Archive for March, 2012

Hiatus

Many years ago, my then-boyfriend and I were stressing out about one thing or another. I have absolutely no recollection of what the original stress was, but I do remember how we resolved the stress. We were having a conversation that sounded something like this:

Me: What’s going to HAPPEN?
Him: I don’t know! This could happen, or that could happen, or maybe something that we haven’t even thought of could happen.
Me: I CAN’T STAND NOT KNOWING. I’m SO FREAKED.
Him: Me too! WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?
Me: There is NO WAY TO tell. This SUCKS.
Him: This is the WORST. SERIOUSLY. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!
(pause)
Kate: Well… something is going to happen.
Him: That’s true… something is definitely going to happen.

For some reason, this made us laugh, and “Something is going to happen,” became a bit of a mantra. To this day when I’m feeling stressed out about The Big Not Knowing, I tell myself, “Well, something is going to happen,” and I usually feel better.

_________

That’s pretty much how I feel about the Sabres right now. Something is going to happen. I don’t know what that something is, and lately, in stark contrast to the last five years of my fandom, I don’t see the point in analyzing the situation. In regards to the playoffs, something will happen. When it happens, I’ll either rejoice or put on my best there’s-always-next-year face. Until then, I’m watching these games and thinking, “Huh. Look at them go. Good for you, Sabres.” That’s about the size of it. I don’t feel excessively angry or exhilarated. I feel happy when they win, and disappointed when they lose, and then after the game I go play outside in the beautiful weather.

This state of inner-Sabres-calm is actually quite pleasant, but it doesn’t make for very good blogging. With this in mind, I’m going to close up shop for a little while here. I gave some serious consideration to shutting down the blog permanently this week, but, I’m not ready. This blog, and sharing my Sabres experience with all of you, has meant a tremendous amount to me over the last few years. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you for reading this blog, thank you for your hilarious and supportive comments, and thank you for being a Sabres fan.

I didn’t like the idea of just leaving the blog to languish, and I didn’t like the idea of quitting entirely, so I’ve decided to take a blog break. (And just to clarify the rules of a blog break in order to avoid any Ross-from-Friends “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” fiascoes, you are allowed to read other blogs while we’re on this break. In fact, I encourage it. Go crazy. Leave no blog-wild-oat unsewn. Go to town on those other blogs.) When the day comes that I’m bursting at the seams to write about the Sabres again, I’ll be back.

Until that day comes, do me a favor, and read this post. That post (about “No Goal”) really showcases the gleeful stupidity that The Willful Caboose stood for during it’s heyday.

Let’s go Buff-a-lo!

Mario Party

Over the last few months I’ve grown increasingly disillusioned with the tone and quality of sports coverage. I don’t really feel like getting into it in-depth right now (and let’s be honest, you don’t really feel like reading about it in-depth right now), but I’ve been plagued by an increasing awareness that the entire sports media industry (teams, journalists, radio) is just part of a big giant machine designed to extract money from fans.

WGR sells “BIG STORY! IT’S A BIG STORY! LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS IT! BIIIIIG STORY!” and The Buffalo News sells, “objectivity,” but it’s allllll just a big sell and it’s all designed to take advantage of our love of sports for profit.

In my opinion, sports coverage isn’t news. It’s entertainment on every level. Which is fine… but lately I keep find myself wondering “Why am I blindly consuming so much of this coverage?” I think I might enjoy the Sabres better on a media island. I’ve gotten to the point where I’d almost rather just get my news directly from the Sabres because at least they’re completely upfront about their motivations. The Sabres are all “We produce hockey, and in exchange, please give us your money.” I find that approach refreshing by comparison.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, because this week along came Mario Williams. It would be impossible to overstate the NON-STOP HOOPLA we’ve witnessed via twitter and the radio waves. And I loved it.

Hey, Mario. I'd never heard of you until this week and now I'm desperate for you to be a Bill.

UPDATE: He IS a Bill! While I was writing this post someone reported to someone else who reported to Twitter that there’s a 1:30 press conference scheduled and YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

I’ve enjoyed this saga from beginning to end. I think the reason I’ve found the Mario Party so charming is that there really hasn’t been any counterpoint. For the two days (before he signed) the conversation was nothing more than unmasked, vulnerable hope. That’s it. There really wasn’t anyone saying, “No. Don’t do it. Mario Williams is a waste of money.” I encountered a few people on twitter yesterday who seemed to take some perverse pleasure in predicting that Mario would crawl out of town under cover of darkness, but for the most part, every single Buffalonian who was talking about Mario Williams was simply saying, “I hope this happens. I would be so happy if this happens.” It was nice.

