For the 2006 and 2007 football seasons, I worked as an usher during the Bills Home Games. It wasn’t the most exciting way to pickup extra cash as most times I was stationed outside a few of the dugout suites. The fun part about that is that, with the exception of one of the suites owned by two tight fisted car dealers, the suites is question were owned by a few of the players. I will always sing the praises of Donte Whitner and Lee Evans as their folks never risked me working thirsty. It made what could be a tedious gig sort of fun, even after I got moved into the aisle where you had season tickets holders in one section and another section made up of some season ticket folk, but mostly people who were followers of the opposing team. I may have a permanently warped perception of night games from that experience.
That’s me in my institutional garb for the Winter Classic.
it’s funny, because after word of the Bills’ dismal performance yesterday comes the well-intentioned yet poorly executed idea of cleaning things up in the parking lots. Now, anytime you get 76,000 people together, they will come in all flavors: good souls, football fans, gourmands, and jerks. In the Bills defense, there is a problem out there. It costs a lot to get a drink of any kind there so to beat the system, there are a lot of folks who smuggle in cans and manage to get it through. Finding the contraband Busch or Bud (notice nobody smuggling in Molson or Labatt) was a regular occurence. And the amount of drinking has been a source of, ahem, issues. I had the treat of working the Bills/Cowboys Night game and dreaded every minute of it. It was a beligerent Buffalo Fan who taunted a Cowboy fan till he got himself ejected by taking a feeble swing at me (and missed comically).
But they are trying consciously to clean that up as it is a blast to be there when things are going well, everybody is your buddy and in my ushers garb, got fed more than once making my way to my car afterwards.
A good friend of mine has held court in the “Coffin Corner” for a number of years now in lot one, with a tailgating extravagance that has been seen on tv numerous times in tribute to its vastness, from breakfast, music to a nice thing afterwards waiting for the traffic to thin out. Some players would visit. It’s pretty benign and how you want folks to behave when your team has an image issue, and how some folks are just there to get loaded on the 9 dollar beers. The fact that the Coffin Corner folks had to scale back feels a little like the organization wants to take an easy way out. They set up in lot one, close to the stadium, and I think the issues the team should really be looking at are the lots a little further out, the ones across Abbott Rd and at ECC where sometimes Labatt Blue unintentionally sponsors a retelling of “Lord of the Flies.”
There are folks who wouldn’t bring a little kid to a game because of those elements and a few times I was scared for those who did. It’s just that you hope that the guys who picked out our Offensive Line are no longer setting policy off the field.