Deep breaths…deeeeeeep breaths. Ok, I’m good. 2 years ago a column like Rod Watson’s on why Buffalo Bills fans should get over their elation would have had me running to the Twitters unleashing a tirade filled with NSFW grammar. But this is the new 40 year old Todd. 40 year old Todd can appreciate other viewpoints. 40 year old Todd can acknowledge that other people don’t share his same loves and that’s ok. But 40 year old Todd also knows a curmudgeon when he sees one.
First let me take you inside Radio Blast HQ on Sunday night as the Bengals were driving for the game winning TD. Grown men and women were on their knees praying. Reasoning with God himself to please end our misery. Yes I said “our”, contrary to Mr. Watson’s citation, identifying with your team by using “we” or “our” is not “obnoxious affection”. It’s aligning yourself with a group that shares your same loves. And when Tyler Boyd crossed into the end zone an explosion happened at RB HQ. 17 years of misery and “Billsing” were suddenly released. 17 years of mediocre QBs, overmatched head coaches, overthinking offensive coordinators, and generally craptastic teams. We jumped, we screamed, we high fived, we ran into the driveway to meet our neighbor to celebrate, and yes some of us even cried.
Now let me take you inside my own head and get personal for a bit. For the past 4 years I’ve suffered from some pretty bad panic/anxiety attacks. Occasionally even debilitating. The reasons I’ll get into at some future date. Just know that feelings of pure joy and happiness were overpowered by anxiety and fear. Smiles were few and far between. Genuine ones anyway. Fake ones were easy. But then something happened. I woke up without a hangover on January 1st for the first time in a long time. The “daddy can I get into bed?” was met with a “sure buddy” instead of a long groggy grown. I went to the store to get some food for breakfast and a noticed something. I looked up, I saw the sun, I saw the bright blue sky. And then…a smile. Not a fake one but a true cheek raising smile. I smiled and said hi to complete strangers. And what do you know they smiled back. Remember that scene from The Office when Jim comes back after getting engaged to Pam and has a huge smile on his face and even says “Hi Meredith”. That was me all day.
I told myself I was going to pull myself away from social media more in 2018. But guess what I was doing most of Monday? I checked social media non-stop. Looking for more stories from a historic Sunday. More videos of the players reacting in the locker room. More videos of Kyle Williams breaking down in tears…just like we did. More articles from the national media praising the team and the fan base. For all the ills of social media it’s times like this that I truly cherish it. Because it helps connect with fellow “we’s and our’s and us’s”. We wanted to celebrate in anyway possible with other Bills fans.
And yes, even three days later I’m not ready to let go of this feeling. I still get choked up when I see Kyle Williams. I still get excited thinking about playing a meaningful game after NYE. I still swell with pride when I see how much money my fellow Bills fans have donated to Andy Dalton’s charity. And you know what? I don’t want it to end. Win or lose on Sunday I want to remember this feeling for a long time.
Maybe Mr. Watson isn’t a sports fan. That’s cool. As my grandmother would say “to each their own”. But for so many of us it’s more than a game, and that’s ok. For some of us it’s even therapy.
But don’t do this. Don’t spit on our parade. We’ve waited a long time for this. Everyday we’re bombarded with bad news. Our president is in a dick measuring contest with one of the craziest people on the planet. So pardon us if we want to suck every last bit of joy out of this. Afterall, this is what sports does. It gives us a release…an escape. When the Twin Towers came crashing down we looked to the World Series and NFL Sundays to give us three hours away from the horror we just witnessed.
What was your goal for writing your column Mr. Watson? Were you genuinely sick of a city full of happy people…after two days? Were you trying to show how much more cultured and civilized you were than your fellow Western New Yorkers? Or were you just trying to get some clicks? No matter your reasoning it’s a sad and desperate act of trying to make fellow human beings feel bad for feeling good. Shame on you!