There seems to be an odd self-consciousness surrounding the conversation about the Sabres these days. More than any other Sabres-related topic, I’ve read a ton of articles and blog posts about the “State of Sabres Fandom”. Are the fans behind this team? Is this team good enough to win the hearts and the minds of the fans? Do the fans love the Sabres? WHY don’t the fans love the Sabres in the same way as they did three years ago? Blah blah blah blah blah.
I don’t know, I think the whole conversation is icky. Who cares? I don’t want to think about this. I don’t want to dwell on negativity (or perceived negativity).
It’s time to let it go, Buffalo. To me, the playoffs feel like a clean slate. It’s time to stop measuring this year’s version of “Sabres fandom” against other years, and just be grateful that we get the opportunity to see our beloved Sabres in the postseason. We get to cheer for them as a community.
For me, the difference between the regular season and the playoffs is this: My interest in analyzing this team has really just drained away. All I want to do right now is cross my fingers for luck, and try to figure out which of my outfits has the best winning percentage at the arena, and think about which 1st round match-up is most fortuitous, and look at my pile of playoff tickets, and imagine the arena during an exciting playoff game, and smile at the other people I see with car flags, and imagine the beards (OH HOW I LOVE THE BEARDS), and play “Let’s go Buff-a-lo” on my viola when I get done tuning it at rehearsals, and happily fret about my potential playoff schedule conflicts, and think about Tyler Myers (little baby Tyler Myers!) playing in the playoffs, and welcome the band wagoners, and love every single thing about Ryan Miller, and get nervous, and get psyched, and revel in the fact that HOLY SHIT THE SABRES WON THE DIVISION AND MAYBE THEY CAN WIN MORE.
Most of all, I just want to hope hope hope hope hope.
We’ve got one beautiful week before the playoffs start. This week we get the chance to appreciate how far the Sabres have come before we have to start stressing about their performance in the playoffs. I imagine that when the playoffs start, we’ll get bogged down in a million tiny elements of each game. When it’s all over, and the lockers are cleaned out, we’ll have a million things to analyze. There will be plenty of opportunity down the road to discuss every little detail.
But, this week, we get to clear our minds of everything but the playoff series in front of us. This week, anything is possible, and it’s time to err on the side of joyfulness.
It’s time to be fans.