5 Confilicting Feelings At The End Of The Season

1. I’m really sad that the season is over. I’m going to desperately miss Sabres hockey during this long offseason. The Sabres in their current incarnation are….not that good, but I’m still going to miss them.

2. I was pretty stunned by how depressing it was to see the Sabres lose last night. I mean, we’ve spent the entire season on the outside of the playoff picture, and yet, there was a large part of me that was genuinely shocked to see the season come to an official end. I didn’t even realize how much I still believed that a miracle was on the way. My capacity for hope, enthusiasm, and optimism took me by surprise this year.

3. I believe the Sabres will be better next year, I really do, but over the last few days it has come into sharp focus how we as fans have no control over any of this, and it has left me questioning the whole enterprise. I’ve read a lot of analysis of the Sabres in the last two days. Some of it is angry, some of it is hopeful, some of it is “the sky has fallen” some of it is “just wait until next year”. For a gal who writes a hockey blog, I have remarkably little interest in dissecting the season. How odd that I’m willing to place so much emotion and energy into a team, but when it comes time to take a look at what happened, my entire attitude is “Meh. It is what it is.” What it “is” SUCKS ASS, but so does a lot of stuff. I’ve spent more time fretting about the Sabres this year than I ever thought possible, but it’s sort of a relief to discover I still have the ability to shrug my shoulders and say, “What are ya going to do? It’s just a game.” (Except for when I think about Crunchy’s upcoming free-agency. When I think too hard about Crunchy’s contract I can’t sleep….or breathe. Hee.)

4. Everyone keeps saying, “It’s good they will miss the playoffs. Squeaking in would have given them a false sense of accomplishment. This failure will be good for them in the long run,” and “They would have been demolished in the first round.” I absolutely agree with both of those statements…..and yet. I fell in love with hockey during the playoffs last year. I’m incredibly disappointed that I don’t get to see my first hockey team play in the playoffs. I know, I know, they would have been destroyed by either Montreal or Pittsburgh in the first round. I don’t care. I refuse to budge on this one. I feel personally cheated by the short season.

5. This team, for all of their faults and inadequacies is my first team, and no matter what, I will always remember them fondly. Several times this season I have tried to express my odd gratitude about the current state of the Sabres, and I’ve never felt I was able to make myself clear. I’ll try again: I jumped on board with this sport as a bandwagoner last spring, but this gnarly season has afforded me the opportunity to earn some baby stripes as a real fan. This was no kind of season for the bandwagon fan, and I’m proud to say that my love of hockey and of the Sabres only grew as the season progressed. Furthermore, I’m not sorry that due to this lost season, history will separate this Sabres team from the teams that came before. I like that any future Sabres success will be a result of something that happens in the future. I’ve missed a lot of Sabres hockey, but I guarantee, from now on, I’ll be there. Hopefully, the best is yet to come.

Let Go Buff-a-lo!

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38 Responses to “5 Confilicting Feelings At The End Of The Season”


  1. 1 facefirstintotheboards April 4, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    oh Katebits.. I love reading your blog! Your endless enthusiasm and hopefullness is inspiring.

    and yes, there is something super special about your first team because, no matter what happens, no matter who comes or goes, THESE guys will always be your first and that’s special. I remember my first team- the 1994 Vancouver Canucks. They made it all the way to game 7 of the finals and then lost. it was heartbreaking (and the most watched stanely cup game EVER) and I couldn’t sit through the game. I have it on tape somewhere and have never watched it since but kept it anyway.

    so I guess what I was saying in that ramble is that there will be other Sabres teams and perhaps other other teams that you will like ane even love, but nobody will ever be the same as your first hockey team. ahh..

    Do keep blogging during the offseason, we’d miss you too much!

    and I have to say that I adore your game posts. the pictures are the best part.

    thanks for sharing your new-found hockey love with us.

    and thanks for letting me post long wandering comments. :)

  2. 2 Schnookie April 4, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Katebits, this is a fantastic post. I really think you’ve done a great job this season capturing what it feels like to be a new fan, and that’s something that everyone can relate to. I’ve found a lot of inspiration here as I’ve dealt with a frustrating season from the Devils, as you’ve reminded me often of the reasons why we become fans in the first place.

    (Oh, and it should be said — the Sabres are lucky to have you! :D)

  3. 3 Heather B. April 4, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Kate, you have earned MORE than a few baby stripes this season. Well done! I’m so proud of you! :-D

  4. 4 Katebits April 4, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Sam, thanks! I am totally going to try to keep blogging during the offseason. Next year feels a loooong way away though. I’m sure I’ll be desperate for new material in a few weeks.

