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.