“Hit em in the hands”

As this picture from the Buffalo News shows, that was close. It wasn’t the only chance for the Bills to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it would have been the most memorable. God, Twitter or anything other cosmic force had little to do with the result. Shake it off, Stevie. As the prophet Andre Reed mentions, “Everybody drops one.”

There really wasn’t anything riding on the outcome for us, but man, that would have been cool.

Heck with it, bring on the Vikings


Beating Toronto…again

After reading about the Bills’ struggles with the Patriots, it is fun to think about that the Sabres can count on the Leafs to give them somebody to get healthy on. The home team was good enough to win in my second straight usher start. That part was interesting as I worked one of the lower levels and did apparently well with it. There is a different atmosphere in the arena during Leafs games as Leaf fans snarf up tickets for Buffalo because of the costs of seeing their boys at home.  I had a little bit of everything to deal with tonight, from first aid calls to wheelchair deliveries to nearly taking out a alumni but cutting through the wrong door. If it wasn’t for the home team getting a horn sounding when they scored, it would have been hard to know who was winning if you were passively listening. A few sections had a few fans more “animated” than I, but I took it has a compliment that one of the regular ticket holders liked my handiwork.

That shot, courtesy yahoo, went in. Folks went home happy. I went home muttering about everybody who gets dowy eyed about the first snow of the season, trouble is with is that roads are filled with people awed at the first snow of the season. It was snowing hard, not a forceful snow, but what came down hurt when it hit you downtown. The walk to the arena was about as windy a stroll as you could want and the added bonus of the pelting snow wasn’t really necessary. I discovered that true function of the Skyway. It served as a car port for me, keeping me from having to do the first scraping of the car of the season. Coming up Delaware, a Blazer kept fish tailing in the untreated street. I being no fool, pulled over to avoid any issues.

My car re-earned my affection for its adherence to the road.

The post game beer at home was well earned.

Toronto, beaten for the 16th time in 19 tries, somewhere Punch Imlach is smiling.

Falling Leafs

Walking the beat in Section 314-313, there were a few hundred stories in the naked section. When I took the above photo, there was a sense of optimism in the building. When the refs didn’t see the Pittsburgh player (I forget who) cover the puck up with his glove in the crease optimism left the building faster that the hot dog vendor prepping for post game outside. Now, the Leafs are in town, good time for the boys to get healthy. And I got the call again to come on down.

So, getting paid to watch the Maple Leafs lose, trade wisecracks with visiting Toronto fans, there’s good times. We can only hope the Sabres find some offense tonight. I mean, if I got to wear a tie, I’d like to be entertained, is that so wrong?

Like the 300s, easy duty the other night, somehow I got feeling moonlight with the animated Leafs fans might be more colorful

Holiday Roads

Well, that didn’t take long.

As we are now into the season of acting like we should all year long, it was only a matter of time before the deals of the season caused the first injuries. I was betting on Walmart, not the Target I frequent. The sad truth is watching the video, you see people helping their friends over other people. So, yeah, not a Black Friday fan am I.

I suppose to suggest all the advertising geared toward today implies that if you aren’t out there, you aren’t pulling your weight might be a little much, but it kind of feels like that.

Guess I’m one of those who liked the reasonably stress free holiday that was yesterday, grateful for my lovely kids and their amazing mom, the laughs and good food last night at my folks, and today’s first cold turkey sandwich.

Those are good things.

10 years after

November 20, 2000 — Not a blizzard in the traditional sense, but it was still an impressive storm. Only the most benign of circumstances, a teacher’s conference had my little clan all in one place.

Funny thing was that it really didn’t start snowing until the early afternoon, but by mid-afternoon, you could tell it was going to be something. It was hard to know the expanse. We had both cars as I was working nights and my wife was working out in the burbs. Our little two car caravan got up to Goodell in no time, but as we approached Main, time stopped.