    Schnookie and Heather (and Pookie too), TWC wouldn’t exist without you guys! Thanks for ushering me through the first year. (Heather, you have been a stupendous Sabres mentor. I’d be dead without you I think. :P)

  5. 5 Pookie April 4, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I’ve missed a lot of Sabres hockey, but I guarantee, from now on, I’ll be there. Hopefully, the best is yet to come.

    clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap
    clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap
    clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap

    Thank you for writing such an honest blog about what it’s like to be a fan. Being a fan doesn’t mean you have to analyze every game like a pro; it doesn’t mean you even have to have an opinion one way or another on whether the team should have offered Drury x dollars for y years. Being a fan means caring about what touches your heart, and as you’ve so clearly shown this season, your fancy. This year of TWC stands as a window on what it’s like to be a fun, funny, intelligent, and most importantly, caring fan. I can’t wait to see what the next years will bring!

    thanks for sharing your new-found hockey love with us.

    Seconded!

  6. 6 Katebits April 4, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks Pookie! :D

    (I was toooootally feeling pathetic tonight. You guys are cheering me right up!)

  7. 7 Patty (in Dallas) April 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I wish I had been able to express my first year as a fan as well as you have.

    This was no kind of season for the bandwagon fan, and I’m proud to say that my love of hockey and of the Sabres only grew as the season progressed.

    That’s the kind of love that won’t easily be shaken. You can look forward to many years of being a real fan, and hopefully, you’ll be able to see the other end of the spectrum really soon.

  8. 8 alix April 4, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    This is a wonderful post. Especially the bit about your “first” team. I totally felt the same way last year. And it’s probably why I’m going to be a blubbering mess when Nazzy and Trev leave. Nazzy was my first captain, and Trev was my first old, cagey vet, who you just wanted the other guys to help win a Cup so badly.

  9. 9 Shari April 4, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Someday, we’ll look back on the last few years and have great memorys of watching hockey. We’ll see replays and say, I remember that goal, or that hit and sometimes even remember where we watched that game. And when I think about it, I’ll definetly remember this blog as being a big part of those memorys.
    Oh, and……THEY’RE FREEING TEPPO TOMARROW!!!!

  10. 10 Katebits April 4, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Aw, thanks Patty. See! Stars fans and Sabres fans, supporting each other! The blogosphere is so beautiful! :P

    Alix, I hope your guys stay with the Canucks. (You’ve made me want an old cagey vet! Once Teppo was gone we had no one!)

    Shari, thank you for including TWC in your memories of hockey. That is an incredibly nice compliment. Thanks you so much for reading!

  11. 11 mcguffers April 4, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Okay Katebits, I have to tell you the story of how I found this most amazing blog:

    I have a Google search box in my Tool bar that tries to guess what you’re searching for based on popular searches. Like if you type in sar, a drop menu appears with Sara Beilles, Sarah Marshall, Sars, sarcoidosis, etc until it matches what you’re typing. So I was typing in Brian Campbell one day to see how the trade situation was going. The third or fourth option down was “Brian Campbell Girlfriend.” After about five minutes of laughing hysterically trying to figure out who in the holy hell was searching for Brian Campbell’s girlfriend, I had to go through and see what websites came up for Brian Campbell’s girlfriend. The first one was that weirdo board where girls claim they’ve slept with the players (honestly, who came up with that?). The Willful Caboose was one of the search results. I honestly don’t remember which post it was that I saw, but it had me rolling and I’ve been hooked ever since.

    I love hockey, and I LOVE the Sabres, but what I love most is sharing experiences with other hockey fans. Katebits, you and everyone that I’ve met through this site has totally made this season a blast!

    Oh, and I never got the chance to say that I love how you used my pictures of baby goose and puppy pommerdoodle. Well, not “my” pictures, but ya know.

  12. 12 Katebits April 4, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Hee! I can assure you that based on my site statistics, many a person has discovered TWC by googling “Player X girlfriend”. :P

    Mcguffers you have been a delightful addition to the cast of characters rattling around TWC! I’m so glad Brian Campbell brought you here! (Also, I didn’t realize that “mcguffers” was the name of the person who sent me the Baby Goose picture! Thanks again for that one!)

  13. 13 alix April 5, 2008 at 12:29 am

    “Alix, I hope your guys stay with the Canucks. (You’ve made me want an old cagey vet! Once Teppo was gone we had no one!)”

    Cagey vets are da bomb! I’m sure Trev will somehow be working for the Canucks, so we’re not losing him completely. And he hasn’t outright said he’s retiring, so he might surprise us yet. I Hope Teppo comes back for you!

