Tonight, along with some friends, I had the extremely good fortune of seeing the Buffalo Bandits win the National Lacrosse League Championship. That’s right! World Champions, baby!
Amy works the pom-pom
It was a nearly perfect game from the spectator’s perspective. The Bandits were ahead the entire night, but they were never very far ahead, so the game was never a forgone conclusion. The Portland Lumberjax (I hate those guys. :P) put up a good fight, and came very, very close to tying it up at the end. The final two minutes of the game were absolutely electrifying.
I really have to hand it to the Bandits crowd. The scene was pretty spectacular. It’s a little rough around the edges in comparison to a Sabres crowd, but the spirit and enthusiasm are the same. The Bandits are a good value, and it’s a great product, so I’m happy that so many people come out to support the team. It’s easy to dismiss arena lacrosse because it’s not a “major” sport, but let me assure you, it’s a good sport, and you are missing out if you skip the Bandits altogether.
Remember when I said that Flyers orange is gross? Well, I stand by that. Orange is gross when the Flyers do it, but when we do it, it’s cool.
Bandits orange is beautiful.
The Bandettes are also beautiful, but in a skanky kind of way.
I have a lot to say about how awesome the Bandits are, and how unexpectedly great the sport is, and how much MONEY the Sabres must be making off the Bandits, and how the players are regular guys who all have normal 9-to-5 jobs in addition to being Bandits, and how charming Buffalonians can be in their desire to cheer, but I’ll save all that for another post. For tonight, I just want to write about what it felt like to be a part of a crowd celebrating a championship win.
Listen, obviously this isn’t the Stanley Cup, or the Super Bowl, but it’s still an honest to God championship. We still got to watch men reach the pinnacle of achievement, on the highest level of competition in their sport. There was a Cup, and it was hoisted. There was an MVP (Mark Steenhuis), there was a sold out arena, and they played “We are the Champions” over the loudspeaker at the end. It’s a real championship. It was exciting, and moving to witness. I am certainly not as emotionally invested in the Bandits as I am in the Sabres, but at some point tonight I got swept up in cheering for cheering sake. I cheered out of love for Buffalo, in appreciation for sports, and for the great skill of the guys on the field. This NLL Championship is nothing to scoff at, and I for one, welcome the opportunity to celebrate this team. I got to honk “Let’s Go Buff-a-lo” all the way home. I got to high five strangers. I got to soak up the atmosphere of triumph and celebration. It was a great night.
The Bandits are the World Champs and we are lucky to have them in Buffalo.
(We are also lucky to have this mullet in Buffalo.)