A View from Calico Jack’s – 9/11/2006

It’s good to be back. I thought I would write from a “mature” perspective.

You see, I’m a long-time NYCBBB member, dating back to when a formal club didn’t even exist. This marks my 16th consecutive year of watching games at one of the Bills-Bars-of-the-Day; I’ve been around almost as long as The Simpsons. So, without trying to boast, perhaps some of you younger members will benefit from the wisdom of a seasoned vet.

Let’s start at about 12:59:30, Sunday afternoon. No satellite reception yet. This has happened before. Did I panic? Nope. Again, I’m a seasoned vet and did the only prudent thing I could: plotted my escape from the imminent riot by holding my two-year-old daughter in front of me for protective cover.

At 12:59:45, I say to fellow staff member and master tailgater, Kevin Smith, “If you’re a religious man, this might be time to start praying.” Coincidentally, Kevin had lost complete faith in any higher being only seconds earlier.

And what happens? The picture suddenly pops up in time to see Brady get clobbered and London Fletcher-Baker (huh?) scamper into the end zone. Joy ensures. Shout! plays over the PA. All is forgotten. I put my daughter down.

We know how the game transpired from there, so I won’t dwell on that. Anyone who attended this week knows that Calico Jack’s and McFadden’s were packed. To any law enforcement officials reading this…I estimate we had around 300 people at the two bars combined, which I assume is approximately the legal limit. To the rest of you…the number may have just a tad bit higher. Like maybe 700 crazed fans, including the folks on the street (which included two cops).

To get a little more personal for a moment…ever since I was young, I’ve been susceptible to throat problems. For years in the 1990s, I’d repeat the same cycle: Scream my head off watching Bills games, lose my voice, and then get sick. Recover by the following Sunday, and repeat. Over the years, I learned how to better care for my throat, and not scream quite so much.

So, what did I do during the Pats game? Scream my f-ing head off, because it was so freaking loud and exciting in the place, and the game was a nail biter featuring refs who were clearly on the take or who’d made some “special” arrangements with the Pats organization. Maybe it was that pretty Tom Brady.

An hour after game time, my throat felt like it had been rubbed with broken glass, with every swallow a new venture in pain. My wonderful wife ordered some Chinese food to help me feel better, which promptly fell to the bottom of my stomach and continues to reside there like a lead balloon (did you know that’s the phrase Led Zeppelin named themselves after? Told you I was “experienced.”)

Finally, at 2:25 a.m., lying in bed with all kinds of pain, I got up to do something, anything, to help me feel better. Mind you, I didn’t have a single alcoholic beverage during the game. Tried to, but it never came. Anyway, I flushed a tissue after blowing my nose and, for maybe the first time in the five years I’ve lived in this apartment, the freaking toilet overflowed for no apparent reason. It’s now 2:30, I feel like hell, and the water level is rising faster than the total number of bribes paid by the Pats today. Fortunately, the toilet catastrophe, at least, was stemmed.

So, here I am. It’s 2:56 a.m. I have a 9 a.m. meeting. My throat and belly feel like crap. The Bills lost a close game on the road to a division rival.

And you know what? I still wouldn’t trade today’s day at Calico Jack’s for anything. Watching games with NYCBBB – at either bar – is the coolest thing ever for a local Bills fan. I hope you’ll all stick with this team and keep on joining us through the season, regardless of what it brings.

You see, my experience and relative level of maturity has taught me something. I’ve got my priorities straight.