  14. 14 Destiny April 5, 2008 at 12:42 am

    I’ve enjoyed reading this a whole lot, I really do hope you keep posting over the offseason! If anything we can speculate how our boys are spending their time off, haha! I like your game analysis, you put a unique spin on it and it’s fun to read, even when the Sabres lose!

    I’m glad you enjoyed your first whole season as a hockey fan, here’s to many more. :-)

  15. 15 Glenn April 5, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Kate, this year has been a journey for BOTH of us as new hockey fans. Part of me wants to look back on the season and identify the moment that foretold the playoff loss to be when I wasn’t chosen as MC. (just kidding….) I never thought in a million years that I would ever do anything like that….such is the power of baby fandom.

    But seriously, one of the things that I really loved about this year’s hockey season was how much I found that we as professional musicians have in common with professional athletes. Art vs. entertainment….the game of hockey vs. the business of hockey…..we are small muscle athletes and they are , well, LARGE muscle athletes….on and on. The Sabres have really made Buffalo feel like home to me….how cool is that?!

  16. 16 Meg April 5, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Part of me wants to look back on the season and identify the moment that foretold the playoff loss to be when I wasn’t chosen as MC. (just kidding….)

    Well that was a travesty… ;)

    I’m so glad you became a Sabres fan and a Sabres blogger, Kate. For the purely selfish reason that I’ve gotten to enjoy your hilarious posts.

  17. 17 Shari April 5, 2008 at 10:38 am

    But seriously, one of the things that I really loved about this year’s hockey season was how much I found that we as professional musicians have in common with professional athletes.

    Well…. for the guys? Chics man.

  18. 18 Jennifer April 5, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Kate, thanks for the GREAT posts and I, too, hope that you keep it up, even during the offseason. Perhaps you could speculate periodically on what each of the players have been up to, like maybe Pommerdoodle will finally get his shot in a dog show and win the blue ribbon, Goose will save the planet and accomplish world peace, etc.

    I also became a Sabres fan right before the playoffs last year, because of a friend of mine. I knew NOTHING about hockey, but he told me how great they were and I started watching and was immediately hooked. I’ve been hooked ever since, even though this season has been a trying one, I still love these guys. Living in Virginia, many people ask me why I like the Sabres and I honestly can’t tell them why, I don’t know why, they certainly haven’t done great things this season to earn my love, but I’m just drawn to them and I’m glad to say that even after the season that they’ve had, I’m still a fan!

    I’m convinced that next season WILL be the SEASON OF THE SABRES!

    YAY! Teppo’s gonna get to come back!!!!!

  19. 19 Erin April 5, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Hey Kate,

    I waited a little bit to leave a comment about ‘the end of the season’ because I had a lot I wanted to say. I think I’ve distilled it a little bit.

    Kate, I emailed you earlier in the year to tell you how much I like your blog. Maybe you’ll remember that I thought it was so cool that we had a similar situation. Both 30-or-so year old ladies who magically, inexplicably get into hockey. So needless to say, I’ve been reading TWC religiously and being really jealous of your humor and talent even since then.

    I thought I was going to cry on Wednesday when our playoff hopes ended, but I bravely kept it together, and I’ve already made plans to help tide me over until we have a new, shiny, pink season starting in the fall. BUT- I’m a little worried.

    See, I didn’t start watching hockey last year when things were going to well for the Sabres, and then the whole Co-Captains mess happened. I really got into it after going to my first game this year, so this is really, really, my first team, and I’m worried that when the team inevitably has new faces in the fall that I will have a hard time accepting them as part of the family. Is this crazy?

    And on another note, I’m so tired of all of the Thibault bashing!!! Listen, I GET IT, but I feel bad for the guy. He didn’t exactly get a chance to show what he was made of.

    Hopefully, the game tonight will at least be fun to watch. I’m going to have a little celebration, bake a cake and enjoy the ritual of watching the game. I really hope that Thibault has a great game! (not sure why I always want to defend him)

    Since I’m new at this, when can I mark my calendar to start looking for the schedule for next season?

    Erin

  20. 20 Jaime April 5, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I just want to commend you on a great wrap up of your feelings about the Sabres. I can distintly recall the moment I fell in love with this team. It was way back in 1996 and I only went to the game because we had free tickets in one of the suites. I remember afterwards wanting to live, eat, breathe, talk hockey all the time and there was no one with the same level of obsession.