After turning on to Virginia St, we crept up the road and after a while progress wasn’t happening. I thought I should call work, but cell phones were quite the sidearm they are today. Didn’t have one. I’d find out later that they basically closed anyway. Somehow, we found actually parking spaces just before Elmwood Ave. and headed to the Virginia Street Fire Station where the good folk there offered shelter to wait things out.

After the Buffalo Firemen sprung for pizza for the kids and an hour or so later, the snow stopped and we walked home from there. I think that was the most surreal part of this particular storm. The businesses that dot Elmwood Ave. from Virginia up to Utica and probably beyond were open for business. The street from Virginia to almost Utica was three deep in abandoned cars, a sea of out-of-place quiet. My daughters were then 8 and 5 and thought this trek up through the snow, down the middle of the not-so-busy street was hysterical, laughing like they getting away with something.

I was mostly glad for a teacher’s conference, else it might have taken time to find where the girls wound up and their mom might not have made it home that night.

Walking back down to get the cars the next day was no big deal by comparison.

Black Friday

When Steely Dan released that song many moons ago, I don’t think they were referring to the 8pm opening of Kohl’s on Thursday, Target’s 4AM start or Walmart’s midnight sale.

Does the success of your holiday hinge on getting a good place in line outside Best Buy in the middle of the night? Notice, I said holiday, singular, as it is one day.

Now, dear reader, lest you think I’m some kind of scrooge, let me assure I’m not. It’s all good fun. I remember being up for quite a few showings of “A Christmas Story” on TBS as my wife and I assembled and wrapped the offerings for our three lovelies for Christmas morning. I’m pretty sure there is photographic evidence as to how healthy that was.

I guess I await the inevitable, the poor bastard who gets trampled in the doorway at Walmart trying to get a deep discounted HD television set. It tempers things a little.

I used to get a little frustrated with my own limitations financial wise when it came to the kids, but they’ve thankfully grown up with healthy perspectives in regards to the holiday.

I suppose the mania of early openings has good intentions. Being the skilled marketer that I am (yeah, right), I’d have my store run regular hours and let folks get the deals at civilized hours like 10:30.

I suppose that explains that come friday morning, I’ll be sleeping in.

Why So Serious?

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson (13) holds up his jersey so diplay his T-shirt with “Why so serious” written on it after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010, in Cincinnati. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) and wide receiver David Nelson (86) follow. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke).

Ladies and Gentleman, my new favorite Buffalo Bill. Johnson did up his eye black joker-style and out did both Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco. Sure, the Bills dug themselves into a whole & the Bengals went to pieces after halftime, but the last time the Bills put up 49 points (Holy crap, the Bills put up 49 points!), Kelly, Thomas, etc were all still in the lineup.

The season is still going no place, but it sure isn’t dull getting there.

Sheffield Ave is one way

I think the Big Ten had a case of Winter Classic envy when shoehorning Saturday’s Northwestern-Illinois game into Wrigley Field. Wrigley is, well, intimate. Witness the end of the end zone and what would usually be the right field wall. The quest for unique surroundings will have them playing offense in just one direction, so nobody runs into the right field wall too fast. That should be a sight.

According to a statement on yahoo, the Big Ten is working with:

The following rule changes were determined to be the best of all options and will be in effect for this game only based on the unique layout of the field.

1) All offensive plays will head toward the West end zone, including all extra points and all overtime possessions.

2) All kickoffs will be kicked toward the East end zone.

3) After every change of possession, the ball will be repositioned for the offense to head toward the West end zone.

4) As a result of a coin toss held by the conference office Friday morning, Illinois will occupy the West team bench in the first half and Northwestern will occupy the West team bench in the second half and for all overtime periods.

Only time that possession changes will be watched when scoring isn’t done. I guess. Not to be outdone, Notre Dame went big time to take on Army in Yankee Stadium.

No spacial issues there. Sightlines from the third base side might just be a little better in the Bronx