There’s a hockey game tonight. Everyone knows this.
That’s the thing about a city like Buffalo, everyone knows what’s going on with their sports teams. The bye weeks are memorized, plans are made around Sabres games, and the day after is nothing but sports talk. This is a place where K-Mart puts the Bills game on the loudspeaker, and the Sabres score is yelled out at concerts between songs. Sports matter here in Buffalo, and we are proud of our fandom.
There is a lot wrong with a place like Buffalo, but if you look closely enough you can find a whole lot of good. There is crime and corruption and failure, but every so often you get a beautiful day when none of that matters. The sun is bright, the water is clear, and suddenly you forget about everything else and just take it in. Maybe it’s a boat ride or a jog through Forest Lawn, or maybe even a game of pond hockey on a chilly winter day. No matter what people say, there is beauty in a place like this.
Chbosky once wrote that, “we accept the love we think we deserve.” In a way I think that’s true about a place like Buffalo. We embrace the people who embrace us, and that makes us forget about everyone who leaves us behind. For every McGahee and Doug Gilmour is a Rob Ray and Thurman Thomas, and those are the people we remember in the end. We just want people to like us, and sometimes it seems we care a bit too much about something like that.
Still, I expected nothing less of the Sabres in their reaction to the crash. This is a team that has always embraced the local community, and they matched the small town feel of a place like Buffalo. This is a place where we seriously discuss intro videos and debate just what they say about the area. We take our sports seriously, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.
In the end I think we will all know someone involved in this disaster because that’s the kind of place this is. The people left around here stay for the same reasons, and they all understand how to get through tough times. The little things we love become that much more important when tragedy strikes, and everyone will be touched by something so terrible.
I have no idea what will happen tonight. All I know is that when we’ve needed a boost in the past the Sabres have been there. The Rangers game after the October Surprise is just one example. Football will always be first, but it’s clear that this is a hockey town as well. It’s also a community that always comes through at the worst possible times; and the guys on this hockey team are a part of this community, too. After such a trying day, Western New York will be looking for a boost.
There is a hockey game tonight. Everyone will be watching.