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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Buffalo is Best

Matthew Parrino

We never win. I mean, just take a look at the history.

In the history of Buffalo sports, there has been blunder after blunder. "Wide Right," "No Goal," "The Music City Miracle." You name the type of heartbreak, and Buffalo fans have more than likely experienced it.

So, from an outsider's perspective, who in his right mind would want to subject themselves to this torment, and furthermore, who would want to have to hear the abuse from every other fan base in the country?

I do.

And I am not alone. Thousands of people who live in Buffalo stick with our teams through every circumstance.

It's been 11 seasons since the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs and this season has been arguably the worst yet. Yet we still care and we still go to games because that is what fans do.

Fans stick with their team in the worst of times because it's about more than winning and losing. The team is an extension of you. I mean, you don't wake up in the morning and say, "Hey, you know what, my youngest son has really been struggling the past few years. I'm going to go get another one."

This analogy may be a bit odd because, let's face it, you're sort of stuck with your family to a certain extent. It's more about the meaning.

For most Buffalo sports fans, you're born into it. My father is a die-hard Bills fan as was his father and it has just filtered down to me automatically.

We all form a brotherhood and that's part of the greatness as well. When you're sitting at the Ralph or in HSBC Arena, the person sitting next to you has been through the same struggle.

It's almost like an unspoken kinship that goes back to that fateful day on Jan. 27, 1991.

The game was all but won. The only thing left to do was to convert on a 47-yard field goal to change the course of Buffalo sports forever.

As everyone knows, Scott Norwood missed and in so doing changed our culture. Now this isn't the only thing that has happened but it all traces back to that.

That is the exact moment I attribute Buffalo fans' passion to. We were on the brink of a Super Bowl victory and it was snatched out of our hands.

Since then, we've lost three more Super Bowls in three consecutive years. The Sabres made it to the Stanley Cup only to experience the biggest controversy of the decade in the NHL, when Brett Hull's foot was in the crease.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that we all did these things together. It unites us and makes us yearn for the pinnacle even more.

If you polled 100 Bills fans and asked them what they'd rather have, a Christmas bonus at work or a Bills Super Bowl, I think you'd be shocked at what the results would reveal.

Being a Buffalo sports fan is more than winning games and achieving the highest honors (don't get me wrong, we want that, too). It's about the journey and being that extra force for our team that could be the difference between a win and a loss.

We are the 12th man for a reason and there is a lot of pride that comes with that.

So I apologize to all the outsiders; you'll never get it. You can argue until you're blue in the face about how we are wasting our time and that winning big will never happen. You can't experience what we do because this club is invite only.

Even facing a potential last place finish this season, we'll still be front and center for the opener next year. Because that's what it's about.

That's what makes it great.

E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com


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