Archive for the 'Catharsis' Category

The Panic Button Is Not A Moral Issue

Holy TOLEEEEEDO.  The Sabres have been B-A-D.  Bad.  Very, very bad.  Buh-ad.

I’ve been bitching about this on Twitter for days, but seriously you guys, we have GOT to stop telling each other that it’s “too early to press the panic button.”  FOR REALS.

It’s NOT too early to panic.  Panicking is PERFECTLY reasonable.  Have you SEEN the Sabres?  They stink!

I should also say that I weirdly enjoy panicking about the Sabres.  Being happy when the Sabres are good and upset when they’re bad is….why I’m a fan of sports.  I don’t see the point of tempering my responses.

Being a big spaz when they stink is a way to get out some nervous energy, and ultimately, as long as I’m not kicking my hypothetical dog when the Sabres lose, what the heck difference does it make when I panic?  Do the Sabres play better or worse because of my behavior?  (NO THEY DO NOT.  If there is ONE THING I know about the Sabres it’s that absolutely nothing I do can make them play better.  I think my slug hoodie might make them play worse, but that’s still up for debate.)

In my opinion, the only hard and fast rule of being a fan is that there are lots of ways to be a fan.  (Well, that and “don’t taunt the opposing goalie unless he’s already done something dumb.”)   Pressing the panic button today doesn’t mean I can’t press the, “WOOOOOOO!  I looooove these guys” button tomorrow.

So, I can admit it: I’m pressing the panic button.  The Sabres, who I love with all of my heart, totally freaking blow.

Ahhhh.  It feels good.  *Press.  press, press, press, preeesssss.  PRESSS!*

Hopefully this week they’ll turn it all around, but if they don’t, eventually we’ll STOP pressing the panic button and just turn down the expectations dial.  But that’s a post for another day.

It’s a looooong season, and we’ve only just begun.

Let’s pray it doesn’t come to this.

Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!


Here We Go! Part One

You guys, HOCKEY IS ALMOST BACK.  For real now.  The days are getting shorter, the air is crisper, and my Facebook page is covered in statuses like, “I just saw Ryan Miller getting coffee.”

When I think about the upcoming season, I’m like twelve parts “WOOOOOOOOOOOOO”, three parts “Hey, waaaait a minute…these are all the same players, minus our best defensemen, and plus some dude who thought the Sabres sucked back when they were good,” and one part, “This is going to blow.  Hard.”

Now before you get all, “GAWD Katebits, you are SUCH a negative nellie.  Can’t you just be happy, FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE,” I’d like you to recheck that math.  My feelings are leaning overwhelmingly towards WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  I hope it’s obvious that even when I’m in a full-blown temper tantrum, I still love the little bastards.

But, I cannot deny that even in spite of my overall hockey hunger, I’m still feeling a bit conflicted about welcoming the Sabres back into my daily consciousness.  In order to be fully prepared for the season, I think I’m going to need to talk it out, with a long heart-to-heart (or as my friend Courtney would say, “H-to-H”).  I’m girly like that.

Here’s the situation as I see it: I’ve spent the summer “on a break” from the Sabres, but now they’re back, and they want to know what’s up.  It’s time for the State of the Union Address, and, frankly, I’m not sure what to say.   So join me, won’t you, as we spend the next few days, working through our feelings.

Part One: Before We Go Any Farther, I’ve Got to Get Something Off My Chest

Sabres, you really hurt me last season.  You looked so lazy on the ice, and your interviews were so infuriatingly blasé.  I was really hoping that this summer apart would change you, but I see now that that really hasn’t happened.  I see now that you’re basically the same.

All I heard from the Regier apologists last spring was, “Just give Darcy the summer to tinker.  He’s good at making trades.  The cap is going to go down, and good players are going to pop free around the league.  Darcy’s conservative nature is going to pay off when he’s in a position to take advantage of some other team’s poor cap management.  Give him the chance to shake things up.”  Well, I did give him a chance.  I waited patiently all summer for the trade or the free agent signing that would make everything okay, and you know what, Sabres?  It never came.

So, where does that leave us now?

Well, I’ve done some serious thinking this summer Sabres, and I’ve learned a lot about who I am and what I want out of my hockey team.  I understand now that if I want things to be different between us, I can’t expect the change to come from you.  I can’t change you, Sabres.  I understand that now.  You are who you are, and I can either accept you or break this off, once and for all.

I think we both know I’m not going to break it off.