    This season was not one of great moments but when something aggravating, funny, heartening, I would think to myself, “What will Kate have to say about this?” So even though I still don’t have a live face-to-face person to discuss all of this with, it’s nice knowing I’ll get some Sabres talk that makes me think, “That’s totally what I was thinking!!”

    Can’t wait for next season already… We’re gonna win that Cup! We’re gonna win that Stanley Cup! Me and my Buffalo Sabres, yeah, yeah, yeah!!

  21. 21 Blitzen April 5, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Kate,

    Your blog is unquestionably among the top three stars in the blogosphere for your insights, the writing quality and the quirky ways you find to look at things. I have referred your site to many.

    I moved from junior hockey love to include the NHL in my fan-heart last year like you when the Sens were doing so well and like you, I have found it hard to keep it up through the free fall. We can’t even point to things like marquee player losses and cheap management. The emotional swings you shared were like my own – only much better expressed.

    I agree with folks who think that missing the playoffs entirely is better than sqweeking in and getting trounced – badly – which is what is in store for us.

    Good reflection on the season. Looking forward to your posts in the future as signings, trades and drafts take place.

    Things to keep you curious….what’s happening with the Rochester Americans and Yellow 19? I understand that Buffalo is severing ties and that the contract for Yellow 19 (Mark Mancari) will be done. What’s going to happen with the kids on the farm? Intrigue, mystery, drama and high tension. Things only you can make sense of for us.

    Take care – it’s been a blast sharing the season with you.

  22. 22 Katie April 5, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    *New reader alert!!*

    Hi, Katebits! I found this blog a few weeks ago, and I just wanted to say that I’m so glad that I did! This season has been so hard for all of us Sabres fans, but thanks to you we could at least laugh through the pain.

    I wasn’t exactly sure what to say for my first comment, but this post really spoke to me. I still have vivid memories of my first team, the 1999 Sabres and my captain Michael Pecca. I will always remember the 10-year-old me in tears after Brett Hull’s big foot wound up in our crease. Sometimes it feels like things haven’t changed that much…

    If nothing else, I’m happy that your first team was such a great group of Sabres, who we all know will come back even stronger next season!

  23. 23 DS April 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    It’s not over, you know. There’s still something to play for. ;)

    As I reiterated over at Heather B’s, PLEASE, please, pleeeeeeeeeease beat Boston tonight!

    Do you know how hilarious it would be be to make the Sens play the Caps and/or Joe Corvo first round? And with the Southeast team having the higher seed yet?? It’s like some kind of Bizarro fantasy of the world as it was back in December.

  24. 24 Katebits April 5, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Aww, what a wonderful collection of comments to come home to after work.

    Destiny, I’m going to do my best to keep at it this summer!

    Glenn, I’m pretty sure that if you lined up a bunch of BPO musicians and Sabres the average person wouldn’t be able to tell one group from the other. That’s how similar we all are! We’re practically twinsies! :P

    Meg, you rock.

    Jennifer and Erin, it’s totally fascinating to me that there are fellow new fans reading TWC. I don’t know about you, but I kind of feel like hockey cast a spell over me this year. :D

    Jaime, THE SABRES ARE GOING ALL THE WAY NEXT YEAR!

    Blitzen, thanks for sticking around all year with TWC! You will always have a special place in the TWC history books for being one of the first commenters that I didn’t know in real life….and a Sens fan to boot! I’m so sorry that the Sens are torturing their fans this way. Hopefully the Ottawa 67s are treating you a little better.

    Yay, Katie! Welcome, and thanks for reading TWC! You’re right, they WILL come back stronger next year. (They better. Heh.)

  25. 25 Katebits April 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    DS, you make a good point! I no longer have the mental capacity (or the motivation, frankly) to absorb the playoff implications of tonight’s games, but I agree Caps vs. Sens would be fun. (Just brace yourself, though. The Sabres are tossing all the non-regulars on the ice tonight. I think Lindy wants the Bruins to win. :P)

  26. 26 DS April 5, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    (If anyone’s not familiar = Caps v. Sens = hilarious because the Caps already swept the Sens this year, and this was when the Sens were scary and the Caps were irrelevant. Besides, just think what kind of bet involving nukes George Bush and Stephen Harper would have to make. :P)

    Psshhh, Kate, c’mon! You don’t know who Boston’s playing, either! I’m calling a hat trick for Teppo. Or…a hat trick of assists for Teppo. :P

  27. 27 Blitzen April 5, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    My 67s were swept in the first round by phenom John Tavares (you’ll hear more about him in the 2009 NHL draft likely) and the rest of the Oshawa Generals. *sigh*

    But on the up-side the Gatineau Olympiques (just across the Ottawa River) are playing the evil Quebec Rempart (surely you heard the bruhaha around Patrick Roy and his son) in the second round of their league playoffs. The ‘piques lead the series 1-0. They’re my junior team for the rest of the season.

