As most of you know, the authors of this blog are ex-pats, uplifted from their roots and currently living in or around New York City. However, I am not "technically" from Buffalo or it's surrounding suburbs. I grew up 50 miles South of Buffalo in a tiny village/farm-town whose only claim to fame is one quasi-celebrity and one quasi-pro-athlete. It was a great little place to grow up in, but for the longest time when asked where I was from, my reponse was "Buffalo". There is rarely a person in New York City who knows where the hell Franklinville is, so Buffalo is the easiest answer. Yet Buffalo is a place I have always identified with. I mean since there was NOTHING in my town, Buffalo was where my family and friends traveled for shopping, entertainment, and anything else non-cow related.
Most importantly, Buffalo was where my teams were. The Bills and the Sabres were the real reasons I identified with Buffalo. Sure, I spent time on Chippewa partying....after I turned 21 of course (Hi Mom). I wasted countless hours roaming the Walden Galleria. I tried weekly to convince my parents to take me to Duff's or Anchor Bar. But the teams were my true love. These teams as it turns out, or more importantly their fans are one of the main reasons I am still living in the Tri-State area. Confused?
Enter June 2004, and I was on my way to New York City. I had a couch at my best friend's apartment in Queens, a couple grand in the bank, and absolutely zero job prospects, but I figured what the fuck; let's do this. The problem? I had no idea what "this" was. I eventually found a shitty job that paid enough to get a decent enough apartment but life in the city was not exactly for me. I had a few friends here, but damnit I missed Western New York. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just missed it. I was seriously considering calling it quits and heading back home. Maybe I wasn't meant to be here and needed to be within driving distance to Mighty Taco or Jim's Steak-Out. I was about to start looking in to leaving New York, and then it happened:
I don't think I have ever told anyone this, but if it was not for McFadden's I would not be here. I was sick and tired of New York and having that little taste of Buffalo/Western New York once a week saved me from leaving. I just needed a fix. A $20 all you can eat and drink fix with total strangers who had the same passion that I had. I met people there that I am still friends with today. My girlfriend and I actually became an official "couple" after I took her to McFadden's a few years ago. I kid you not. Drunk and in our matching Poz Jersey's, we declared our admiration for each other and made it happen. You can't make this shit up.
This past year, despite the fact that the Bills are a terrible franchise, I decided to grab a couple of friends and go back for old times sake. It was like I never missed a game. The Bills slaughtered the Bengals and the only difference was the celebratory drinks at the end of the game. Instead of a SoCo and Lime shot, it was a 12 year Macallan's (Thanks Nate).
I distinctly remember my college friend Dri telling me to come hang out with her at some bar on the Upper East Side called Kinsale Tavern because her boyfriend was bartending there. She promised he would put the Sabres game on because they had the NHL package. So I called up one of my high school buddies who now lived in the city and a couple of friends I had met at a bar during the playoffs the previous season and we decided that this place was a prime spot for our hockey needs. In fact, Dri even said that there was a couple of lunatics that were coming in for almost every single game that season anyways, so they always had the game on. Enter The Yachtsman and The Apologist. A bond was formed.
These teams bring people together. Yeah this Pegula thing might be a bit over-played, and maybe we are a biiiiiit too confident as fans heading into this first round match-up, but damnit doesn't this feel great right now? I know both teams have broken all of our hearts insurmountable times, but when it comes down to it it's not just about the teams, its about the people you watch these teams with. Those people are WNYers, and they are fucking phenomenal. Corny cliche finished. Enjoy the series everybody and look for round two of the DGWU Sports podcast next week! OOOH! AAAH! SABRES ON THE WARPATH!!!!
Sidenote: Watching the game toninght at Kinsale (like old times) on 93rd and 3rd. Stay tuned to find out where else you can join DGWU Sports to watch the playoffs!