I’ve invested too much in this relationship to toss it away at the first sign of trouble.  I know you’re not perfect, but frankly, neither am I.  So, I’ll do my best to accept you for who you are this season, and I promise not to get too shrill too soon.  I may not always like you, but I’m in it for the long haul Sabres. For better or for worse.

You and me (and 18,690 other people), baby.


Now that the vows have been renewed, please tune in tomorrow [“tomorrow” meaning “some indiscriminate amount of time in the future”], as we continue our preparations for the return of hockey by discussing, Reasons For Hope, Reasons For Despair, and Reasons For Never-Ending Boundless Enthusiasm, and Prayers for the Upcoming Season.

Please Come Home

Last year at this time I was still all full of hope and sass.  Even when the Sabres sucked (which was often) I was willing to take every win at WAY over face value.  Last season, every single win, all the way up to when they were eliminated, was a sign that things were about to turn around.  I might not have always loved them, but I seemed to have an unshakable faith that they were worth cheering for.

Sadly, another full season of streakiness and hovering around 7th-10th place has taken it’s toll on my faith and my blogging.  I’m at a loss.

I have all the Sabres cataloged in my head.  There is a pecking order.  I rag on Drew Stafford all the time, but when he’s playing well, I really have a lot of affection for him.  I love to hate Derek Roy.  When he’s playing well, my attitude is “Well, you better be scoring goals, you little punk.  Earn your keep, Roy-Z.  Also, shut up.”  Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly are supermen when they are playing well, and disgusting slag-faced whores when they’re not.  Toni Lydman is an unsung hero, except for when he makes a hideous mistake and then I feel deep pity on his behalf.  Spacek is comic relief.  Craig Rivet and Lindy are the father figures to rebel against.  Goose can do absolutely no wrong.  Crunchy is awesome, possibly evil, and always fascinating, even in the bad stretches.  Maxim Afinogenov is a spy, and even though I’m sure he’s been selling all the Sabres secrets to the KGB for years now, I’m going to miss him when he’s gone.  All of the Sabres have their place.

Which brings me to Jason Pominville.

Of all the things that have gone wrong this year, Jason Pominville is the most upsetting.  He makes me sad.  He is SO BAD, and he doesn’t even look like he’s trying.  Suddenly the contract we were all so excited about last summer is terrifying.  Five more years?  At $5.3 a year?  *shudder*

As I’m sure you’ve gathered, I enjoy ragging on my team.  I’ve got no trouble hating on the Sabres, and normally I’m not that attached to them being cute or sweet or even good at hockey.  But…..I cannot reconcile this Jason Pominville with the Jason Pominville I have cataloged in my mind.  Pommerdoodle is in the “hard working, steady, good dog” category.  Period.  Anything else is just too upsetting to bear.  I can accept that the Sabres suck, and that they’re never making the playoffs again, but I cannot accept that Jason Pominville is phoning it in because of his contract.  I’ve tried to rag on Pommerdoodle as if he were a Vanek or Timmy or any of the other Sabres who I am perfectly willing to throw under the bus, but it’s really no fun.  Jason Pominville is no Thomas Vanek.

So, I’m drawing a line in the sand.  The cynicism and the bitterness go no further.

I am a fan of Jason Pominville.

He’ll be back.  I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but whatever it is, for now, I’m putting my head in the sand, and I’m ignoring it.  Sabres fans have had a bitter pill to swallow this season, but I can’t swallow a lazy Jason Pominville. (That’s what she said.)  I can’t and I won’t.  Eff you, Hockey Gods!

I guess every bitter, cranky fan has her limits before she is forced to rely on irrational faith.

Lost Pommerdoodle

*fingers crossed*

You Look Different Today


I can’t believe Timmy woke up on “sign a 9 million dollar contract day” and thought, “I’ll record this day by wearing my polar bear pelt-lined Dickies jacket and my giant knit cap.  I love hats with preposterously small bills.  Especially when worn backwards! ”

Darcy, you nailed it.  Call me.

Going into the trade deadline I was advocating for BIG CHANGE, and that’s really not at all what happened yesterday.  In fact, yesterday was a pretty strong declaration that the Sabres intend to stay the course.

I like it.

I don’t pretend to know why I think the things I do, okay people?  I just have a thought or a feeling about the Sabres, and then I write it down here, on the interwebs.  It’s not for me to attempt to decode the vast mystery that is being a sports fan and a crazy bitch.  I just report the thoughts and feelings as they occur.

I am happy to report, I love the Sabre again.

