That sign has been bothering me for a while now. I first saw it when I went to Wingfest at Dunn Tire Park. That “Thank You Sabres” sign hangs off the parking ramp behind the right field wall, and you had to pass right underneath it to get inside.
I may be the only goofball that stopped to take a picture, but it really got me thinking about hockey again. This week I put it on my phone so I was forced to think about it every time I opened it up, too. The question at hand? Why are we thanking the Sabres?
Here’s the thing, and bear with me on this. Yes, last season was one of the most exciting hockey years of my life, but it didn’t end the way we want it to. Tomorrow night we will not be hanging a “Stanley Cup Champions” banner. We won nine playoff games last year, not sixteen. So what are we thankful for?
This is where I am on the fence as a sports fan. I value the ride a season gives you, but still I want to put worth on the end result. As a Buffalo sports fan I’ve come to realize that it is very rare to see a satisfying result. So many seasons have been good rides that fall short of their destination. At some point you have to wonder if an attitude such as this encourages a “good enough” sentiment in regards to sports.
It’s a tricky road to navigate, because who doesn’t want to enjoy the season we had? How many games are still so vivid in your mind? How many cold winter nights do you remember; all those times you ventured downtown or to your local sports bar? It was an amazing, riveting eight months of hockey that I will never forget. The question still remains, what is it all worth?
I guess that is up to each of us. The same rule of interpretation can be given to that sign. Signs like that remind me of failure. We are a city haunted by what ifs and teased by quotes of “finishing the job.” Every time we get close, it goes astray and we are left struggling to be satisfied by the past.
My answer to the riddle is to simply look forward. Tomorrow marks the start of another journey, and with any luck it will half as fun as the one we took last year. Whether I like it or not, I am thankful for last year’s ride. Being satisfied is a completely different story, one that won’t be told until we hang the banner we all dream about.
Tomorrow,we get to dream once again.