My Hockey is Broken

I started ushering at the downtown local Buffalo professional hockey arena in 2009. I needed the extra cash and this seemed like a way to have a fun gig to make that extra dollars and enjoy the assignment at the same time. They are my team.

When you take that posting, you are a building employee first so you are there for all kinds of events but the hockey ruled the roost. The Sabres made some noise in 2006 and 2007 and some of that still echoed off the walls when I started.

It was always a thrill, or at least it was. When the Sabres first started playing, there was something about it. So much so, that when the Sunday night games would start at 7pm, I would listen before drifting off and my brother at the end of the room wouldn’t mind. We both wondered how Ted Darling could tell that the puck that just went over the glass

Now understand, game day is always a thrill. You can’t help but have a bit of anticipation as the event starts to unfold. Behind the scenes is often more captivating than what is visible and I guess that part of the allure for me in assignments such as working an event.

Despite the differences between concerts, lacrosse, tournament basketball, hockey drives the train at that’s fine. For this lifelong fan/parttime usher, that’s alright but for far too long, my hockey has been broken.

There are always good parts. When working the lower portion of the arena and finding a practice puck that made it over the boards, you had a guarantee for brightening a little kid’s evening and making that experience that much more special. But the game would start.

It’s not that weren’t moments. For everybody that ever wrote (however, correctly) about the morgue like state of the fandom, I wish there had been more witnesses to a come from behind Buffalo win over Toronto in I think 2011. The home team came back from two goals down and won it in overtime. The building shook with passion. When the winning goal went in, you would have thought the war was over, deliriously happy strangers were hugging and high fiving, joy was pretty contagious without any assistance from Labatt’s.

When it is going good, it is like watching a game with a bunch of new friends and the wins would yield high fives and laughs that made the long day. When it was going not so well, you were watching the crowd with greater intensity, on Leaf nights to see if all the chemical serenity stayed serene.

I fear the Sabres are squandering Jack Eichel’s talents and what time Rick Jeanneret has left behind the microphone, tragedies both. They aren’t out of it, but to come off a nine day vacation and stumble all over yourselves while playing the worst team in the league (and losing) in your home building in such a zombified like state is a tough beat.

I stopped ushering after the NHL Draft in 2016. The long commute from my fulltime job and scheduling issues along some general exhaustion got to be too much. But when the concerts and other spectacles outnumber the memorable games, that is an issue, and one that still isn’t righted. I think of the overtime goal in 2016 Eichel scored with one second left, the Leaf game I alluded to, and concerts by Stevie Wonder, Further, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam. Roger Waters as the ushering highpoints.


The hockey should really outnumber the music. Hope only springs so eternal, but I can’t help but thinking Darcy Regier & Lindy Ruff weren’t the problem.

Fix the hockey, that will sell the jerseys, that will sell more drinks, that will make the good players stay here to be good, that will get people into what can be a great game. There have been great games here. There was a 2-2 with the Montreal Canadiens played 43 years ago that I still remember because it was such a thing of beauty.

I shouldn’t be watching for when pitchers and catchers report when there is still lots of hockey to be played. It would be nice if it was meaningful or even fun. The fun is drowning in the dispirited, lethargic results.

Fix the hockey, Sabres. My joy is disappearing.

Me, closer to the cup a few year ago, than this year’s squad

They are my team, I’m just exhausted from 13 years of shortcomings. He is too, probably.

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(from the Buffalo News)



These Eyes

Waiting rooms and unsavory chores are great ways to contemplate what all is transpiring in the elements that surround us all.

I was sitting in an exam room last week waiting for my dad to get taken care of and the in-room television was tuned to TLC. What was the Learning Channel was giving us an onslaught of Dr. Pimple Popper. It was aptly named but seemed like an odd freak show vignette for a hospital waiting room.

I don’t know when exactly we got so afraid of ideas to the point where people act on half truths or comforting gossip, instead of doing a little research.

I mean why go off half cocked when you can breath, maybe read a little and go in full.

A guy locally paraded in the march of privileged, pistol-packing cosplayers who were upset with Virginia’s attempts to bring a little sanity to the idea of gun control. Said local knucklehead was proudly showing off a variety of armaments that no sports man needs, but no government official is coming for. The law asked for background checks and limits as to how many new purchases you can make to add to your gun collection. How much stocking up does one need to be doing? I thought I missed the part where Virginia was coming for their guns. Turns out I didn’t, as Virginia is not, but let’s invest lots of time into fear mongering that seems to be all anybody will pay heed. Said local doofus should enlist, but I think a push up is asking a lot.

Did you notice the clean water act is getting rolled back? Check it out:

Did you notice that a nutritious school lunch program has been axed?

Did you notice you the quote from the President about cutting social security after the election?

That’s our money that we’ve been paying into all of our working lives. It’s only ever been in danger from Congress and the President as they yell entitlement long enough, you can’t talk about it without some yahoo on Twitter pointing out that “it is an entitlement program,” like the semantics matter. It’s not gift money, it is money I’ve earned, thank you very much.

The president noted that the GOP wants to “do a number” on social security. This is the GOP who talks about “the American people” a lot. They don’t seem to have much regard for the actual people who live here.

Ted Cruz ( a guy who supports the President more than he supports his own wife and dad) thinks it was absolutely right to investigate the Bidens. The GOP has had a majority since 2014 in the Senate. Why now, Eddie, er, Ted?

Given that, you’d think the endeavors of the Democratic candidates would be pretty linear, very straightforward, but instead they continue to fight among themselves and it is accomplishing little.

I didn’t expect the impeachment to change anything. It is just disheartening to the see the volume of people who ignored their oaths and obligations to ensure that was the case. At one point, it was reported that 24 Republican senators were out of the room. McConnell, Graham and others signs oaths swearing dutiful jurorhood, but that is pretty laughable given their respective lap dog status. Curious how Graham got to be out of the room when 20 year video of him actually saying “there doesn’t need to be a crime to impeach.” Interesting giving the same person could be swung so opposite of what was conviction. Darned power, there it goes, corrupting again. It does make me wonder what goes on in those states that such jamokes are never fading from site. Wish it was a fair fight, that each side called witnesses and actually played it out. If I’m in the administration and I’m guiltless, it is practically a victory lap.

When your world loses somebody like Terry Jones or Kobe Bryant, that is sad, for some epically so. The downside of social media is that gifted people are no longer with us. If you don’t mourn the same, that’s fine, but so many are in such a rush to point out flaws or past imperfections or other matters. I don’t know what that benefit is, other than moral superiority from behind a keyboard. Jones meant a lot to the comedy of my youth. In the case of Bryant, aside from everything else, dying and unable to prevent your child from meeting that same fate. I feel for him, his daughter, their family and all the poor souls on that helicopter and their families.

Apparently, it’s okay to be ignorant and take it out on NPR reporters. There appears to be large amount of okay when the Secretary of State decided to bluster and berate a well informed reporter from NPR on matters Ukraine. Commenters on some sites are just fine with that behavior, just not with having an NPR. Guess the second amendment is the only amendment with swagger.

I was reading this morning about the head start Wegmans Food Markets are getting on the New York State plastic bag ban. His attempt at a parting shot was to say “well, Tops just gained a loyal customer,” conveniently forgetting that Tops will be following the law as well, just closer to when the time comes. But the shit we are choosing to care about just astounds me, the shit getting a pass? That’s a stunner too.

The zippy one liners needs facts too, folks.

These eyes are definitely not smiling.