I went to the game last night more excited to see the Sabres than I’ve been in a long time, and the Sabres rewarded my enthusiasm with a dominating performance.  Maybe it’s all just the result of seeing Goose spread his mighty wings and pot a shorthanded goal, but the “same old” Sabres are suddenly looking shiny and new.


Hel-lo.  Ales, you look smashing.

Thank You, Sabres

We really needed that.  Exactly that.

Sabres @ Leafs 1/1/09: Special “Fuck You, Sabres” Edition


Mood: I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to even watch this game, much less blog about it, but I’m going to give this a shot.  The Caps game was a real turning point for me.  For the first time since I became a Sabres fan, I really had to face the fact that regardless of the winning or losing, lately I’ve found the Sabres fundamentally unlikeable. I mean, they’re not just bad at hockey, they’re lazy douchebags about it.   I hit the wall with them on Tuesday.  I hit the wall, and then the Sabres threw up on the wall, and then I painted “Fuck you, Sabres” on the side of my bulldozer and I bulldozed the wall.  It wasn’t pretty.

As most of you know, I’m a fairly new hockey fan.  I don’t have a long history of this, and the sudden realization that I don’t even LIKE the Sabres has been disconcerting, to say the least.  As someone who lived quite happily without hockey for thrity years, when I find myself very miserable over hockey, I tend to take it seriously.  Unlike some of you, who were born into sports fandom, becoming a Sabres fan was a conscious choice that I made, and it’s a choice that I still question from time to time.  The fact that hockey now occupies so much of my time and energy still bewilders me, especially when I find the Sabres this frustrating.  Why on earth am I doing this to myself?

I think sports fandom is a really complicated and fascinating thing.  When I started watching hockey, I did it because I wanted to be a part of this town.  I wanted to stop feeling like I was on the outside looking in.  I wanted to be a Buffalonian.  So much of my sports fandom has been wrapped up in this “Yay!  Buffalo!” thing that until recently I’ve not had to confront the flip side of that coin, which is that BEING A BUFFALONIAN SUCKS.  THE SABRES SUCK ASS AND I HATE THEM WITH THE BURNING PASSION OF A MILLION WHITE HOT SUNS.  I CAN’T FUCKING BELIEVE THAT LINDY REARRANGED THE LOCKER ROOM STALLS AND THEN THEY WROTE AN ARTICLE IN THE PAPER ABOUT IT LIKE IT’S FUCKING NEWS! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M CHEERING FOR A BUNCH OF A-HOLES WHO ARE SO CHILDISH THAT THEIR BOSS HAS SEPARATED THE TROUBLE MAKERS!  WHY DON’T THEY MAKE DEREK ROY SIT IN THE CORNER WHILE THEY’RE AT IT?!   I DON’T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT THEIR DUMB ATTEMPTS TO “HOLD THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE”.  ACT LIKE PROFESSIONALS YOU FUCKHEADS. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!  I HATE THEM! I HATE THEM! I HATE THEM!

But I digress.

I’ve realized something amazing in the last two days.   Even if the Sabres disintegrate into full blown irrelevance, I can NEVER not be a Buffalonian again.  In a weird, awesome way, that makes me feel really happy.  I think all along I’ve had this wacky fear that as quickly as the Sabres turned me into a Buffalonian, they could somehow UNturn me.  It’s not true.  The Sabres are no longer my primary emotional connection to this town.  That ended a long time ago.  I have a whole life here now.  I can afford to kick the Sabres around a bit, because I don’t really need them anymore.  Not like I used to.

So, without further ado, here is a gameday post, completely devoid of affection for my team.  Because I can.

Favorite Sabre: Okay, I lied.  I still have affection for Goose.  He’s the only one who made it out of the Caps game with a little piece of my heart.  Goose not only played with a shred of dignity, but he’s also the only Sabre whose postgame interview was at ALL appropriate to the situation.   I think if Adam Mair had given an interview he might have maintained a scrap of my respect as well.

Prediction: The little assholes are going to win this one.  Then they’re going to give irritating post-game interviews about how they stuck to the system and worked as a team.  Then, after that, they’re going to lose three in a row.  Lather, rinse, repeat- for the rest of the season.
Item representing my love for the Sabre: I just googled “smallest thing in the world,” and Google tells me that a “Quark” is the smallest thing in the world.

This is the first thing that comes up in an image search for “quark”.  I can’t believe that he’s the smallest thing in the world.  Quantum mechanics are so weird.

