Editor’s note: Please welcome @dbright21 to the #BillsMafia blogging staff! Donna’s first post is an introduction to how football became a passion of hers and some thoughts on the direction the current team appears to be heading in.
How does a real girl like me end up being a football fanatic? My story begins in Buffalo, as so many good stories do, sitting on the couch next to my dad watching what I thought were giant men who called themselves the “Electric Company” bring a certain, well, electricity to the city and blocking for the man that they called “the Juice.” I really didn’t understand the game at the time except for the basics – score points by crossing the goal line or kick it through the uprights; that was simple enough. I liked the excitement of watching the Buffalo Bills score, and it was also fun to see boys at school look surprised on Monday that a girl knew some of the players names and the final score. Besides, if you weren’t watching the game with Dad at our house, you were banished to your room and ordered to be quiet, and that wasn’t fun at all. My dad had rules for watching the game – rules that are to this day strictly enforced at my house:
1. No unnecessary chit chat during the game, except during commercials.
2. Hold all questions until the half or after the game.
3. Don’t be a moron! Down in front!
4. Children are there to get food and beverages, or help fix the reception (Yes, I played human antenna on several occasions),
My football knowledge didn’t increase until I started high school in a small sports obsessed town in Southern California. My high school was contending for the CIF Championship, and I had a major crush on one of the players on the team. Yep, it was about a boy. He had the locker above me, and I knew that the only thing he’d be interested in talking about, if we ever talked, would be about football. So I started asking questions. Our team kept advancing in the playoffs, all the way up to a gut wrenching, seconds left in the final, record-setting 52 yard field goal kick to win the Championship. I was hooked for life! And I understood the game! (And yes, I talked to the boy, but after all, I was only a freshman and he was an upperclassman).
When I graduated from college, I came back to my first love: the Buffalo Bills. Just in time, as they were building a team for the 1990’s. I found the L.A. Bills Backers who were meeting in Burbank, and these people were as crazy about football as me! We had our own music, Bills giveaways, and sunshine all season. My sisters and I would get up early Sunday morning, don our jerseys, and head over to the bar. And the Bills were winning. And kept winning. That team with Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Darryl Talley, Bruce Smith and all the other greats connected me with my family and home city because they were a lot like us – they had heart. They played the kind of football I love: tough, scrappy, heartbreaking at times, but most of all, they gave it their all.
And here I am again, watching a new group of Buffalo Bills building a new team that is very connected to the fans, in a way I haven’t seen in years. They are calling it a rebuilding year, but I have a feeling it’s more than that. As the old song says, there’s something happening here… I am viewing football again with the hopeful eyes of a new fan, just like when I watched with my dad, where anything is possible.