockey scores, watching highlights, reading hockey news. With no NHL, I spend my spare time watching football highlights, reading analysis, and staying on top of my 2nd place fake football team. Instead of shopping for Sabres merchandise, I am shopping around for Bills items. Gone are the trips to First Niagara Center for games and going to Buffalo restaurants prior to the game. Now, I am checking out new restaurants in Rochester. Gone is the ridiculous parking prices for games. Instead, my spoiled pets are getting extra toys and treats.
The most painful realization, is that I am not even following the status of the lockout at this point. For the first few weeks, I was gullible and would check every day to see if there was any progress. In no way did I think the owners and players would allow it to become this bad. I figured that they had learned enough from the last lockout, which was not that long ago. Now, I just feel insulted at this point. I feel as if my time and money means nothing to the owners and players. Not just now, but the 95% of my life that I have spent following every single Sabres player and prospect. You don’t realize how much emotion you have invested into a team until you watch a “classic game” and still get angry and excited while watching the game, despite knowing the outcome.
I may miss the NHL, but the NHL does not seem to miss me. Absense may make the heart grow fonder, but that constrasts with the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” Good thing I have the Amerks in my town to keep hockey on my mind.
If an avid hockey fan such as myself feels this way, I wonder how casual fans and growing fans must feel?