Archive for May, 2010

6 Things

1. You guys, I am LOVING basketball right now.  I know.  It’s WEIRD and WONDERFUL.  Hockey has been getting me down, and just when I thought I’d turn off the television for the summer, I found the basketball playoffs.  Basketball is this whole other sport, with teams I know nothing about, and unlike baseball, I don’t have to watch hundreds of games before it gets exciting.  Basketball is already in the PLAYOFFS.  The teams are trying as hard as they can right now. The NBA is my new broad-shouldered boyfriend.

2. If I wasn’t already disinterested in the Stanley Cup Finals before, I sure am now.  The space-out scheduling is KILLING me.  At some point in the last week, my brain flipped to “summer” and summer does not have hockey.  So, see ya in October, NHL.

3. I’m mostly kidding.  I’ll probably keep one eye on the NHL Finals, but I doubt I’ll enjoy them.  You see, I just haven’t warmed to either of these teams.  I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I don’t like the Blackhawks.  They think they’re so cute and they get on my nervies.   And the Flyers…

4. …I thought I was prepared for the Flyers to win the Eastern Conference, but it turns out I wasn’t.  I don’t hate the Flyers like  the rest of Buffalo.  Honestly, I don’t hate them at all.  Sure, they’re gross, but so are a lot of teams.  My feelings about the Flyers are personal.  You see, I lived in Philadelphia for four years.  I like Philly, and I like Philadelphians.  The truth is, I’m seething with jealousy. I can’t bring myself to cheer for the Flyers because I cannot claim them as my own, but they’re just too close.  I don’t particularly enjoy cheering against Philadelphia, but I’m too jealous to enjoy their success.  Basically, the Flyers make me really uncomfortable.  EFF THE FLYERS.

5. ALSO, EFF THE BLACKHAWKS.  (Do you see my dilemma?)

6. Here is my new baby.  It’s a flower garden!  Just LOOK at all these luscious flowers!

I know what you’re thinking right now.  You’re thinking, “I am seething with jealousy.  Katebits’ flower garden is so magnificent that it makes me uncomfortable.”

All I can say is, I’m sorry.  I didn’t intend to grow such an intimidating garden, but I guess I just couldn’t help it.  I’m too good at gardening.  I’m just too good.

Weird Little Post

You guys, I have tried SO HARD, and SO MANY times to write about the Sabres in the last month, but seriously, I CAN’T do it.  I’m tempted to say I’ve got nothing, but I don’t really think that’s true.  The truth is that I have a ton to say about the Sabres, but I’m having big-time trouble organizing my thoughts into coherent sentences and paragraphs.  All of my attempts at writing serious posts about the Sabres have wound up sounding like the ramblings of a crazy person. I’m like Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind,” but without the genius.  Now, I’ve got no problem admitting that I’m a crazy person.  I think we can all agree that I am, in fact, loonytunes….but still.  Thinking about the Sabres right now makes me feel even crazier than normal, and that’s not okay with me.

But, I have been trying.  Here’s a screenshot of my draft folder in WordPress.  These are the titles of unfinished posts I’ve tinkered with since the Sabres lost to the Bruins.

As you can see, I’ve been a little confused.  The only text in the “An Overwhelming Sense of Whatevs” post is a single question mark.   (Maybe I should have published that one.)

So, I guess my Sabres-thoughts are still percolating.  Or, maybe the bottom line is simply this: I hope the Sabres are better next year than they were this year.  I hope that next year, we win the Cup.  I seriously don’t care who is on the team, or who is the general manager, or who is the coach.  I just hope that next season is awesome.

Also, “next season” can start tomorrow, and that would be cool with me.

Trickery

I’ve been disturbed recently by a new phenomenon that is plaguing NHL hockey.  I’m speaking, of course, of how real hockey is looking more and more like video game hockey.  I think it’s a sad day when the NHL bows to the pressures of the gaming industry by inserting obviously computer generated players into otherwise real hockey.

Hell, Dominic Moore looks a little fake too now that I look at him.

Mike-Rowe-a-Palooza

Wow.  I had no idea about Mike Rowe’s QVC past.  At Matt’s strong suggestion, I just looked it up on YouTube, and whoa.  What can I say?  This is amazing and wonderful.

Here we have Mike Rowe selling a crinkly bag for a cat.  And yes, it’s exactly as awesome as it sounds.

