A Taste

It was almost impossible for me to separate the experience of watching the Bandits win their Cup, from the hope I have that the Sabres can win their Cup someday too. Sitting in HSBC arena, surrounded by a full house of screaming people, watching a sport that resembles hockey in so many ways…I couldn’t stop myself from thinking (just for a second), “Oh, man. What would this be like with the Sabres?” There was a CUP, you guys, and they held it above their heads, passing it from teammate to teammate. Last night was like……a taste. It was a little taste of what it might feel like if it were hockey instead of lacrosse, and the Sabres instead of the Bandits. From that perspective, the Bandits game was a little thrilling, and a little unsettling.

I don’t really feel comfortable thinking too much about the Sabres winning the Cup. I want it to happen, and I hope that someday it will, but it seems almost garish to give it too much space in my imagination. Maybe it’s because I’m a new fan, and I largely missed out on the years when winning it all seemed like a reasonable possibility, but the very idea of a championship in Buffalo is nothing more than a vague, desperate desire. It’s almost painful to let those images into my mind because of how wonderful it would be, and how far away it feels.

But there is another, less depressing way of looking at it; thinking about the Stanley Cup too much feels like focusing on something that we don’t have, when in reality we have so much. I took a moment during the very last minute of the Bandits game, to mentally step back from the stress of the action, and to absorb what was going on all around me in the stands, and it was wonderful. Last night, as I looked around HSBC arena, I felt very content with what we already have.

I don’t know if the Sabres will ever win the Cup, but until they do, I’m going to try to focus on the journey rather than the reward. The reward would certainly be sweet, but for right now, the journey is what’s real.


10 Responses to “A Taste”

  1. 1 Heather B. May 18, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Nice try, Kate. Stanley Cup or Bust! If we don’t win tomorrow, management isn’t serious, every player should be traded, and every fan should quit going to games! Win, win, win!

  2. 2 CrotchetyOriginalSam May 18, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    The best thing about the thought of the Sabres winning the Cup is the accompanying thought that it would probably cause Gary Bettman to kill himself. Especially, y’know, if their opponent in the finals was another small market like Minnesota…

  3. 3 Katebits May 18, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Heather, you are classless.

    Sam, that is NOT the best thing about the thought of the Sabres winning the Cup, it is merely a delightful side effect.

  4. 4 CrotchetyOriginalSam May 18, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Kate, you have to think selflessly here. Buffalo winning the Cup would be awesome for Buffalo, and a nice story of small-market triumph for a lot of hockey fans across the continent. Gary Bettman’s suicide would be the best thing to happen to hockey as a whole since Foster Hewitt decided to start doing play-by-play.

    In fact, could we maybe start gently nudging Betts in this direction? Maybe a subtle but incessant campaign of e-mails to the NHL head office citing Southeast Conference attendance numbers versus underserved Canadian market sizes? Or we could go the direct route and get the Russian mafia involved…

  5. 5 Heather B. May 19, 2008 at 12:20 am

    Betts should want the Sabres in the Finals since Buffalo is one of the best TV markets in the league. I think we watch certain other teams more than their fans do. (Not Minnesota of course.) I could do with Bettman moving on though.

    That said, if we don’t have Evgeni Malkin by December we’ll know the Sabres aren’t serious about winning and will probably never do so. I mean, how dare ownership let someone that good play for someone else!

  6. 6 jonhoepfinger May 19, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Well Golisano owns the Bandits, so maybe with the taste of this cup. He’ll pour money into the Sabres to acquire the right guys to win a different cup.

  7. 7 CrotchetyOriginalSam May 19, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Betts should want the Sabres in the Finals since Buffalo is one of the best TV markets in the league.

    As a matter of fact, I believe it’s the best, at least among US markets. I just saw the regular season ratings averages last week, and Buffalo and Pittsburgh were far and away the leaders in per capita viewership. (Minnesota was #3, although I suspect our numbers are slightly dragged down by the fact that we lead the nation in number of TV viewers who still don’t have cable or satellite. Since something like 80% of Wild games are on cable, most Wild games are unavailable to about 30% of the state’s viewers.)

  8. 8 Heather B. May 19, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    As a matter of fact, I believe it’s the best, at least among US markets.

    Is there a trophy for that?

  9. 9 Katebits May 19, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Didn’t more people in Buffalo watch the Buffalo/Rangers playoff series last year than in New York? That cracked me up.

  10. 10 CrotchetyOriginalSam May 19, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I think the rating was sigificantly higher, but I’m almost sure New York still led in total viewers. Ratings and share points are recorded as a per capita measure of total available viewers in the market…

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