WIFE and I stayed the weekend in a condo in Ellicottville. We needed a little change of scenery after being extremely limited in any activities since mid-March due to the Wuhan Virus. Our April Vegas trip. A Montreal vacation as well as several concerts and road trips had been canceled. It was refreshing to have a couple of beers and dinner at the actual brewery in person as opposed to curbside take-out. We were on the way home and I got a text from one of “Negative Stanley’s” disciples giving me a warning that he was preaching in the waiting room at the chiropractor. Obviously the “in and out” social distancing was not being practiced. Upon my arrival, I would discover Stanley was indeed sporting his P.P.E. A Buffalo Bills face mask. Very Nice.
I was warned that he was really getting passionate about the dangers and damages of rioting. Having long term negative impact and rarely accomplishing anything proactive because the violence and damage overshadow anything positive that could have been the original motivation for taking to the streets. I did not have an appointment this particular morning. Those of you who have read these articles dating back to 2015 are familiar with “Negative Stanley” and how his mouth not having a filter causes many heated conversations as the glass is always half empty. He has ruined many tailgates, dinners, game day experiences, picnics, or simple waits at the chiropractor’s office. Stanley was the Norm-from-Cheers of the chiropractor waiting area. Everyone knows his name.
As I jumped out of WIFE’S SUV, I recall vaguely her commenting that if people wanted Stanley’s Crap, they would simply squeeze his head. Hello! Stay classy Cheektowaga. She was in no mood for some sort of CNN drama. I entered the waiting area expecting to have to practice some serious crowd control. I proceeded to say my hello’s as I listened attentively to what was being discussed with such interest.
Stanley can ruin a day quickly when he gets going on the Bills or Sabres. When it was leaked to me that the topic was rioting, I quickly realized that when some suggest religion or politics should be off-limits for group public discussions, conversations among friends or foes, those warnings are friendly directed at the average neighbor. Politics coming out of Stanley’s hole should be illegal. This was why we stopped at the chiropractor’s office on the way home from our weekend getaway. Someone needed to duct tape Stanley’s mouth closed. If a Pulp Fiction Ball Gag becomes available, that would be the way to prevent a riot or even a civil war. What was Stanley doing? Why oh why? I feel like his babysitter. He is the last person who should lead conversations or debates on sensitive topics. Enough black eyes and fat lips were induced by his sports commentary over the years. A sweet 80-year-old widower is simply not how he became known as the Negative One.
Negative Stanley was preaching as if on some sort of mission. “The celebration after the Eagles won that first Superbowl in 2018 was not a peaceful dancing celebration. It was a pure evil riot. Cars flipped over and burned and street lights pulled down. Vandalizing convenience stores, damaging whatever they did not feel worthy of stealing. This does not happen every year after a Superbowl champion is crowned. The long painful awaited championships seem to be the places of looting, destruction, injuries, and violence. The Eagles lost a Superbowl during the Donovan Mcnabb era, that team sporting Torell Owens. Get your popcorn ready? The popcorn should have been saved for the ridiculous display after winning in 2018. Why does the winning Philly fan find anger inspired destruction the ideal reaction to a long awaited win? Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. No Jedi Yoda explanation would due justice. They were relentless as fans of the champs. They appeared more sullen after victory than they did in defeat on that Mcnabb or even Ron Jaworski losing display. Keep in mind that those Mcnabb teams spent many years losing in the NFC Championship game as well as putting together many winning seasons where they looked to be a favorite throughout the entire regular season and simply underachieved come postseason play. “
Stanley proceeded to downplay his posse suggesting that victory riots are a problem that only occurs north of the border when a proud Canadian team wins Lord Stanley. Yes, Montreal is the last Canadian champion dating back to the Patrick Roy carried 1993 team. This is a border-less trend because Patrick Roy moved his hardware collecting hobby to Denver in the mid-’90s. With the Ave’s winning their first of a couple of Cups, Denver fans took to the streets in rare form. Was it the altitude? The sport? The goalie? It was not. Denver put on quite the display destructively celebrating that first Superbowl victory in 1998. They won back to back Lombardis and must have figured they needed to match the 98 riots with a lovely 99 riot. They partied like it was 1999 and it was, well uh, because it was 1999. Gotta reference the legendary Prince: Two thousand zero zero party oh oops out of time.
DOC chimed in reminding us all that Vancouver was heavily favored to defeat Boston for the Stanley Cup several years back and ended up losing. That did not stop those professional Canadian sports rioting fans from tearing up the town. Had I not watched the Bruins raise the Cup, I easily could have been convinced that the Canucks were victorious based on the riots. Boston does not escape here as having these classy dignified fans. When the Red Sox won that first World Series in 86 years the fans took to the streets in rioting fashion. Fans can only resist triumph for so long. Not the band “Triumph” from Canada having Rik Emmett as front-man. I can see how that could be confusing.
Stanley began to remind everyone who was acting like Buffalo is so much above this type of behavior, that the fans won no world title in the early ’80s, but when they finally beat Miami after an entire decade of losses, the goalposts came down. One regular-season victory sparked this reaction. In 1988, when the Bills defeated the Jets clinching the AFC East division, the goalposts came tumbling down with authority. By 1990 and thereafter, police on horseback surrounded the field with Stan Roberts warning fans that they need the goalposts for the playoffs. Somehow hacksaws found their way on the field as fans took home souvenirs being that of the uprights. After these events, any time a big impact game was played in Orchard Park, the Mounted police were as ready as ever. Then there was that 18-year playoff drought which left little to no inspiration to hang from goalposts. Beat the traffic. Stanley was simply making the point that if the Buffalo sports fans were doing these types of crazy celebrations for regular-season victories, they very might be the most newsworthy when that amazing Welcome-To-Fantasy-Island victory brings the Queen City a Lord Stanley or Lombardi Trophy. The Plane. The Plane.
I got extremely caught up in the engaging conversation compliments of one”Negative Stanley”. We had earlier raced over to the Doc’s office directly from our Ellicottville weekend because It had been leaked that a crowd was gathering around the crusty old man. It hadn’t happened as of late due to the many efforts to slow the Covid-19 spread. When Stanley gets going to that point of attracting the entire crew, it can be an ugly pessimistic display of a frustrated 80 year old Buffalo sports fan. His negativity is contagious. When I got wind of the topic, we increased our driving speed to attempt to stop Stanley before he said something at the chiropractors office that could start some trouble. No politics or religion should ever be on any itinerary involving Stan. That rule is more compelling now than ever. Fortunately his interacting rant was sports related. Don’t get me wrong, he has caused many heated conversations and arguments about sports. Everyone is used to his negativity towards the local sports teams. He is currently discussing the behavior of the Sea-hawks fans upon winning their first franchise Superbowl a few years back. Harmless. This point of time in our country is absolutely no time to allow Stanley to expand his topics away from sports. Not now. Not ever. I digress..
Just as I was chiming in bringing up table smashing being legendary without even playing a minute of football inspiring such, I was interrupted by the receptionist. The receptionist who tells her kids the Scott Norwood Rally was the best sports event in Buffalo history. NOT! She wanted to know why no one referenced the riots in Buffalo celebrating the Sabres winning the Stanley Cup in 2003. As she continued her foolish interruption, we all realized she was under the impression the rioting Buffalo fans after winning the Cup against the Maple Leafs was only a real-world championship in the Jim Carrey hit movie, Bruce Almighty. Alrighty…..Then.