Being A Bills Fan Is Hard, But I'm Willing To Ride And Die With Them

Being A Bills Fan Is Hard, But I'm Willing To Ride And Die With Them

17 years of playoff drought is hard to swallow.
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To be a Buffalo Bills fan is tough for a number of reasons. Some may say it has to do with their four straight Super Bowl losses from 1990-1993. Others may say it has to do with the fact that they are in the same division as the New England Patriots and are constantly battling for second place. And lastly, there’s the infamous fact that they wear the crown for the longest number of consecutive seasons without making the playoffs in all of professional sports.

Whatever the case may be for Buffalo fans, it certainly isn’t easy.

Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts in the early 2000s, I was surrounded by sports success. At times it was overwhelming. The Patriots were in full swing of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady dynasty that was forming and had won three championships in four years from 2001-2004. The Red Sox had won their first championship in 86 years in 2004 after surmounting one of the greatest comebacks in sports history against their rivals in the New York Yankees. However, I could not fall in love with either of these teams.

I could only fall in love with the blue and red from Buffalo.

My love for the Bills stems from my dad. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, he has always been a die-hard fan. He fondly remembers the Jim Kelly era and those days long ago when his team used to be in contention for a championship year in and out. That was, of course, long before I was born. However, that has not stopped his love and passion for his team, which subsequently has rubbed off on me.

Once Sunday rolled around in our household, it was Bills time. We would wear our matching hats, sit down in our usual seats on the couch to not foil the “mojo” that spiraled around a possible win, and eagerly watch the game. Usually, it was a beat down of our favorite team, but week after week we would bounce back undeterred and with confidence that it was a slip-up and we’d be ready to win this time around. More often than not, this was not the case.

Being a Bills fan is hard, man.

But for the team you love, you’re willing to stick with them week after week and ride and die with them.

17 years of not making a postseason appearance, though, is tough to swallow. That’s why as a football fan, losing is all that I know.

Watching these games now, I anticipate that the Bills are going to lose. If they win, it’s a fluke. If they wipe out a team, the refs were paid in our favor. If they beat the Patriots, then God has given us fans a miracle. You see, 17 years of unsuccessful seasons, a plethora of new coaching schemes that have failed and busted first-round draft picks, well we’ve become conditioned to expect defeat.

However, that doesn’t stop us from loving and supporting our team and as Chris Berman says, “nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.” So let's circle those wagons and break that playoff drought this year, boys.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Basketball Gave Me The Competitive Spirit I Needed To Thrive Off The Court

Although I still cannot dribble a basketball without fumbling it or touch the basketball net after my highest jump, basketball led me to become the superstar version of me.

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Like the majority of people, sports grew to be a significant part of my life. Ever since I was introduced to kickball and four-square in second grade, I found myself loving the natural competition that came with even the most basic sports. However, as I grew older, my relation with sports changed drastically compared to others.

No, I did not suffer a critical injury. Rather, I simply was never athletic and tall enough to compete in any sport. Being physically incapable to keep up with many of my friends and peers, I was forced to transition myself from the competitor to the observer. Disappointed with my reality, I felt a disconnect from the world, that I was in the significant majority that could never find fulfillment and enjoyment from sports ever again.

Enter basketball.

Like many casual fans, I grew attracted towards basketball because of superstars such as Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce. However, what really made me a hardcore lover of the sport is how basketball is a game of the "little things."

Don't get me wrong now... the earth-shattering dunks, clutch last-second shots, and other eye dazzling plays made on a nightly basis were exhilarating to watch. However, studying every second of the game was intriguing because every development that occurred in each match called for meticulous attention to detail to create perfect execution. I honed in on aspects such as examining footwork, body positioning, decision making, and various other attributes. Eventually, I realized that it was these small yet significant features that explained how and why exceptional players became successful while others did not.

This newfound detail-oriented mindset naturally transitioned from just basketball games to my personal life. The mentality basketball brought to my life helped bring focus to my habits and routines and whether they genuinely benefited me or not. Soon enough, I went through massive changes in how I studied, did my chores, approached new people, and so much more. Despite the difficulty that came with these vast revisions, my new lifestyle allowed me to solve both complex and uncomplicated problems through the "the little things."

Although I still cannot dribble a basketball without fumbling it or touch the basketball net after my highest jump, basketball led me to become the superstar version of me.

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