    As for the NHL – I’ll back the Habs once the Sens are bounced.

    Are you going to follow any team in particular through the playoffs?

  28. 28 Amy April 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Kate, what an awesome entry. Its been so much fun reading your thoughts about hockey and how the team has performed this year. Thank you for making me laugh on an almost daily basis.

    I’m pretty sure that if you lined up a bunch of BPO musicians and Sabres the average person wouldn’t be able to tell one group from the other. That’s how similar we all are! We’re practically twinsies!

    If the writers of CSI and Two and A Half Men can switch places for a day, why can’t the Sabres and the BPO?

  29. 29 Meg April 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    The ‘piques lead the series 1-0. They’re my junior team for the rest of the season.

    Neat. Cheer extra hard for Byron since he’s a Sabres prospect. :) (They do love to draft their itty bitty players)

  30. 30 danielleia April 5, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Agree Agree Agree with everything you all said!!! This completely sums up what I wanted to say [props]…

    “I love hockey, and I LOVE the Sabres, but what I love most is sharing experiences with other hockey fans. Katebits, you and everyone that I’ve met through this site has totally made this season a blast!”

    It’s awesome getting to know other fans and feeling this sort of community togetherness for the Sabres [and other teams/everyday life things]. People of all ages coming together as well :) Sometimes you just think of a certain game or moment then immediately have this inside joke. Also, when something sucks we laugh it off. It’s just flat out fun and I’m glad you’ve made this blog KB! We love it!

    P.S. I feel like someone just died and we’re all just sitting around a table reminiscing of past memories. hahahaha! Which I suppose is not far from the truth… ehh?! One more to go, I’m having some good feelings about this. We can only Ruin the Bruins now. heh.

  31. 31 Jennifer April 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    “The Sabres are tossing all the non-regulars on the ice tonight.”

    Knowing the Sabres and this weird season, tonight will be the night that they play a perfect game and beat Boston, like 25-0. Petey will probably get the hat-trick.

  32. 32 Katie April 5, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    “Knowing the Sabres and this weird season, tonight will be the night that they play a perfect game and beat Boston, like 25-0. Petey will probably get the hat-trick.”

    This is exactly what I was thinking! My sister and I were just saying how funny it would be if T-Bo got a shutout! And I would love to see Petey’s celebration if he ever got a hat-trick!

    I think Lindy should try out some new line combos for tonight – maybe something unexpected like Petey with Roy-Z and Vanek. Or he could put Pommerdoodle back with Goose and add Bear to their line – we could have our own zoo!

  33. 33 kathee April 5, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Kate, I have to add to the love fest in here, too. I started reading regularly because your humor is just like mine, we became fans at about the same time, and I am a thirty something chick too.

    You cannot leave us all alone over the summer just because there aren’t any actual games being played. We NEED to discuss possible Pommerdoodle action and Goose sightings at length!

  34. 34 Shari April 5, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiff! Danielleiea you made me almost cry!

  35. 35 Jennifer April 5, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    3-0 shutout, maybe Lindy should have mixed it up earlier in the season. And is it just me or was Buffalo playing a much more physical game tonight, smart, but physical.

    YEAH, T-Bone!

  36. 36 DS April 5, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    *hysterical laughter goes here*

    Buffalo, you’re AWESOME!!!!

    …wow. FOUR??? effin’ hat tricks for Vanek this year?

  37. 37 facefirstintotheboards April 5, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    one thing I forgot about-

    how cool it is to have other people to talk about hockey with as a new fan!

    When I discovered hockey- late in the 1993-94 season, and during the playoffs, it was my sister and myself. our newspaper didn’t care much about hockey, and no one we knew was really interested. We had no internet so it was just us. I went out that summer and bought every hockey card and magazine I could get my hands on. It was fun but lonely.

    I love love love how we can chat it up with other local and far away hockey fans with the touch of a button or two! And I also love finding other people just as into hockey as I am- like Katebits here!

    just more sentimental ramblings I guess, end of seasons do that to me.

    and Alix, I got into hockey when Linden was the young Captain trying to hold his team on his shoulders. now he’s the cagey vet back for his.. 2nd or is it 3rd tour of duty with his team? You make me feel OLD!

  38. 38 danielleia April 5, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    “local and far away hockey fans”

    YEAH! I love that! Not just Buffalo fans.

    DS… we love you, too.

    [WOO VANEK AND JT!]


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