Space—that black emptiness that separates the more habitable parts of our universe from each other—is never truly empty. There is always something there, even if it is some of the smallest forms of matter or energy in our reality. It’s never absent of heat, either. There is always some form of warmth, even if barely detectable and even if it is only the afterglow of something that once produced all the heat necessary for all you see around you.
The Buffalo Bills have finished their fourteenth season since last participating in the bonus round of the National Football League. The reasons are very familiar. The quarterback was either hurt or not good. The defense was not good. The team found new and interesting ways to lose games that they were in positions to win. New England beat the shit out of them again. Situation normal, as you were.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to say in regard to their recent past or their near future. I don’t know how they will be next year. I don’t know if they are ascending or grounding out. Honestly, I don’t trust anyone to tell me what their situation is regardless. I’ve been told every manner of thing over this seemingly interminable stretch. I need no help in assigning blame, diagnosing a lack of tenacity or leadership, or in projecting what piece they are lacking. Spin the big wheel and wherever the pointer lands is a good enough explanation.
Please tell me who on the team lacks heart and compete! Share your true insight into the character of people we barely know. Let us all cast aspersions just as fishermen cast nets into the sea searching for a meal ticket. Sitting and talking about how everyone we try to root for has let us down once again is how I imagined my sports life progressing. Well frankly, I’m not interested. I’m tired of having to get my dander up. I have no more dander to give. I’m all out of dander here.
I have become disinterested in the autopsy. Sooner or later you’ve seen enough of them, all the bodies start to look the same, and they’re all very dead. That’s the point, isn’t it? That the year we put into this is lying dead on the table, ready to be crammed into a furnace and given the barest of ceremonies? How angry am I supposed to get at this? Eventually don’t I become the problem if I keep getting the same results and refuse to take it in stride?
Some asshole is going to tell you who is to blame for all of the happenings this year. They’re going to act like you don’t know what you are doing. It will be as if you haven’t looked incompetence in the face for a decade and a half. Don’t listen to them. This does not mean that you’re right. You might be just as much of an asshole as the next guy, but you’ve earned the right to be that asshole. Don’t let anyone take that right from you. These are dangerous times filled with false prophets that seek to warp the mind. The only way through it is to use your own brain. Move cautiously.
We’ve all been here before. We know the difference between real heartbreak and sports heartbreak. We know what losing is and how hard it can be to feel disappointed once again. You and I don’t need someone telling you how you should feel about all of this. You feel how you want to feel about this mess of the team we all love and we will all leave it at that. As far apart as we may be in analysis, attitude, and grace, we all end up coming back together on Sundays in the fall. Why? Maybe because we are suckers. Probably because even though there are times we can’t stand each other and we would never admit this, we actually like being around each other during these things. There is that off-chance that the Bills win now and again, and that can make it worth it.
The Bills are about as bad a sports franchise as you can find. Their owner is four seconds from death. They play a game in the city most likely to poach them at their own initiative. They lose constantly. No one respects them. Bleak doesn’t cover the half of it. It is about as cold and empty as space itself. But even when you think there is nothing, there is something. There is us. We. We are here to share this misery together. It is what we do best. Trials and obstacles form bonds that are difficult to break. We sit here and remember the few good times we’ve had with this franchise—the residual heat of excitement and hope. We float through the ether with those residuals keeping us around. We drift through the blackness on hope.
Here is to hoping. Cheers.