These are exciting times as a fan, but unfortunately, a writer made waves earlier this week by saying “Quarantine has taught us that we need less sports in our life not more”. The article did what he wanted it to do; it gained clicks and views and sparked outrage. For me, though, it got me thinking about sports and who I am as a person.
Sports for me are special. In 2016, when the Bengals beat the Ravens, I was driving home from my wife’s parents’ house. I remember getting a notification on my phone from Bleacher Report stating “Bengals beat Ravens, Bills make playoffs Locker Room reaction”. I was out of my mind excited. I was too young to remember the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs before “the Drought,” so this was my first time enjoying a moment of this size.
Later that night, a video came out showing The Red Rocket Andy Dalton throwing the pass that extended the Bills season. It showed the locker room in Miami, Kyle Williams’ face full of joy. It showed the city of Buffalo with the words “We Are Buffalo”. The video gave me chills. The video made me cry for a city that I have no connection to outside of football. For me, my whole persona of a man was football.
I understand that this is a Buffalo Bills website, but bear with me while I break off and explain my life with sports. Years ago when I met my wife, her parents allowed me to take her on a weekend trip to Atlanta, Georgia, to go and see a Braves game. Bold move by my now in-laws, a move that I am much appreciated by. I had been dating my wife for three or four months at the time. I very much expected her parents not to let her go, but to my surprise, they said okay.
We went to the last home game at Turner Field and watched the Braves play. To this day, I don’t remember who they played or what the score was. What I do remember from that day was how beautiful my wife was on a hot night in Georgia. How I fell in love with her while we played corn hole before the game. How amazing she looked in the glow of the fireworks. I knew I loved her the moment we met, but that night I knew I was going to marry her.
I wouldn’t have had that amazing moment without sports. I remember in 2013, the Memphis Grizzlies made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. My four best friends were with me, and we got so excited while intoxicated that we bought game six or seven tickets in the nose bleeds, a game I could not attend because of work, but surely a moment in my life I will never forget.
My wife has admitted to me and has let it be known she doesn’t like sports. She insists that watching me watch sports is more entertaining. In fact, the earliest photo I have of her is her lying in bed with a pillow over her face during the Red River showdown where Charlie Strong was the head coach of Texas. Last Christmas, she got me an unbelievable gift: tickets to a Nashville Predators game. During the game, she got to witness a fight, a slapshot snipe from the blue line, and she led the booing against the refs. We lost the game, but I couldn’t stop smiling. The woman I love more than anything enjoyed herself at a sporting event. That game was a top-five moment in my life that I will never forget.
A couple of days ago I went back to my home town to get a hair cut. I didn’t get one, but that’s a story for another blog. This chain of events gave me the opportunity to go and see my niece and nephew. My nephew Daniel is famous on the internet for eating dog food. He’s an amazing kid that I truly love, and wish I could see more than once a month. He put on his Tennessee Vols hat and sang “Rocky Top” for me. These are short examples, but my life and all things important surround sports.
We need sports now more than ever. We need to see Josh Allen throwing dimes 50 yards downfield to a wide-open Stefon Diggs. We need to see Motor juke a defender out of his shoes. I want more than anything to see the Buffalo Bills take the field. Win or Lose, I need more memories to store in my mind. I need that. It makes me who I am. During this time of a global crisis, we need sports. Who cares if there aren’t fans in the stands? I want to watch more games with my wife. When I have kids, I want them to watch the games with me and sing fight songs with me. I want to raise kids that see the Buffalo Bills win a Super-Bowl.
This writer was wrong. We don’t need less; we need more. He wanted clicks. He wanted to entice hate and rage. That was his goal, but if sports has taught me anything, it’s that they bring us together. I’m excited for this season and the memories that will come with it, and during this time of unknown I hope all Buffalo Fans remember that “We Are Buffalo.”