To live and die as a fan in a city whose sports history has earned inclusion on a Wikipedia page devoted to sports curses is no easy task, but vital fan dedication to the teams in Buffalo, NY is palpable in the city, regardless of which sport you follow. Most sport fanatics know the rundown – four consecutive Superbowl losses for the Bills, zero Stanley Cup wins, and innumerable playoff letdowns for Sabres fans. But if you look below the surface you see start to see the high points – Amazingly dedicated (often fanatical) fans, a city that is regularly in contention for the best tailgating city in the NFL, multiple championship wins by the Buffalo Bandits (and the only perfect season in NLL history), home of the best team in the WPS (The Western NY Flash) and a sports tradition that stretches far back into the city’s rich history. Fans in Buffalo are always chasing those championships, their emotions shifting with every goal, win, loss, and BS bad call.
This ebb and flow of emotions – hope, anger, joy, disappointment, elation, disbelief, shock, and every subtle variation in between – was a driving factor in telling the story of Buffalo’s sports for Block Club Magazine when they gave me the challenge of capturing what it means to be a fan in Buffalo for their Winter 2012 issue. It was a fascinating look at a community whose ravenous enthusiasm for sports has given it a resilient pride – not just in the triumphs of its team, but its failures as well. It was summed up well in the article itself with a quote from Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses (One of my favorites, I love anything that quotes some Cormac McCarthy) “Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real”