Bye-Week Bills Fan

For three hours today, I was a Bills fan. Well, not really. But I was among Bills fans for three hours and their unconditional (can’t stress that enough) love for their team was infectious.

My friend from Buffalo has been trying to get me to join him at “The Bills Bar,” as he calls it, for some time. Obviously, I’ve always had priorities on Sundays. But with the bye this week, I decided to take him up on the offer.

“The Bills Bar” was actually just the Bleacher Bar, which is literally inside Fenway Park. It’s one of the coolest bars in the city because it sits behind one of those garage doors that you see on the centerfield wall. And they keep the door open, so you’re looking out onto the field while you’re in there. Anyway, the owner is from Buffalo, so every Sunday, he hosts all the Bills fans in the city.

Normally I would be more ashamed about supporting a division rival, but c’mon, it’s the Bills. They’re so harmless. And since we’ve had it so good for the past decade, I wanted to gain a little perspective by – just for one day – rooting for a laughably terrible franchise. Here are my findings…

-They had an all-you-can-eat deal going, which sounded like a good idea. Until I found out what I would be eating. They call them “Garbage Plates,” which is apparently a traditional Buffalo dish. Between the name and…well just because of the name I didn’t go for the deal.

-Whenever the Bills scored a touchdown, they played “The Bills Shout” song. It’s just the “Shout” song, but instead of “You know you make me wanna…”, they say “The Bills make me wanna…”. And instead of “Whoa-oh-oh-oh..”, it’s “Let’s go Buffalo…”. The crowd loved this.

-A summary of the jerseys I saw: Steve Tasker; Andre Reed; Jim Kelly; a few Marshawn Lynch jerseys (he was just traded), including one that said “Beast Mode” on the back; and way too many T.O. jerseys.

-At halftime, they did a Bills/upstate New York trivia contest. I was horrible at it. On the trivia sheet, they had a drawing of the state of New York with a line separating the “Good” and “Evil” sections. Upstate was the Good. Although the trivia host clarified later that Albany counts as part of the Evil side. Sorry, Joe.

-When the winner of the trivia contest was announced, the host gave a toast: “To the city that raised us, the team that disappoints us, and the bar that hosts us.”

-The game was horrible, from a Bills perspective. They were dominating in the first half, but then everything fell apart in the second. Their defense couldn’t stop anything (and David Garrard is low on the “anything” spectrum) and the offense committed horrendous penalty after horrendous penalty. After the loss, the mood wasn’t very depressing, which was depressing in itself. They just expect to lose, even at home to the Jaguars. I overheard someone say, “Darn, I was really hoping for a win today.” He didn’t seem too upset, just thought it would be nice if they could’ve won. They then started debating which college quarterback they should draft next year.

-What I loved the most about it all was that there was nothing artificial about their fandom. Everyone there was really nice and just very grateful that everyone was able to get together every week. My friend, very genuinely, told me later that if he were to meet a cute girl there, she could definitely be the one he marries because she would’ve already passed the test of being a Bills fan. Which I thought was like meeting a girl at church – she would have already passed the test of being Catholic.

Now that is faith. Especially when the team you worship is 0-5 and has never won a Super Bowl.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Bye-Week Bills Fan

  1. Die Hard Pats Fan

    If only life were as simple for us as it clearly is for the upstaters. The only thing I envy the Buffalo fans for is their clever lyrical genius.

