Monday morning I awoke to something unexpected. I root for sports teams that are good.
For the second time in as many games the Bills have done the recently implausible but somehow historically stereotypical by launching dramatic come from behind victories. Now they have taken down the Dragon. Bills 34, Patriots 31. They can’t keep doing this. This isn’t real.
By the end of each excruciatingly close contest the fever pitch will be so high that you can’t help but root for them and get on board the bandwagon. They keep giving everything for the show to the extent that C.J. Spiller is going to come off the bench and throw a cape over Fred Jackson. HE IS WORKING TOO HARD. Ryan Fitzpatrick is running around the stadium screeching for Christ’s sake. Fitz, and by extension the Buffalo Bills, are the sports equivilant of the James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub. Everybody gonna get in the hot tub. Everybody gonna sweat.
They now sit at 3-0 and on the precipice of the absurd. How the hell did we get here, and where the hell are we going?
I’m not breaking ground by making reference to the extreme likeability of this team. This was a factor even before the Bills decided to win games. Last season the vibe out of One Bills Drive drew you in as they had a horrific 2010 campaign. Somehow the team seemed alive while being slaughtered. Its difficult to describe how the atmosphere changed, but something had changed. They were less monotone and sleep-inducing. They were losing, but it was fun. Man I had no idea how much fun winning like that with this team could be.
Sports to me tends to be a journey through stories, with games serving as episodes and seasons as chapters. The characters come and go, yet we as readers remain to see it all if we can stand it. The chapters that have passed by in Orchard Park have made me question whether I’ve been reading the same pages over again. Was I putting the bookmark in the wrong place each Sunday? It was becoming hard to finish that book with what seemed like thousands of chapters left to go, no end in sight. Heroes keep showing up and keep getting pulverized. It was becoming too much to bear.
Then here comes Sunday. The vaunted and despised Patriots, with all of their winning and what not. Their quarterback who looks good. DAMN THEM. They had foiled the plot for so long. No redemption. No heroics. Only the slow grind to oblivion. Each time. For eight years. Why was I still reading this crap?
I kept reading for Sunday, September 25, 2011. Its the kind of episode that turns entire stories around.
I find it curious that with all the Sabres have done, their energizing of their franchise has been done almost exclusively without any on ice heroics. The injection comes from a change of philosophy. Here, the change comes from the workers. The players are the ones changing the culture at One Bills Drive. This is a socialist revolution. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the People’s quarterback.
What of the Jets, though? The Patriots have been turned at the gates but not defeated. It is a long journey into winter and potential victory.
I have no clue where we are headed now, but the characters are endearing, the odds are long, the villains remain strong, and I can’t put the book down.