This next video demonstrates Mike Rowe’s ability to effortlessly turn any nearby woman into a giggling mess.  There is NO WAY I could pitch Dickies in front of Mike Rowe without really a lot of giggling.  Could anyone do this with a straight face?

Here’s Mike Rowe selling little ceramic cherubs.  Why is this so awesome?  Because it’s Mike Rowe.

Here’s Mike Rowe picking on the Dickie’s lady again.  He’s relentless.

What have we learned here today?  Well, not much, except that if you search “Mike Rowe qvc” on YouTube, you’re likely to get lost down the rabbit hole for at least an hour.

4 Things

1. I don’t tend to notice the crowd cheers during hockey broadcasts, but last night, riiight as Doc Emrick was saying, “And now you hear the ‘Let’s go Sharks’ chant,” I was cringing and thinking, “Are they chanting, ‘Let’s go Sha-arks’ right now?  Because that’s NOT COOL.”  Turning a one syllable team name (Sharks) into two syllables (Sha-arks) in order to cram it into a cheer offends my sense of decency.  I know that Sabres fans are not always the most sophisticated bunch (we boo first, ask questions later), but we’re not animals, and I’d like to think we’d never do such a thing.

2. For some reason I’ve really been paying attention to those “Try out a Ford for a week” commercials with Mike Rowe.  I love me some Mike Rowe.  Doesn’t everyone?  He’s handsome and charming, which appeals to the ladies, but he’s also kind of a dude’s dude, so he appeals to the gentlemen.  I think everyone, man and woman, loves Mike Rowe.  But, have you noticed that the only people who try out a Ford for a week are women?  And then, after they swap their Camry for an Escape, the women stand next to the Ford, giggling about how much they love it while Mike Rowe flirts with them?  It’s kind of a hilariously simple ad campaign.  Women, buy a Ford because if you do, men like Mike Rowe will make you feel adorable!  Men, buy a Ford because if you do, the women in your life will look at you like they look at Mike Rowe.  They’ll be constantly giddy, and much more likely to dispense blowjobs.  Everyone wins!

3. (Heather, please turn away)

I do not understand why anyone (except Heather B) would suggest that the Sabres should sign Tallinder over Toni Lydman.  That’s nutty.  Yes, Hank had a good year, and yes, he has nice chemistry with Tyler Myers.  But you know what else Henrik Tallinder had this year?  A contract year. Don’t you guys remember how HARD he sucked last year AND the year before?  I’m sorry to say, but Hank can’t be trusted.

I would argue that Toni Lydman is every bit as valuable as Tallinder, but he’s MUCH less fragile, and he’s WAY more reliable.  You know what you’re going to get with Toni Lydman: hilariously dry interviews, reasonably solid no-nonsense defense, and a few truly atrocious mistakes every year. With Hank, you really have no idea what you’re going to get.

Now, if you want to argue that Darcy should sign Hank just to keep Heather happy, I’d be willing to listen to that.  Ain’t no one happy unless Heather B’s happy.

4. I’ve got the Suns/Lakers game on in the background right now (Let’s go Su-uns!), and they just showed Phil Jackson sitting on the sidelines.  It got me thinking- do you think Lindy ever wishes he could sit down during a game?  They should give him a little bar stool or something back there.  I bet he gets tired.

1 More Years! 1 More Years! 1 More Years!

Katebits: Oh hi, Mike Grier.
Mike Grier: Hi, Katebits.
Katebits: Congrats on the new contract.
Mike Grier: Thanks.
Katebits: Just admit it.
Mike Grier: Admit what?
Katebits: You love us.
Mike Grier: I’ll admit no such thing.
Katebits: (poking Mike Grier in the side) You loooove us.
Mike Grier: (batting Katebits away) Stop being foolish.
Katebits: (singing) Buffalo and Mike Grier, sitting in a tree.  K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  First comes love, then comes marria-
Mike Grier: Stop this at once!
Katebits: Okay, I’ll stop.  But I know the truth.
Mike Grier: …..(death glare)
Katebits: (under breath) You love us.
Mike Grier: Not true.
(pause)
(Mike Grier winks devilishly)
Katebits: I SAW THAT.  You winked.
Mike Grier: (sternly) Wrong.  That never happened.
Katebits: Okay, okay.  You don’t love us, and you never winked.  You’re the boss.
Mike Grier: Exactly.

