I actually have a chance to post about something... I'm at work, on the clock, on my MacBook. I'm doing what we call a One-on-One with a lady, but she's napping at the moment, so I'm taking my chance.
Amidst all the searching for positive Sabres news this morning, and the depressing news I found instead during that search (*cough, cough* Paul Gaustad), I did however, find a piece that made me all warm-and-fuzzy feeling.
While scouring the blogs and columns at THN, I found this one by Ryan Kennedy: The Straight Edge: Hockey More Than a Pasttime For Fans in Some Struggling Cities.
I don't get super offended when I hear players from different teams trashing Buffalo (i.e. Ray Emery) or expect much different from players who just got moved here (i.e. Craig Rivet), because what do they see when they come here? (Actually, who am I kidding? Of course I get offended, but if you redeem yourself, like Rivet has, then I can be very forgiving.) They take the 33 from the airport through probably one of Buffalo's worst areas, and see the dirty buildings downtown in the industrial area, and the run-down-ness of it Buffalo, in all of it's supposed un-glory. And what do they ever hear about Buffalo? That the economy sucks, and that there's crime, and the only weather we have involves seven feet of snow.
Well you know what? Don't trash it 'til you've lived it. I love Buffalo. There, I said it, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Honestly, I can't imagine living anywhere else... Except for maybe Boston. I love it there, too, but that's besides the point.
And you know what else? Every single guy who has played here has loved it here, except for maybe Slava Kozlov and Miro Satan, but who cares about them? Not this girl.
Anyways, I just really appreciated this article because it truly does say something about a team when they get over 10,000 people standing outside the arena to watch a playoff game, and every single bar or restaurant that has a TV is packed. And don't forget the house parties that get well over 5,000 people, and sometimes reaching 10,000 to watch away games, or the Party in the Plaza they threw in the middle of winter now two seasons ago, which I think 4,000 freezing fans attended.
This city has spirit. It may not show in the economy, and it may not show in the scenery on the 33, but take a look at the people who live here. I cannot go one day without seeing someone wearing a Bills or Sabres shirt, and I cannot even begin to count how many cars have either teams decal, sticker, magnet, flag, or whatever on it. (My car's blue, and I've got the decal, the license plate frame, and blue, gold, and silver Mardi Gras beads hanging from my mirror. Check that shit.)
It's pretty amazing that, even realizing how difficult life can be here, it's pretty special that we've got such a great group of guys playing their hearts out, FOR US. I mean, come on, Brian Effing Campbell was in tears because he didn't want to leave. Jay McKee, Marty Biron, and countless others still live here. Scotty Bowman (who works for the Red Wings) and Ron McLean (of Hockey Night In Canada) both live in the area, so it can't be THAT bad. The Sabres come out, night after night, and perform for us, to give us something to distract ourselves from our mundane lives, to give us something to believe in, and something to hope for.
And I think it speaks volumes when Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy, Paul Gaustad, Teppo Numminen, Daniel Paille, Thomas Vanek (by default), Jochen Hecht, and the like sign for many years to stay in this area, to play for us. And they, and those who've left, consistently say that the best fans can be found in this city.
You don't get teams or fans like this anywhere else. I'd bet my life on it. And I'd win.