A Bills Fan's Take on the Sabres

I’ve dedicated my Buffalo fandom to the Bills. I watch every game, follow every transaction, and literally bleed red and blue. Being a Buffalo native, my hockey team of choice is obviously the Sabres. But I cannot lie. I am no big fan of hockey. I wish I was, I’ve just never gotten into the game. Therefore, I’m your “sure, the Sabres sound fine” kind of fan. I get notifications on my phone following all their games, but I rarely pay much attention to them. I could tell you that they’re in last place, but only because my Twitter feed is littered with #EmbraceTheTank. I’m no die-hard fan. I could only name you a handful of players from the team. I could count the number of games I’ve watched on my own two hands. But as a Buffalo native and a Bills fan I understand the passion that the true, unwavering Sabres fans hold for the team. I’m jealous of it, consistently wishing I more thoroughly enjoyed hockey. I envy the camaraderie that Sabres fans hold, knowing just how good it feels from being a Bills fans. And above all I respect it. But if I’m not being too intrusive, I think as a Bills fan I may have something valuable to share.   

Sure, the Bills look like they’re turning things around, possibly poised for the playoffs. We may be nearing the end of the dark, dark tunnel, heading towards the light of the future. But we were bad for a long time. Like, 15 years long. Take it from a fan of a team that consistently settled for mediocrity: If you’re going to suck, suck for something. The Bills have missed the playoffs for 15 years straight. The only thing that stung more than an early end to every season was not using that mediocrity as a stepping-stone to better days. There is no nobility in finishing in missing the playoffs but not getting a great draft pick. You can’t hang your hat on the future without working to improve it. Imagining the sunny days to come is only a pipe dream until you’re willing to be proactive, making a change towards progress.

Until recent years the Bills consistently missed in the draft, never truly improving the team. Even when they did make good picks, there were obviously still better players taken earlier. I love cornerback Stephon Gilmore. He is a shutdown corner and extremely valuable to our defense. But if I could do the 2012 draft over again (remembering that hindsight is 20-20) I would probably #SuckForLuck. A player of Luck’s caliber can’t even be quantified rightfully. From what I’ve heard, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are in similar company.

If you’re going to suck, suck for something. Suck for the right reason. Suck for the greater good. Suck for your fans, the true ones that will love you through the sure to be painful process. Suck for Luck, Tank for McEichel. This isn’t an effort to convert anyone over to Team Tank, that train has left. If you’re not on board with The Tank, well it seems the boat has left without you. The only thing left to do is accept it. But just know, as a Bills fan at least, there is value in being wonderfully terrible.

I’m not exactly a close friend of the Hockey Gods. I’m sure they don’t even know I exist since I’ve turned my back, at least halfway, on their sport. But as a general fan of sports and the mystical, Jonathon Toews two goals in 37 seconds seemed like a sign. A sign that whether you like it or not, The Tank is near completion. But more importantly, it was a sign of better days to come.