Huh.  I can honestly tell you I didn’t see that game coming.  I did not expect the Sabres to play a decent defensive game and get shutout by Marty Biron.  When I got home last night I was too tired and cranky to write about the game, but I woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated.  Here’s what I was thinking about in the dawn of a new day:

1. Beer

Until last night I had never had a beer at HSBC arena.  It’s weird that I never drink at the arena because I have absolutely no objection to drinking, in fact I do it frequently.  I attribute my non-drinkyness to a few things (not the least of which is that I’m not much of a beer drinker these days), but I think the number one reason I wasn’t drinking was it just seemed like too much of a hassle.  When you don’t eat or drink at games, you’re all settled in for the evening once you get to your seats.  Drinking involves dealing with crowds in the concourse, lines at the concession stand, and of course, peeing. Oh, the peeing!

I’ve already been to five games this season, and I’m getting really good at maneuvering around in my little portion of the 300 level concourse.  I’ve learned that if I bolt out at the end of a period I can hit the bathroom, hit a concession stand, swing by to wave hello to Anne (and buy some cotton candy from her if I feel so inclined), and still have PLENTY of time to be back in my seat to see the majority of a weirdo interview with Maria Genero and Paul Gaustad on the jumbotron. (Seriously, what was that all about?  I couldn’t hear the audio on the clip on the jumbotron.  All I gathered from the feature is that Goose went fishing at some point and that, judging from the body language, he and Maria might very well be in love.  That was a LOT of bashful giggling.  Not that I’m complaining.)

My point here is this: I was totally wrong to not drink beer.  Beer helps.  A lot.  I’m never not drinking beer at a hockey game again.

(Maybe at some point I will investigate those gigantic beers that they pour out of bottles, but maybe not.  What’s up with those?  Why can’t they pour a gigantic draft at the concession stand?  My inclination is to assume draft beer is colder and more delicious, but ENORMOUS beers have their attributes as well.  Please advise, dear readers.)

2. The Crowd

The crowd was terrible.  I’m not judging, because I was a part of the crowd and Buffalo sports fans have had a real rough week, but MAN, the crowd was flat.  I’ve never been to such a subdued game.  Granted, the action was very, veeeeery slow, but still.  The crowd was skeptical, belligerent, and cranky from beginning to end.  As you know, I am PRO booing. I like to boo, and I don’t care who knows it, but…..I’m not a fan of booing just because you have no particular reason to cheer.  If I had my say, we’d save our nonsensical booing for the opposition (like Chara! BOOOOOO!), but I fully recognize the crowd is gonna boo when they’re gonna boo.  That’s just how it goes.

Our section did have one nice crowd moment: In the third period when it was 2-0 and the arena seemed library-level quiet, a guy about five rows back from us screamed out in a very clear, loud voice, “WE WANT MAX!”  He yelled it at just the right time and it seemed to boom over the entire arena.  There was lots of giggling in response.  Then, a guy in front of us yelled, “I TOTALLY DISAGREE!”  And I then I yelled, “ME TOO!”  And someone else yelled “ME THREE!”  I’m sorry to say that this exchange might have been the highlight of the evening.  I like the idea of an orderly discussion occurring in the middle of the game.  I was tempted to shout, “I’M CONCERNED THAT LINDY’S THREATENING INSISTENCE ON DEFENSIVE PLAY IS BACKFIRING!  THE SABRES SEEM AFRAID OF MAKING MISTAKES.  THEY ARE NOT PLAYING AGGRESSIVE OFFENSE!,”  just to see if some else would shout, “SOLID DEFENSIVE PLAY LEADS TO OFFENSIVE OPPORTUNITIES!  THEY JUST HAVE TO STICK TO THE SYSTEM AND BURY THEIR CHANCES. THE GOALS WILL COME!”

3. The Sabres aren’t that bad, but they’re also not that good.

If the Bruins game was when I lost all perspective, last night’s game was when I got it back.  Listen, it’s still early in the season.  There is LOTS of Brahms hockey left to be played.  After the Bruins game I reached a level of unhappiness with the Sabres and sports in general that crossed a line I have drawn for myself.  There is only so much angst I am willing to tolerate in the name of sports.  It’s a long season, with a lot more annoying-ness yet to come, so I realized I need to dial it down a bit if I am going to survive with my sanity intact.

These Sabres are just not dominant and we need to stop expecting them to be dominant.  They have lots of potential to dramatically improve, so I guess we just hope for the best.  They tricked us by coming out of the gate so strong, but it’s time to accept that those first six games were a bit of an anomaly.

4. Thank GOD I have to work tonight.

I love my job, but it’s a drag that it so frequently conflicts with the Sabres schedule.  Usually I’m sorry to miss the Saturday games, but not tonight.  I need a break.  To make matter even better, we’re playing a REALLY cool concert at the BPO this weekend.  The concert involves a lot of great music, but there is also some truly dazzling acrobatics that will steal the spotlight.  We’re playing a full concert with the acrobats tonight, and then a truncated version tomorrow afternoon as part of our Family Series.  I can’t get comp tickets for tonight, but if you are interested in coming to the show (for free) tomorrow afternoon, shoot me an email.  I have four tickets set aside for anyone who would like to use them.  I can’t imagine anyone not liking this show, and I think kids will LOVE it.  Our family shows are usually about an hour long, without intermission.  Yes, it conflicts with the Bills game.