After the 1st (0-0)

Mood: See above
Favorite Sabre: Meh….but I remembered that I don’t hate Matt Ellis.
Least Favorite Sabre: See above
What we’ve learned: When the Sabres hit rock bottom, and everyone is freaking out, and Lindy pulls out his most intense coaching moves (rearranging the stalls), and the Sabres are playing as hard as they can because they’re genuinely upset….they’re exactly as “good” as the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Item representing my love for the Sabres: 3/4ths of a quark.

They gained a half a quark because Ryan Miller stopped a penalty shot, but they LOST a 3/4ths of a quark because of that Sabres power play where the Leafs had control of the puck for fifteen years.  Net loss = 1/4 of a quark.

After the 2nd (3-0, Sabres)

Mood: Alright, fine.  I admit it.  I’m amused.  But I still hate these effers.
Favorite Sabre: Meh. Meh.  A thousand times, meh.
Least Favorite Sabre: Jason Pominville.  Yeah, you heard me.  You know what two goals gets you tonight?  Nothing.  You’re playing against CuJo.  Stop acting like you don’t suck.  No one on this team gets to act like they don’t suck for AT LEAST a month.  I don’t care HOW many goals you score against CuJo.
What we’ve learned: I’m still rooting for the Sabres.  I wasn’t so sure I would.  I still like it when they score.

Item representing my love for the Sabres: three quarks.  One for each goal.

quark4 quark4quark4

Yes, this represents three times the love I started out with, but PLEASE remember that these quarks are extremely, extremely small.  So, I love the Sabre three times a quark.  That’s like loving them three times the chance that we’ll ever see Tim Connolly play hockey again.

At the End (4-1, Sabres)

Okay fine.  They won.  Please remember dear readers (and I say this with your own best interests at heart), this is what they do. They suck SO HARD that you wish you were dead, and then juuuust when you’re ready to swear off hockey for the rest of your life, they pull themselves together and play a really solid, complete game….FOR ONE NIGHT.

You know what they’re doing right now?  They’re patting each other on the back in the locker room, and they’re all thinking, “OMG! OMG! OMG!  We’re sooooo good at hockey! YAAAAAY!”  And Lindy is all, “WOW.  I’m a GENIUS!  I really sent them a POWERFUL MESSAGE when I moved their stalls!!  I’m going to go tell them how much I love them.”  They are all SO PROUD of themselves right now, and they are FORGETTING about the last 18 months.  Yes, they ARE that dumb.  Dear readers, PLEASE DO NOT BE FOOLED.  For the LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT BE FOOLED.

I’m not going to trust these guys for at least two months.  If they play like this for two months, I MIGHT forgive them for the Caps game.  Maybe.


I’m a big believer in the ritual of the “New Year”.  I find the concept of “fresh starts” very reassuring, so every January I make long, complicated lists of resolutions, most of which are happily forgotten by February.  For me, the joy of the new year is in the making of goals, not in the accomplishing of goals.  The accomplishing (or not accomplishing) can come later.  Today and tomorrow are all about the dream.  I’m a dreamer at heart.

I really wanted to do some type of year end wrap-up, but last night’s game seems to have paralyzed my ability to articulate coherent thoughts.  The game last night felt like the end of something, which I suppose makes today a beginning, but it all feels backwards and decidedly unpleasant.  This is not how New Year’s Eves are supposed to go.  In regards to my hockey fandom, I’m stuck somewhere between the tired old year and the promise of the new year.  I’m trapped between blinding frustration and determined hope.

I don’t really know how to write about the Sabres right now, but I’ve been reminded all day of the expression, “We cheer for the logo on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.”  I’m taking a small comfort in the fact that, if nothing else, we’re going to outlast this particular team.  Someday they’ll be gone, but the Sabres will still be here.  Maybe this group of guys will pull it together, and maybe they won’t.  Being a fan will have it’s ups and downs, no matter what.

Someday, the Sabres will be good again.  I promise.  (And I say this with almost 18 months of hardcore fandom under my belt, so you know you can trust me.  I’m a wise old hockey sage, okay?)  Someday the Sabres will be good again, but New Year’s Eve is not the time to dwell on how we’ll get from here to there.  Tonight is all about the dream.

Everyone have a safe and joyful evening.  Thanks for sharing the Sabres with me in 2008, and I’ll see you next year!

Let’s go Buff-a-lo!

…A Blog About the Buffalo Sabres

Observations 2
I can be reached at: willfulcaboose [at] gmail [dot] com

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