–Jambaby, during Bills/Patriots game
On Sundays, I usually go gallivanting with my comrades on a masochistic Buffalo Bills adventure. But this week, I hunkered down with my 6 year old 1st Grader, aptly named “Jambaby” by The Continental, for an afternoon of simplicity, surprise and nostalgia. I was reminded of my earliest memory of the Buffalo Bills: the goalposts coming down in 1980 after beating Miami for the first time in 10 years. I too, was 6. This past Sunday vs. the New England Patriots, full circle? Well, we all know how that went. Ugh.
Here’s a #kidcommentary breakdown.
What the fuck. We’re so smart us adults, aren’t we?
Every Sunday, Mommy puts the game on and Jambaby keeps an eye on it. Every Sunday, I come home, all fucked up from my shenanigans and Jambaby talks about Spiller and interceptions. This happens every weekend. It’s so goddamned simple. Even before the Patriots game, kid says “If Spiller gets the ball and Fitzy doesn’t throw interceptions, they could win.” It’s like his mantra.
You’re wincing. I can feel it. You wanna bitch about Wanny and the D. But Jambaby isn’t concerned…
You see, 6 year olds don’t really give a shit about defense. I know I didn’t! The upside is that this makes this particular Bills team a great fit for Jambaby.
Six year olds care about winning, and you win by scoring. Simple. Unless it’s a huge play for or against the defense, the Jambaby just watches that 1st down line and enjoys a “bend, don’t break” philosophy. After every play the Patriots didn’t get a first down, he turns to me and says “That was good!” while I’m all facepalming and pissed. But watching through his eyes, devoid of context, every play IS an opportunity for the defense. Somewhere along the way I have learned NOT to take it one play at a time like the players do, and should. I get hung up on “the drive." Is my kid defending the defense? No. He just doesn’t give a fuck.
To that end, Jambaby doesn't blame the defense for the loss. He says we lost the game because “#11 ran the wrong way.” At least that’s what Dan Fouts said, and Daddy respects Dan Fouts (1980 Divisional Playoffs), so it’s obviously right. Everything that happened happened, and the whole game was right there in the #11 play. Simple.
In addition to the brilliantly obvious, yet adorably real game comments from my son, I was also smitten with the nostalgia and emotion brought on by the experience of watching the game with him. This new Father/Son game experience got me. Memories came pouring back.
Back in my day, at least, the games looked different....
REPLAYS - After the game, Jambaby was like “Daddy, would *this* be a catch? OR a drop? Or a fumble? Would *this* be a touchdown?” And he’s all contorting himself in super slow motion and shit. Even though slow motion has existed for a long time, I just don’t think I did that as much. A "catch" used to be a lot simpler to understand. Sure, it’s probably necessary for the league to want to get it right, but kinda sad, too.
HERO - Joe Cribbs didn’t have a Fred Jackson. They may have a problem here.
Yet, for all these changes, so much still remains the same....
DADS and SONS - October 9, 1983. Bills at Dolphins.
I’m 9 years old playing across the street at my friend Brian’s house. We’re upstairs digging though the Playboy collection in his Dad’s closet and the screaming starts downstairs. LOUD CURSING and CLANGING! Freaking out, we put back the mags and run downstairs, and there’s Brian’s dad, watching the game alone with about 67 empty beer bottles on the coffee table.
“FERGIE’S HOT, BOYS! FERGIE’S HOT!!!” And we settled in for an awesome 38-35 OT win in a game much like this last Patriots game. Well, sorta.
After watching this game, I think 1st Grade is just about the time to really start these kiddos with actually watching games. They can read enough, and follow the score independently. Get that Buffalo sports fan micro chip implanted... ‘cause odds are he ain’t gonna live here forever! The TV coverage is really good, and it’s all he’s getting for now… He’s not going to a regular season Bills game any time soon. After all, I was 8 at my first one, and I learned the word “pussy” that day:
October 25, 1981 -- “C’mon Smerlas, you PUSSY!”- Guy right behind us, every 2 minutes.
Luckily, on Sunday, Jambaby already knew the word “Shit." So we’re good. No harm done.
In the end, Sunday was lots of fun, even with the heart-wrenching result. Watching through a six year old's eyes can show you a lot about where we sometimes go wrong in following and supporting this team of ours, getting wrapped up in the list of things that go wrong week-to-week. Of course, none of this means that the defense doesn't suck or that Fitz doesn't enrage us or that we aren't allowed to say so. Even so, maybe there's fun to be had, even with a loss like Sunday's, if we watch and enjoy these games like kids.