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Monday Big Words Update on Weds! Week 26 on Stands, Week 25 Right Here!

May 23, 2007

I just flew in from Rushford Lake and boy are my arms tired.  Am I right folks?  Sorry for the tardiness of the update, but I was out of town this Monday and nowhere near a computer, so here’s your Monday Big Words update on a Wednesday.  The Night Life column that hit two days ago (‘Lucky Charms! Now With More Bell Peppers!’) is an ode to summer grilling, so scoop it up!  You might actually learn something.  As for last week’s meditation on Sabres/American Idol saturation in Buffalo Bars (‘Change Of Season’), I’m running it again right here for your enjoyment/aggravation.  That’s all I’ve got for you this week.  I literally JUST got back into town a half hour ago, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do and it seems as if every publication I work for forgot that I was leaving, so I need to touch base with all of them too.  I’ll repost soon enough,

Tom Waters

Change Of Season

As a bar reviewer, and someone who spends an unhealthy amount of time in bars in general, I’m prone to the television viewing whims of the average Buffalonian. Unfortunately, I have to put up with the crowd that shows up during Sabres games along with the mind numbing stupidity of American Idol. Now I’m middle of the road where hockey is concerned. It’s not football, so I don’t hate it, and it’s not heavyweight boxing, so I don’t love it with an all consuming passion. Hockey is just there for me. If I’m in a bar, I’ll get into the game, and that’s the only time I’m interested. This sets me apart from the die-hard, face painting, chest pounding hockey superfans as well as newly arriving recruits to the bandwagon, which is at maximum capacity this year. This goes to show you how free thinking and fickle the average Buffalonian is.

And I get that it’s wonderful that we might win the Stanley Cup, and that a solid sports team brings the community together. I get that, so don’t try it on me. It’s good for business, it’s great for the bars, etc., etc. But as someone who admits to not being a traditional hockey fan, the bandwagon phenomenon puzzles me. I went to two bars in one night last week and both bars were stuffed to the gills with overzealous maniacs screaming their heads off in triumph at the Sabres’ feats of derring-do. Where were all these people when the season started? If they’re all really big fans from way back in the day, how come I’ve never seen them out in such large numbers before? That’s my issue.

How can you call yourself a Super Fan if you only show up when the team is doing well? That doesn’t seem terribly supportive to me. I see the same mob mentality in reverse during Bills seasons. Everyone is a monstrously huge Bills fan at the beginning of the season and eventually, the Bills screw it up again and the public stops watching, turns of their radios and they go out shopping wearing Bills gear. I’m an all or nothing sort of guy, so this confuses me. You’re either all in or all out as far as I’m concerned.

The other thing that I don’t get is how you can support a concept that’s constantly changing. Supporting a team this season has nothing to do with the team you supported fifteen years ago other than the name. The players and coaches are constantly changing. I try and reason it out by telling myself that it’s like the gladiators from the Roman era. The Bills and the Sabres are Buffalo’s champions. They represent us in battle against all adversaries and hopefully, they honor our town name. Or something like that. I’ve got a lot of friends who are season ticket holders to both and the bandwagoneers piss them off, too, because they drive up the cost of their tickets. These people actually get behind the teams through thick and thin and they get stuck with the tab. I guess I’ll never understand the on-again off-again fanaticism that sweeps through this town during sports seasons. If anything, it’s taught me to appreciate hockey a little bit when I’m in a bar. Those of you who aren’t real fans just look like posers to me (and real Sabres enthusiasts), though.

As for American Idol, it’s frigging horrible. Between football, hockey, and American Idol, I don’t know which season is more unbearable in terms of length. They all run too goddamned long. I keep thinking that American Idol will be over soon and it keeps coming on! I frequent a certain bar in Lancaster every Tuesday for karaoke and they have a group of die-hards who show up just to watch American Idol and take notes. I sit as far away from the three or four televisions as possible and try to ignore it by making small talk or looking at the Quick Draw machine. I won’t give in to this show. Somebody must be watching it locally and nationally because it gets monster ratings, but I don’t get it. If I wanted to watch a group of talent less idiots going out of their wear to dress hip, I’d visit a college campus. It seems hypocritical that I enjoy karaoke and despise American Idol, but the DJ doesn’t interview each karaoke contestant as if their opinion was a)valued and b)important before and after each song. The key difference with karaoke is that we all realize we’re awful. That’s the beauty of karaoke. You get drunk, you sing badly. That’s how it works.

They’re all idiots, if you ask me. Sanjaya, Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, all of them. The fact that we live in a world where these average boneheads get record deals and actually milk a few years out of losing on the show makes me furious. The posers and outcasts who audition on American Idol are ten times worse than any Sabres bandwagon, and there’s something about the guy with the golf cap from this season that makes me want to punch him in the head. Dress like a person! All the contestants go to extra lengths to look super hip. Throw on some slacks, fer chrissakes! Lose the trendy hat before it gets knocked off of your head with a two by four! Damnit! The blood pressure medication is not working as well as I’d hoped.

And pretty soon I’ve got the mind-numbing boredom of baseball season to look forward to. Baseball season lasts literally forever. I think there’s a month out of every year where baseball is not running and I’m enjoying that month. I went to a Bisons game once for a bachelor party and thank god there was alcohol because nothing happened on the field and the game went on for the entire day. I would rather watch table tennis than baseball. It’s more interesting. Maybe it’s America’s favorite pastime but it bores the shit out of me. Give me basketball or boxing any day of the week. With basketball, you can tell where the ball is at all times, and boxing is just pure sport. Heavyweight boxing is all payoff and no down time and that’s what I love about it. Baseball is the opposite of boxing: It goes on forever and barely anything happens. It’s a dying sport.

Perhaps this isn’t the best time to announce that I’ve taken a position with a local paper covering sports. Kidding. Whenever I write about the Bills or the Sabres, people get pissed off, but I really couldn’t care less. I’ll call it a truce when you leave the game to the people who really like it instead of people who just latch on to it at the last minute when the team is making our town look good. And if you enjoy American Idol, you don’t deserve an opinion, because you’re an idiot. Do us both a favor and take your own life now before you reproduce another genetically flawed moron. After all, they could grow up and start playing baseball.

All I’m asking is that you give those of us who aren’t number one fans of any of the above a television of our own to watch during peak poser season. Not everyone in this town is a football, hockey, baseball or American Idol fan. Some of us think independently year round and support our pastimes consistently instead of infrequently. Just give me one quiet corner in any bar with bad prime time television or any HBO original show. Any of them. Those are some seasons I can get behind. ’Curb Your Enthusiasm’s sixth season is right around the corner. It’s not too late to subscribe. Call now! My shots of whiskey (and your tips) could be depending on it.

Out of the crease,

Tom ’hat trick’ Waters

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