  2. joe ryan

    go bills, i remember back in diggity two, really it was 65-66-67 when my dad and i
    had season tickets at the real rock pile, masten ave and the fruit belt, lemon st etc.
    the ramps to walk up to the splintered seats, the huge rock walls and the whole
    dark, damp thing. thats how football was back then dark and damp, no heated seats, no
    such thing as in the grasp just good old fashion football.

    my favorite was a guy named george saimes #26, a steve tasker kinda guy, smaller, tough
    and could knock the hell right outta ya. it was #26 that drove my love to play buffalo bills little league, high school, and a season or two with our ub bulls.

    football is about loosing and coming back for more, kinda like life. i think it was the loss to kc chiefs that kept us outta the 67 ” big show”, we wouldda that one ! bills fans are happy to keep the bills in the b-low, we in buffalo have been called lots of things but rarely genius.

    so thanks for the kind words and sharing our grief, but to us its the path we enjoy.
    we have weathered… the weather, the sad story of juice, all the super bowl losses, and the
    threat of the loss of our bills… gosh please not the toronto bills, or the walt disney bills.
    well one thing this season – it can only get better… right ?

    perhaps we should change our credo “the bills make me wanna pout”- hows that for lyrical genius. go bills.

    joe from buffalo

  3. John Ryan

    Glad you had a good time, mcmanupe. Die hard Sox and Pats fans get it. Its more than just sport, its life. You never give up on your team. We’ll have our day, someday.

    PS – Garbage Plate is a Rochester NY Tradition.

    Great post!

    Go Bills.

  4. Garbage plate = (Nick Tahou – the man, the myth, the legend!) = that’s Rochester! Let’s not confuse it with…
    Buffalo wing = (mythical creature that looked like a buffalo, eat other buffalo, and flew mostly in what is today know as Buffalo… and legend has it that if you see it flying around Buffalo, the Bills will (probably) win the Superbowl) = that’s Buffalo!

    The thing that just kills me is how filled with hope (pathetic) all the Bills fans are (including myself). Favorite saying in Western, NY… “well, there is always next year!” But you don’t typically hear it until late Novemeber… but mid October??? Oh my… someone please find the flying Buffalo wing!

    GO BILLS!!!

  5. Mark Korber

    Nice piece.

    I live in New England, like the Sox; grew up in Buffalo, love the Bills.

    I was at the game. I think the fans at the stadium felt what the fans at the Bleacher Bar felt: Let’s watch a game, root for our team, and it would be nice if they win.

    You know what? That’s what being a fan is about. We’re all caught up in winning; we’re desperate to win. Jets fans have been absolutely aching for their team to win for years. Patriots fan have had an incredible decade+ of winning.

    I’ve discovered in the last couple of weeks is that it ISN’T about winning. I just love my team; they’re my guys, win or lose. When you watch without expectations, and your team loses, there’s no disappointment. When you watch without expectations and your team wins, it’s joyous.

    I’ve discovered that for the players, it’s absolutely about winning, but it doesn’t have to be about winning for the fans.

    I’m sure that doesn’t make any sense to Patriots fans these days, or even to recent Sox fans. But if you think back to the Impossible, if you’re that old, there were a lot of people who year-to-year weren’t obsessed with winning the World Series. It was just a dream that fans carried with them when they went to Fenway, but Fenway was still just about good baseball, a hotdog and a beer.

    It’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

  6. john mccarthy

    Yankees Suck!!!

  7. Chopper McDuggin

    Yankees suck and so does the Bills and Sabres

  8. AA

    @Chopper McDuggin….but they don’t suck as bad as your grammar! Learn to write if you want to post an “insult”

  9. AA

    oh….and GO BILLS!!!!!

  10. zach

    a “laughably terrible franchise”?

    who has more wins since 1988, the Bills or the Patriots?

    i’ll save you the research: THE BUFFALO BILLS.

  11. Really Zach

    Hey Zach – Did you randomly select 1988. Did you say hey let me check to see who has won more games over the past 22 years? Don’t people usually use round numbers when doing something like that. Let me ask you a question, if you went back to 1987 does your stat change? Let me save you the research, nobody cares – the Bills will still suck; go watch highlights of the Superbowl XXV.

  12. Die Hard Pats Fan

    It actually is so nice to interact with division rival fans who are respectable and nothing like Jets fans. Good luck you pure, upstate, real football fans.

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