Last year at this time I had no idea what #BillsMafia was or that it even existed. I didn’t really get into it and start using the hashtag until probably sometime in the winter of 2011/spring of 2012. In that time I have gotten to know some great people and have a platform to discuss the Bills in a way that I have never been able to do before.
I was born on Long Island, and have lived there my entire life. I have always been the only Bills fan I have ever known. Up until this year I have never had a conversation with another Bills fan outside of the games I have attended over the years. It is tough being the only Bills fan in a land of Jets and Giants fans, with them always making fun of the Bills for their Super Bowl woes. Twitter and #BillsMafia has made the impossible now possible for me. We may all have different opinions about the team, players, coaches, etc., but at the end of the day we all want the same thing and that is to see the Bills finally get back to the playoffs and to be a force to be reckoned with again in the AFC and NFL.
Due to the proximity of where I live to Buffalo, I only get to one game a season. This year I bought tickets for the Miami night game. Then as the year went on and I got to know more and more people from #BillsMafia, I realized I had to also now come to the New England game to meet everyone at the Tweet Up(s). It was great to finally put a face to so many of the people that we all tweet with and follow on a regular basis, starting on Saturday at the Hotel LaFayette and Sunday at Hammer’s Lot.
It was amazing that LaMark Brown (@LBrown_87) took the time out of his day to hang out with the #BillsMafia for 4 hours (the ENTIRE duration of the pre Tweet Up)! I personally had a 45 minute conversation with him about the Bills, football and many other topics. The man is a 100% class act. He never once looked or acted like he was bored, having a bad time or that he “had to” be there. I really hope he makes it onto the 53 man roster at some point in his tenure with the Bills. It’s always more fun to root for a player when you know how good of a person they are. I will always root for him now whatever team(s) he end up playing for down the road.
On Sunday at Hammer’s Lot, Alissa Chandler (@AlissaChandler), who is Scott Chandler’s wife for those who don’t already know, came by the Tweet Up and chatted with many of the fans. It was great to meet her and her beautiful children. I got to have an awesome conversation with her as well. She is totally down to earth and just a great person overall. It was such a great experience to meet both LaMark and Alissa. The Bills and the city of Buffalo are lucky to have the both of them as members of the community.
I think it’s amazing that the players and their families recognize and support the #BillsMafia on a regular basis. Say what you want about what happens on the field, but these players and this roster have really embraced us and make us feel like a part of the team in our own little way. I have never seen players interact with fans like I do in Buffalo. It’s really a great relationship between these players and the fans.
Some months back, a group of us started using a video chat as a way to talk Bills football in a way other than 140 characters at a time. Maybe you have seen the hashtag #BillsMafiaAfterDark. In any event, it was great to finally meet so many of these people that we have all gotten to know and talk with on a regular basis. I personally cannot wait to come back next year, meet even more members of #BillsMafia and make this an annual tradition and game/weekend that I attend.
Who knows what the future holds for #BillsMafia, long after Twitter is no longer a relevant form of social media. All I know is that this past year has been amazing. I have met some great people whom without #BillsMafia I would never have gotten to know and am proud to call many of these people good friends. I feel closer to some of these people than my own family and friends that I have known my whole life. It was great to finally get to meet these people and I will keep this 2nd Annual Tweet Up in my memories for years to come.
Thank you #BillsMafia for making this past weekend such an awesome one despite what happened with the game!
LET’S GO BUFFALO!!!