Thursday, December 21, 2006

Buffalo 21, Miami 0

The Buffalo Bills and I have long had an angst-filled relationship, as much for the opportunity cost of watching their games as for any style of play. I became a Bills fan in 1988 when, late on a Sunday afternoon while I should have been writing an essay, I watched rabid Bills fans tear down the goal posts with their bare hands after the Bills clinched their division by beating the Jets 9-6 in overtime.

For the next decade I followed the Bills every Sunday, usually when I should have been writing some paper. I suffered through four Superbowl losses, when I had math homework to do, and I cursed an exam for which I missed the comeback win against the Oilers in 1993. I found respite from this habitual procrastination when, during the Wade Phillips coaching era, I ditched football for NASCAR. In the last few years, however, I have returned to the fold just in in time for the Bills to sabotage my MBA. And so it was this past Sunday, when I should have been completing a school project, that I headed down the QEW to the City of Eternal Flame for my first live Bills game.

For someone whose perspective is rooted in 26,000-spectator Ottawa Rough Rider games, spending three hours with 70,000 wild-eyed Bills fans was overwhelming. The tailgating, which spanned mile upon mile of parking lot, is everything you've heard it is and Bills fans take every opportunity to supplement the experience with fire, seemingly unconcerned by flames licking the fuel tanks of their cars. With the Dolphins in town, fans didn't settle for incinerating stuffed dolphins, but were laying dead fish on the parking lot and driving over them to literally "squish the fish". You can imagine the salty epithets that were directed our way as we walked to and from the stadium with my mother-in-law who proudly wore her Dan Marino jersey and dolphin tattoos.

I'm now off to Nassau in the Bahamas for a week. If the business center attendant can tear herself away from the phone, I'll try to post. If I'm too busy eating conch fritters and reading Pegasus Descending, be sure to take in a claymation Christmas special or go see Rocky Balboa.

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