2 Things

1. (Mike and Elise, please turn away)

I don’t think I realized how badly I wanted the Bruins to suffer until it happened.  Boy, did that feel good.  I don’t understand the people who say stuff like, “I want the team that knocks the Sabres out to do well, because at least then we know the Sabres lost to a genuinely good team.”  That kind of crazy talk is CRAZY, spoken by crazies who wear crazypants.  I don’t care what it says about the Sabres that they lost to a bunch of sucks like the Bruins.

Seeing the Bruins choke, and choke so spectacularly, filled my heart with pure joy, and it went a loooong way towards making the playoffs a safe-space again.  Catharsis, thy name is “Bruins, Epic Collapse.”

2. Not only was watching the Bruins good for my general disposition, but it somehow made me willing to think about the Sabres again.  Seeing the Bruins go out put a final bookend on the Sabres’ season.

When the Sabres first lost, I needed a break.  I didn’t want to think about them, and I didn’t want to analyze them, and I didn’t want to hear about them.  I stopped reading Sabres blog posts and articles, and I never got around to watching their exit interviews.  I simply wasn’t in the mood.  I wasn’t, like, devastated or furious, I was just done with the Sabres.

I so thoroughly tuned out the Sabres that the other day when I read something that referenced their powerplay I actually had a moment of, “HOLY CRAP, THE SABRES DIDN’T SCORE A SINGLE POWERPLAY GOAL IN THAT BOSTON SERIES!”.  I had literally forgotten, and I had the unfortunate experience of remembering.  The dark days of watching their futile powerplay feel like MONTHS ago.

But I’m slowly coming back.  I’m curious about the draft and free agency.  I’m regaining my interest in firing all the Sabres (or shooting them from a rocket into the sun).  I’m getting more and more willing to entertain outlandish trade proposals just for the fun of it on Twitter.

I’m back, baby!  (Maybe.)  (I dunno….we’ll see.)

Onward

After a lifetime of indifference to basketball, I’ve spent the last 24 hours rather obsessed with the curious case of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.  As a result of that drama, I’ve been either over-empathizing with Cleveland, or shamefully reveling in the opportunity to witness something so grim from a relatively safe distance.

I’ll probably write more about this topic in the future, but some days you just have to brush yourself off and try not to dwell on things that you don’t quite understand.  That’s how I feel about Buffalo/Cleveland and their tortured sports histories- I don’t quite understand it, I can’t claim it as my own history, and the whole thing is both alluring and horrifying.  I’m tempted to dig in and root around in these stories in an effort to find the beautiful, chewy center (I do believe that at the core of Buffalo sports fandom is something beautiful, and faith in that beauty is what attracts me to being a fan), but to get the heart of the matter will take many decades of research.  It can’t be rushed, and I’ve only just begun.

So, for today I’ll take a break from my hyper-conscious examination of “The History of Sports in the Rust Belt,” and carry-on as usual.  Trudging merrily along, willfully ignorant, a Buffalo sports fan in the making.

A Few Thoughts On the East

Remember a few days ago when I bitched that, “I hate the playoffs this year,” all pout-y like?

I was out gallivanting last night, so I didn’t watch either of the games, but when I saw the scores I got sucked right back in.  I think that’s one thing I should try to remember about the playoffs.   They take a million years to unfold, so there’s plenty of time to lose and then regain interest as the rounds progress.  I was so grossed out by the Sabres that it took me a few weeks to get back into “casual observer” mode, which is necessary if you are going to attempt to watch games played by teams that you largely hate.  Now that I’ve had a little period of time to recover from the Sabres, I’m pretty amused by the goings-on with the rest of the Eastern Conference.

What the heck is going on here?

Habs: I’m a Sabres fan, and a decent person, so I don’t really like the Habs, but dang it, those little guys are scrappy!   Unless you hate the Habs with a burning passion (I don’t), I think you have to be at least a little intrigued at this point.  I’m incredibly jealous of Canadiens fans.  Cheering for a team that is massively overachieving seems like one of the most appealing things in all of sports fandom.  What could be more fun than that?

