It is normal a routine of mine to call a friend during my walk to the subway after work. I just need someone to talk to while I'm passing the time and the jackoffs on the streets of Midtown. Normally, I connect with someone with a Buffalo connection that I can shoot the shit about Buffalo sports. Last Thursday, I made a call to my friend Scott, who is a Buffalo transplant living in NJ and is a die-hard Buffalo sports fan. At first, I started talking glowingly about my time at the Bills/Ravens game and how if the Bills beat Cleveland, I'd be smiling ear to ear about them being 3-2. It was a really uplifting conversation.
Then he asked me about the Sabres, wanting to know if I had watched them against Detroit.
Let's just say I went on a breathless, swearing rant about how much I hate them. I don't know what I said, but it was probably the same crap I've been bitching about since man discovered fire. It had zero to do with the actual game but was more about where the Sabres are as a franchise in my eyes. It wouldn't matter if it was July or if I was on ecstasy, I'll always feel the same way about them and I just can't shake it.
Normally, I feel pretty good about ranting. Ranting is great. I'm an emotional guy, and I hold a lot of shit inside. Ranting is normally a great way to get out all that aggression that has been building up at the bottom of my belly.
There was no feeling good after this rant.
I just felt empty. No relief. It kind of felt like some sort of repressed memory from a childhood, always with you no matter how much positive happens in your life. I wandered into a place in my mind where that memory always is and BOOM. The name "Buffalo Sabres" took me straight from an uplifting conversation to the bowels of hockey hell.
Then I started thinking… Why the fuck do I care so much about a team I happen to find incredibly boring and distasteful to watch? There's nothing that interests me about the Sabres. Nada. Zip. Ziltch. They are a glorified minor league team. I enjoy buying a Sabres hoodie more than watching the games at this point.
Outside of the hoodies, I hate everything associated with them. I hate having to talk about them. I hate trying to pretend that I'm supposed to have faith. I hate having a website that has Buffalo Sabres on the banner. I hate Twitter during a game. I hate my own takes on the Sabres.
Don't get me wrong..I get what Darcy wants to do. He wants to build through the draft. He wants the kids to play right away and pay their dues here. It has worked for different franchises. But I just can't find it to be fun.
I hate it all.
That's why I haven't written anything about the Sabres in months. I tried doing the Sabres preview BS that I've done during years past – remember the GoTs/correlation and who should be on the 2nd line? – but it just didn't feel organic. I couldn't get to any kind of emotional state about this being Ryan Miller's swan song or potentially watching Sabre babies grow up to become men like a proud parent. None of it mattered.
How could you like this team? They are a bunch of no-names with a few known names that we've all grown to fricken hate. I just deserve more. I deserve more in terms of the entertainment dollar and to keep me wanting more.
I'm sick of liking teams in this town based on how I felt about them as a kid. We can't even come close to eclipsing the teams of my youth. I want to write new stories, not live in the past.
I watched the games vs. the Wings, Pens and Lightning and I wanted to slit my throat because I was so bored. Saturday night I wanted to punch Scotty from Sabres Nation for telling me to have some faith in them. I wanted to punch Derek and tell him to stick his Corsi Ratings up his ass. I like those guys, but the hell with this! I'm suppose to be enchanted by a Steve Ott fight and 3 shots on goal against Tampa in the first 30 minutes? I just can't.
As far as I'm concerned, the Sabres are back to being an afterthought. When football season ends, I'll see what the hell they are up to. If that means I sprain a knee by jumping on the bandwagon if they actually turn a corner within the next 3 years, so be it. You wanna judge me for being a shitty fan? Fine. Go ahead. I've sat here for 25 years and stuck with them long enough. I don't love hockey the way I love football. I don't love it enough to tolerate the Sabres' shortcomings. I mean, 2 goals in the first 3 games and being outshoot 500 to 10? I just don't find it enjoyable. I couldn't tell you which number Kevin Porter wears. Did I even get his name right?
I don't need to suffer as some sort of badge of honor so that IF they turn it around, I can say "I WAS THERE SINCE DAY 1." Fuck you. I've been there since day 1 of the '90s and the narrative never fucken changes with the Sabres.
We bitch about fighting, we bitch about Bucky, we bitch about the crowds sucking, we bitch about uniforms, we bitch about head shots, we bitch about the captaincy, we bitch about the whiner line. We just bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch because that's all we have. Anger is holding this relationship with our team together. It just isn't fun anymore.
And frankly, I think a lot of people feel the same.
I went to Kelly's, a Sabres bar in NYC, on Wednesday night and the bar was half full in comparison to last year's opener against the Flyers. I posted my Sabres prediction on Facebook and no one give a rats ass about it. Shit, I can post a stupid photo of Russ Brandon throwing a football and that gets tons of lame ass "caption this" love. Folks could have had 100 level seats against Tampa for 10-30 bucks.. That's insane!
I mass-emailed the staff to see if anyone wanted to write about the Sabres and no one bit. I even talked to The Apologist from "Dear God, Why Us?" and he was about as cynical as I've ever been about the team. He's the fucken apologist and he's lost fricken hope! These aren't miserable people, these are the dreamers who buy the tickets and sell me on hope when I'm at my deepest despair. Their hope is gone and a man without hope is a man who is lost…And I'm lost, kids. I've checked out and I'm not emotionally invested in them anymore.
If there's one thing I've always done a decent job with, it is blogging about anything regarding the Buffalo sports scene. Opinions are like assholes and everyone has one, right? Well, my asshole happens to be a canyon. I love having an opinion. I get stereotyped as someone who only cares about web traffic, but the fact of the matter is I really do love blogging about the teams, good or bad. I love having a small audience, and I do everything to give them something to read as often as possible. It has always been a diary of sorts for me, a way to get my feelings out about the sports I grew up on.
However, I can't do it with the Sabres anymore. It just isn't interesting to me. I don't wanna be the angry guy anymore, the guy who wants to punch Sabres fans in the face for being dreamers or pessimists, but I also don't wanna be a sucker. I'm done. I'll watch passively and maybe update Facebook, but I'm going on hiatus about it for the most part in terms of having hot takes. Maybe in January I'll come back.
The Sabres' redundant narrative has burned me out and Bloguin doesn't pay me enough to relight the flame. One Love.
(On a serious note, if anyone out there wants to blog about the Sabres for this site and knows where to put a fricken comma and can tell way more interesting stories than I can, let me know. I'll give you free pizza.)