Les Misera-Bills: I dream a dream
With the Super Bowl a few days away, I can't help but think of my Buffalo Bills and whether I will ever get to see them hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Yes, I know the words "Buffalo Bills" and "Super Bowl" have no business being in the same sentence - unless that sentence is the punch line of a joke - but a man can dream, can't he?
If you ask any Buffalonian what the city of Buffalo is known for, chances are you'll get one of three answers: snow, chicken wings or, of course, losing four straight Super Bowls.
You would think this "feat" would bring more embarrassment than honor to our city, but it's actually the opposite. Only in Buffalo can losing be glorified to the point where it defines a city. And to be perfectly honest, I am OK with that.
Being a Bills fan is not easy. It takes years to master that perfect balance between hopeless misery and delusional optimism - a balance this city knows all too well.
I was born on Jan. 3, 1991. So I was alive for each game of the painful streak but had the privilege of not suffering through it. I can't imagine watching those four games - three of which were blowouts - and continuing to be a diehard fan this city has come to be known for. But I guess that's just a testament to what Buffalo has grown to be.
They say: "good things come to those who wait." Too bad they never said how long.
I have never had a reason to love this team. Just to put it into perspective, the last time the Bills made the playoffs, Survivor wasn't even a show yet. The last time they won a playoff game, the first Harry Potter book hadn't even come out. Neither had PokÃ©mon. They have had only one season above .500 since their last playoff appearance in 2000.
Why do I keep pledging my undying love for this team?
It comes down to passion and loyalty - something a lot of cities with more reason to celebrate than we do lack.
Bills fans who witnessed the streak will tell you those years should still be considered a success, even if they didn't result in a Lombardi Trophy. Even Marv Levy, the former coach of the Buffalo Bills, said: "If what they did wasn't extraordinary, how come no one else has done it ... There's one way to assure you'll never lose a Super Bowl. Don't go."
We have a surprising appreciation for our football team. That coupled with our "glass-half-full" philosophy makes up the conundrum that is being a Bills fan.
In the midst of the storm, we always focus on those brief periods of calm. It's easy to look back at failure, but Bills fans are always quick to point out The Comeback or how Don Beebe never quit.
If we never embraced those painful years, we would have no reason to be the great fans the Bills perennially have. Losing created that strong bond every Bills fan can relate to, no matter his or her age.
Just like the Boston Red Sox's World Series win in 2004 was only made sweeter because of Bill Buckner, when the Buffalo Bills finally win that Super Bowl generations have been lusting after for years, it will be even sweeter for fans because of their loyalty, faith and especially the four-consecutive losses.
Whether the Ravens or the 49ers are celebrating another Super Bowl victory this Sunday, I'll be thinking about my Buffalo Bills and that one day they will be able to say they are going to Disney World.
Our undying love for the Bills is unparalleled by any football team this side of the Atlantic. We've never won the Super Bowl, but every year we enter the season saying "This is our year." But unlike other cities, we actually Billieve it.
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