(I feel compelled to make a small but totally embarrassing confession here.  This is DEFINITELY might just my playoff goggles talking, but I loooove me some Hal Gill.  He’s gigantic and handsome, and I know his nickname is “No Skill-Gill,” but I don’t care.  I like it when Hal Gill is happy and doing lots of interviews.  I also have a soft spot for Brian Gionta, which I’m not even TRYING to curb because I think a crush on Brian Gionta compliments a crush on Hal Gill very nicely.  It’s as if my playoff goggles are practicing Feng-shui.)

Flyers: Look, I know you guys hate the Flyers, and I’m certainly not in love with them or anything, but COME ON, you HAVE to be rooting for them at this point.  I know it burns to see the Flyers succeed, but try not to focus on that.  Just focus on how uncomfortable, freaked-out, and nervous the Bruins must be right now- poised at the precipice of complete collapse.  Don’t think of it as “cheering for the Flyers” think of it as “cheering for the humiliation of the Bruins, specifically Chara.”

_____

The great thing about the situation in the East is that no matter who emerges victorious, it’s safe to assume they’ll be completely demolished in the Finals.  So, while it feels dirty and wrong to cheer for any of the remaining teams, I think there’s very little risk of permanent psychological damage here.

So, fuck it.  Go Flyers!

Cleveland

Recently my friend Dinesh made a joke about how I’m a silly little innocent who doesn’t understand true sports pain because I grew up rooting for the Twins.

He’s right.

My only other true, with-all-my-heart sports rooting interest before I came to Buffalo was the Minnesota Twins.  As a small child, I cheered like all kids do, without really worrying too much about wins and losses.  I loved the Twins either way.  Then, in 1987 when I became old enough to crave wins (I was twelve), the Twins won the World Series, and then they did it again in 1991.  During my formative years, I saw the Twins lose plenty, but I never saw them lose a playoff series, and I saw them win the World Series twice.  So, my friend Dinesh is right.  I was spoiled as a child, and I don’t intrinsically understand how it feels experience a lifetime of sports fandom without ever seeing a championship.

Dinesh is from Cleveland, so he DOES understand true sports pain.  As he says about cheering for Cleveland sports and the expectation that eventually his team will lose, “It’s always something.”

For one reason or another, I’ve become temporarily transfixed by the drama occurring around LeBron James today.  I know almost nothing about basketball, so my interest in this is coming for a position of complete ignorance.   Last night I became intrigued when the tone of the LeBron discussion in my Twitter feed became dramatic and scathing.   As the game wound down, Bruce Arthur wrote, “This isn’t just a capitulation by LeBron. It’s not just a surrender. This is a betrayal.” Whoa.  That’s some hardcore losing.

So, I’ve spent the morning reading about LeBron James and the history of Cleveland sports, and my final conclusion is, “Holy crap, poor Cleveland fans….they’re like Buffalonians.”

I don’t feel comfortable closely identifying with the history of losing in Buffalo.  That history is not my true experience and to over-identify with it seems a little disengenuous, but I have gotten increasingly aware of “it” in recent years (heh) and I deeply empathize.  My empathy is in part selfish, because it’s for my future self.  After all, if things stay the course, eventually I will have a genuine history with Buffalo’s losing ways.

I’m curious about how born-and-bred Buffalonians feel about Clevelanders.  I feel a combination of deep deep sympathy, and also a little bit of petty, “Ha ha!  You guys never win either.  LOSERS.”  I’ll admit, the idea of the Cavaliers delivering a championship to Cleveland made me jealous, and sort of cranky.  But now that it’s looking so grim for the Cavs, and LeBron is about to become a free agent on top of everything else….boy.  Poor, poor Cleveland.  They don’t deserve that.

So, Buffalo.  How does Cleveland make you feel?  Sad?  Petty?  Happy?  Would it make you happy to see them win, or would it make you feel lonelier here in Buffalo?

Are Cleveland fans our brothers in pain, or are they the competition?


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

Observations 2
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In accordance with the Fair Use Copyright Law, The Willful Caboose uses logos and registered trademarks of the National Hockey League to convey my criticism and inform the public of the Sabres' suckitude/badassitude (whatever the case may be). Photos on The Willful Caboose are used without permission, but do not interfere with said owner's profit. If you own a specific image on this site and want it removed, please e-mail me (willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will be more than happy willing to oblige. (Special thanks to The Pensblog for their help with this disclaimer.)

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