AND HE SIGNED, which feels like the Football Gods way of rewarding Bills fans for their vulnerable hope.

I have no doubt that the sports media machine will begin churning out the commentary within the hour, but I’m grateful for the few days of relative agreement. When the sports news got really intense, it was the voice of the fan which dictated the conversation. The newspaper, the radio, the Bills, the bloggers, the fans, everyone was on the same page. Basically, everyone in Buffalo made the same silly wish, and then the silly wish came true.

Good job, team.

A Moment of Clarity

In the stupidest turn of Sabres-related-events ever, all anyone ever talks about anymore is whether FNC is loud enough.

So, let’s just solve this once and for all: Is the crowd at FNC loud enough?

Short answer: No.

Slightest expanded answer: No, because the crowd is a reflection of last five years of Sabres hockey.

Now that we have that settled….

I’m as guilty as the next viola player of indulging in this conversation. I’ve spent the last three days taking the bait and rigorously defending the FNC crowd as though my very life were on the line.  For reasons that are still not entirely clear to me, I’ve taken every single criticism of the FNC crowd personally this season. Every time someone tweeted that season ticket holders are all rich middle-aged assholes who only have season tickets as some sort of status symbol, I was all, “Hey… that’s not nice. My feelings are hurt!”

I’ve been all over the place with this one. I spent a gruesome morning collecting tweets critical of the FNC crowd from local media and bloggers with the intention of blasting everyone to the moon. (Seriously though, the uniformity of thought on this issue from the people sitting in the press box should be setting off warning bells in the minds of free thinkers.)  I also have at least three half written posts about how all of this neurotic hand wringing and mean-spirited finger-pointing is a reflection of Buffalo’s deep-seated need to hate ourselves. (While ignoring our real problems, let’s all hate ourselves about something of exactly zero consequence to our community!) I also had a theory about how Buffalo ex-pats are the root of all sports-related evil. (Basic theory: Ex-pats try to use their Sabres experience to re-live their youth. They get irate and foot-stompy when the reality doesn’t match up with their rose-colored nostalgia: “Back in MY day we knew how to cheer for the Sabres! The streets of Buffalo were paved with gold and Grampa gave me Werthers and Blue Light at the Bills game. I lost my virginity in the Mighty Taco parking lot after prom and I had the BEST CHILDHOOD EVER! Then I moved to NYC/Raleigh/wherever. Now Buffalo sucks … probably because I’m gone.”)

I can admit that all these theories are juuuuust a tad over-wrought and defensive. Like 99.99999% of all conversations about sports, there’s probably is no greater meaning to any of this. It’s just a storyline. That’s cool, I guess. Obviously this is not my favorite storyline ever, but neither was, “Sabres likely to end in 10th place, AGAIN.” We need stuff to fill up the newspapers and blogs and radio waves. This will do.

__________

I went to a cello recital this afternoon and while listening to the beautiful music I had a moment of awesome clarity: “Wait a second,” I thought to myself, “I have Sabres season tickets.”

Having the opportunity to go to many Sabres games is exactly as awesome and wonderful as it sounds. I think the arena will perk up when the Sabres perk up, but either way, I’m grateful for my personal Sabres experience. If you’re a regular attendee of Sabres games, you’re my people, and I love you. If you’re not a regular attendee of Sabres games, but you still love the Sabres, and you at the very least have the decency to be funny while you’re being a jerk on Twitter, I love you too.

The end.

After my moment of clarity I did this dance, and I decided never to care about what Twitter thinks about my worth as a season ticket holder ever again:

Let’s go Buff-a-lo!

HOT DIGGITY

It’s been a very long time since I felt an irrepressible urge to put up a nothing post on this blog immediately after the final buzzer just so that there is blog evidence that I watched the game. Tonight, I sat alone in my living room and breathlessly clung to my twitter friends as Ryan Miller reminded us for the millionth time that hockey is the freaking best.

1-0, Sabres. Some games are a privilege to watch and this was one of them.


…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

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I can be reached at: willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com

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