A funny thing happened on the way to the Bills game this past weekend. Actually two funny things, which, in of itself, was a funny thing. Not once, but twice, while ambling on down the New York State Thruway, we saw a car pull over and a well-padded passenger disembark to visit some nearby woodlands, soon to be wetlands.
I hadn’t seen this scene in quite some time. At first, I wondered what would cause an obviously well working auto to suddenly yank itself to the shoulder of the road. After another slug of my Snapple, a thought popped into my head.
How far had these “relievers” been traveling? How much did they have to drink? Was there any doubt they were going to the game?
Once we got to the game – and despite the repeatedly failed attempts by the Bills to quell the quaffing – we meandered through the pleasantly, almost casually, inebriated parking lot crowd. It was a throwback crowd. It was happy – despite the repeatedly failed attempts by the Bills to win this season. It was proud. And, most especially, it was considerate.
Perhaps they felt our opponent represented the one NFL team more dysfunctional than the Bills. More likely, these ardent fans knew today they would taste victory – and they behaved like they’ve been there before.
Except for the guy who ran out onto the field at halftime and took a swan dive at the fifty yard line. Actually, he did behave like he had been there before. He obediently and passively allowed the bulking security guards to handcuff him. It was if he had performed this same role on a previous Sunday in some far distant past.
And the wet drizzling rain – it would have been one hum-dinger of a snowstorm had the temperature been twenty degrees lower – did not upset the crowd. Like the old days, these grizzled spectators acted like veteran Buffalonians – the weather merely a backdrop, something to wade through and never something to complain about.
But let’s go back to the “veteran” aspect. It’s my guess most of these ticket holders weren’t even born yet when the Bills drafted Jim Kelly. This was a new generation of Bills fans. And yet, they conducted themselves like the fans of an earlier era. They didn’t expect the Bills to lose. They didn’t care if the Lions drove relentlessly in route to a possible game-tying touchdown. They cheered. They never jeered.
And when the two-point pass sailed out of the endzone sealing the victory for the home team, they roared as if we just prevented Miami from beating us for the twenty-first straight time.
It was a funny feeling. It was a throwback feeling.
And it felt great.