Another super neat thing going on in Buffalo this weekend is the opening of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. In the middle of a terrible economy, in an already economically depressed community, Buffalonians managed to get a brand new, state-of-the art, museum built.  This is an accomplishment that really really needs to be celebrated.  The museum is opening today, AND it’s going to be open ALL NIGHT. That means, that you can go out, do whatever, and check out the museum at FOUR IN THE MORNING AFTER YOU GO TO JIM’S FOR A CHICKEN FINGER SUB!  I’m SO there.  I really encourage everyone to check out the Burchfield-Penney Art Center tonight.

I love Buffalo sports, but sports are not all we’ve got around here.  When sports are getting you down, try something else!

Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!


15 Responses to “Thoughts”

  1. 1 elise November 22, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    kate! beer at games is a MUST! i also love your loud, crowd discussion idea. and art at 4 in the morning! i always knew you were a genius. the only thing: why you gotta Boston Hate? we can’t help it.

    come visit me! i just attended a Sullivan library event celebrating a local hermit named Perley Swett who died in 1973. all the celebrities were there. fast times!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 2 TheTick November 22, 2008 at 5:46 pm


    That someone else being Lindy Ruff from behind the bench… ;)

  3. 3 Cari November 22, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    You have to admit, it’s kinda pathetic when the biggest outburst coming from the crowed was prompted by the UB score. Not that I’m knocking UB, or anything; I mean, that’s great. But come on, you’re at a freaking SABRES game. Can the Let’s Go Buffalo chant go more than two rounds??? PLEASE??

  4. 4 Glenn November 22, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    PS…did you realize that the CD we made for the Birchfield Penny Art Museum isn’t in their gift shop? I heard that this afternoon….how wacked out is that?

  5. 5 Katebits November 22, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t think it’s very wacked out at all, Glenn. This is the opening weekend for the gift shop too, and I’m not surprised that a CD we released four years ago isn’t on the top of their to-do list. I’m sure the CD will make it into the gift shop sooner or later.

  6. 6 danielleia November 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    I’m too scared of drinking in the 300 section. I feel like I’m going to fall.

  7. 7 ReigningFrog November 22, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    My experience from baseball stadiums is that draft beer is ickily stale and gross. Perhaps hockey arenas do a better job of chilling it though.

  8. 8 Ang November 23, 2008 at 12:06 am

    The concept of enourmous beer is great but it gets warm if you don’t swill it quickly enough.
    Thanks for reminding us why it is good to be from Buffalo.. Acrobats and classical music, chicken finger subs and art 24-7!

  9. 9 Valerie (aka blitzen) November 23, 2008 at 11:10 am

    For some reason I never drink beer at the Ottawa 67s games but we (well I do – the spousal unit could care less) have a routine at the Sens games. It includes going to the one place in the joint that sells Creemores (on tap), I get a large one and I nurse it through the entire game (I like beer that’s not too cold). I have the bathroom routine all scoped out – I can dash out during the commercial break late in the period and be back in the tunnel watching play resume. I rarely miss anything.

    Beer is a must at SBP (although they briefly had their license suspended for serving an underage client).

  10. 10 Janz November 23, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    The new Burchfield-Penney Art Center rocks!!! If peeps haven’t gone yet, go today, they are open till five and it’s free. Actually admission will be free through November 30. Did I mention that it rocks?!? Lets go Buff-a-lo!

  11. 11 Katebits November 23, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Blitzen, I think another big reason I haven’t been super gung-ho for beer is that at our concession stands we have two options: Bud Light and Labatt Blue. I think there might be other beers available in the arena, but I don’t know where. I’m jealous of all the delicious beers you guys have in Ottawa.

  12. 12 Pookie November 23, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    OK, that arena shouty discussion is AWESOME! The closest I’ve ever heard to anything like that was when, walking out of a Devils-Philly game where Philly lost, we heard a Philly fan grouse, “Man, they’re just like the Eagles. They have all the same problems.” A Devils fan standing nearby said, “The Eagles need goaltending, too?” Heh. Anyway, if I’d participated in an exchange like the one you did, I would not be at all ashamed if that turned out to be the highlight of the regular season. That’s just CLASSIC!

    Speaking of classical, har har, that concert looks super-cool!

  13. 13 Zach November 24, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I completely agree with you on the whole Sabres crowd thing. I think that what we have started to see is that the casual fan has almost been priced out of the building and the crowd as a whole, especially in the lower bowl, is there to be seen rather than to watch the game. Being at that game on Friday made me long for a Bandits game where a crowd of 13,000 can make that place shake.

  14. 14 Matt November 24, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    For my 2 bits, beer helps grease the heckling/cheering wheels. Without it, I go hoarse in the first 5 minutes and everybody around me gets to keep their hearing. Where’s the fun in that?

    Also, every time I visit HSBC I immediately run for the upper tier so I can get a ‘weck and a big Blue. I normally have 2 (maaaaaybe 3) beers during a game (gotta drive later and don’t wanna be the obnoxious drunkard) but a big Blue is nice because it lasts longer. Granted you sacrifice the coldness near the end, but not having to get up for another helps a lot.

  15. 15 Katebits November 24, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Matt, I had two beers on Friday and I was surprisingly tipsy. A third beer and I would have been flat out drunk.

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