As I struggle to come to terms with the Bills’ latest toying with my sanity, the following analogy comes to mind. My apologies to female readers who don’t identify.
The latest Bills/Cowboys game – and rooting for the Bills in general – is kind of like being in high school and somehow, miraculously, making some headway with the hottest cheerleader in school. You’ve got her in your backseat, you’re about to close the deal…and then she unexpectedly leaps out of the car, says “I can’t do this,” and the next thing you know, she’s making out with the rival high school’s quarterback. Leaving you stunned, mad and rejected – with your friends alternately feeling sorry for you and making fun of you.
That is the lot of the Bills fan. We root for a team that finds more creative ways to leave us jilted in the backseat asking, “What just happened? I thought I was finally about to reach the big time!” – than Travis Henry and Willis McGahee combined have illegitimate kids (note to Marshawn Lynch: .
We suffer in ways most sports fans never have, nor ever would, deal with. We’re not so much like Sysiphus, who was condemned to push a heavy boulder up a hill…we’re more like Indiana Jones trying to get the heck out of the way of the massive, rolling rock about to crush him. Indiana kept coming back for more, and so do we.
Don’t get me wrong, I far prefer winning to losing, but it’s for these very reasons that I take considerable pride in being a loyal Bills fan. It’s easy to be a Cowboys fan. A Yankees fan. They win all the time, and their fans treat it as an entitlement. And when they lose…many of their fans either smugly reference past successes or jump off the bandwagon until the next fortuitous time. Not the Bills fan. Bills fans are like the characters in Jaws comparing their scars – who has been cut worse? Sure, the scars hurt when you first get them; but later on, they make for great war stories.
The Bills have their bandwagon fans, too (although being a bandwagon Bills fan is kind of like being a bandwagon supporter of Dennis Kucinich…the wait might be a long time). But, overall, we stick with this team through bad and, in theory, good. Why we continue to fill two bars in Manhattan should be the subject of some psychologist’s doctorate.
All of this leads me to a final point that’s meant for the native Western New Yorkers reading this, rather than the loyal Bills fans from the New York City tri-state area. As loyal as we are (repeat after me, if you must)…The fortunes of our football team have nothing to do with the relative worth of where we come from or the people that live there. We all know that, of course. But, despite what we say out loud, there’s a piece of most of us that makes this all personal, and makes us defensive when people tweak us not only about the Bills, but about Western New York.
The Bills lost a really tough game on Monday, in an almost unspeakable manner. We were all upset. I still am – more so than any game since the Tennessee playoff game. But, Western New York, for all of its beauty as well as its challenges, remains the same. No better, no worse.
Well, maybe a little better…its football fans are even more battle-tested in ways most fans could never imagine or handle.
See you at the Ravens game!