Last year at about this time, the Buffalo newspapers and airwaves were filled with the rants of outraged Sabres fans denouncing the organization for allowing the co-captains to get away. Caller after WGR-caller declared they would BOYCOTT the organization. “NO MORE,” the citizens of SabreNation declared! “THE SABRES MANAGEMENT MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!”
Well, as it turns out, the outrage of the Sabres fan base might have been just a teensy bit overstated. Today the Sabres announced that they had a 97% renewal rate of their season ticket holders. The team went from 1st to 10th last year, and still, 97% of their highest paying customers came back for more. For a city so overcome with outrage, we certainly seem to enjoy attending Sabres games.
I have two thoughts on this:
1. Suck it, Buffalo News. Suck it hard.
2. Damn it! I’m never getting season tickets!
On the one hand, I’m pleased that so many people love the Sabres as much as I love them. On the other hand, this development marks the end of a dream for Heather B and me.
Last season, when everyone was threatening to jump ship, Heather and I started a little joke about attending the season opener. In accordance with the wide spread outrage, most of Buffalo would be outside protesting with torches and pitchforks, but Heather and I would go to the game…as the lone customers.
Katebits: Well, I say we just go ahead and buy the cheap tickets. We’ll walk right past all the protesters and up to the box office and buy our 300 level seats for twenty bucks. It’ll be so hilarious being in a completely empty arena, sitting a mile away from the ice, as the only paying customers. I bet that at some point during the skate-around a few of the players will bunch together and point us out to one another. Surely, one of them will shout up at us to move down to the seats behind the bench. It would be ridiculous for us to remain so far away when we’re the ONLY people there. I bet it will be Goose who invites us to move closer.
Heather B: Of course it’ll be, Goose. And when we get down to the glass he’ll ask us our names and introduce us to the team. Roy-Z will try to pretend he’s not disappointed that we’re not puckbunnies but he will be a little. Toni will nudge Hank and point at my jersey and Hank will blush a little but give a small wave with a big grin.
Katebits: They’ll all be super polite- except for Crunchy. He’ll just roll his eyes, but he’ll make an extra big show out of his pre-game “meditation” for our benefit.
Heather B: Crunchy will totally glance over every now and then to make sure we’re noticing him being all crazy.
Katebits: Since there is no one else in the building Darcy might come down and sit near us. He’ll bring us shrimp cocktail from the owners box…because he’s nice like that.
Heather B: Darcy will definitely come down. Since we’re the only two people in Buffalo who didn’t cancel our seats, he’ll know we’re friendly. As soon as he sits down I’ll ask him if he intends to re-sign Hank at the end of his contract and carefully explain why he should. Darcy will be so happy at not being called inept that he’ll amuse me.
Katebits: James Patrick might let me hold his clipboard.
Heather B: James Patrick might let *me* try on his fancy headset. I always wondered who he talks to in that thing.
Katebits: We’ll be on the jumbotron the whole night….um, kisscam might be awkward.
Heather B: Goose will recognize the awkwardness, skate over and kiss you, no problem.
Katebits: Gaaaasp! You’re so right! Goose is so thoughtful! He wouldn’t want kisscam to be awkward!
Heather B: Goose is the whole reason we’re down there in the first place. He’ll totally be looking out for us.
Katebits: Dude. This game is going to ROCK.
Heather B: The power play will suck – some things don’t change – and Lindy will stand up on the bench and yell for our input. We’ll fix everything, of course.
Katebits: If I’m feeling obnoxious and I yell “shoot” during the power play, I bet Tim Connolly will actually do it.
Heather B: Either that or he’ll turn around and scream, “GOD, SHUT UP! I HEAR YOU! BEING A HOCKEY PLAYER IS HARD!”
Katebits: And that’s when Lindy will let me bench Timmy for being a big baby.
Heather B: And Lindy will actually grumble to you, “What a baby. I want to bench him all the time.”
Katebits: Tooootally. Lindy and I will share a nod of friendship over the benching of stupid old Tim Connolly…..maybe even a fist bump.
Heather B: When I get up for refreshments Hank will skate over to ask me where I’m going. “For Dippin’ Dots.” “Oh, you don’t need to miss any of the game. Petey can get those for you.” And so Andrew Peters will go out to get me some mint chocolate Dippin’ Dots.
Katebits: Is that what Andrew Peters is there for? To fetch Dippin’ Dots? Huh.
Heather B: So, what’s Pommerdoodle doing during all of this? Something adorable, I’m sure.
Katebits: He’s skating around, winning the game. At least that’s what I presume Pommers is doing. That’s what he usually does, isn’t it?
Heather B: Yeah, that is Pommers. “Come on, guys! We still have a game to win here! Let’s stick with the system and the fans will come back!” Even if Pommers likes us I think he’s a little sad that we’re the only two people there.
Katebits: Pommers is going to be TOTALLY focused on winning back the hearts and minds of the Buffalo people.
Heather B: OMG, Rick will totally invite us up to the booth to sit for a while. He’ll interview us on TV and the P.A. guy will let us announce the goals with editorial comments of course. (“Scoring his first goal of the season, Thomas Vanek! Only 101 more before he earns his salary for the season!”)
Katebits: We are SO going to watch part of the game up with Rick and Harry. Kevin Sylvester will probably want to meet us as well, and then I can figure out once and for all if he’s hot or if he’s creepy.
Heather B: Hey, maybe the music director will ask us for playlists since we are the only ones there. We’ll have the first Fan Playlists in Sabres history!
Katebits: My playlist is going to be all viola music. I’m going to tame Toni Lydman with my beautiful playlist.
Heather B: Then we’ll get the world’s best LET’S GO BUFF-A-LO chant going while Sabretooth bangs on the glass in front of us. He then shoots t-shirts into the luxury boxes above us.
Katebits: No way! Sabretooth will shoot all the t-shirts right at us!….I just have to warn you, I think that this is going to be so fun that I’m going to get really drunk. I mean, this scenario calls for some giant beers, right? I’ll be too buzzed to drive after the game, so you’ll have to drive the train up Main Street. I’m sure they’ll let you drive the train. We’ll be the only people on it! Who’s going to notice or care if you drive the train for a few blocks?
Heather B: My drink of choice is Coca-Cola, so I’ll be sober.
Katebits: Excellent. You drink Coke, and I’ll drink giant Blue Lights…..The Sabres will win, of course.
Heather B: When a Sabre scores we’ll line up at the end of the bench and be included in the fist bumps. By the end of the night they’ll be calling you KB and me H-Dog.
Katebits: Ha! I seriously doubt they are creative enough for “KB” and “H-Dog”. Let’s face it. You’ll be B-sie and I’ll be Bitsie. That’s how we’ll know we’ve made friends with Millsie- when he starts calling us Bitsie and B-sie.
Heather B: This really will be the best game over. I’m so glad everyone is canceling their season tickets!
Katebits: I know! I bet they’ll let us drive the zamboni. Oooh! I bet they’ll let me operate the Transit Town Dodge Mini Blimp! I’m totally going to crash it. I hate that thing.
Heather B: It’ll land in a fiery blaze at center ice, all those poor coupons fluttering to the ground around it. Poor blimp.
Katebits: And the PA guy is going to let you scream “OH THE HUMANITY” over the loud speakers as the blimp goes down.
Heather B: When I get restless I’m gong to go sit under the press box and throw peanuts at the reporters while chanting, “Blogs! Blogs! Blogs! Blogs!” and saying really loudly, “WOW, I CAN’T WAIT TO GO HOME AND WRITE ABOUT THIS ON MY BLOG!”
Katebits: Ha! Bucky is going to be SPUTTERING with rage with you taunting him, Heather.
Heather B: Of course we HAVE to hang out with Rob Ray between the benches. He’ll invite us both down, even if it is a tight squeeze.
Katebits: You, me, and Rob, squished in between the benches. I like it.
Heather B: Rob will surprise us with a deep, philosophical discussion about the state of the world and sports’ place in it.
Katebits: Oh, Rob loves talking about the role that sports can play as a psychological salve during these troubled times in history…..This is going to kick ass.
Heather B: It really, really is.
Katebits: Just stay sober enough to drive the train home, okay? Someone has to stay sober, and it’s not going to be me.
Heather B: Deal.