Commentary

Bandits Fit the Pattern as Buffalo Fans Wait for the Bills

Bandits Fit the Pattern as Buffalo Fans Wait for the Bills

Featured Photo Credit: Photo from bandits.com.

A summer heartbreak distracts from chillier ones. We’re blessed with new woe. The Bandits made the Bills forget about going .500 in the most recent playoffs. Another dream dashed fills the time. Buffalo fans feel like Frank Grimes delivering championships to more fortunate fanbases. Things are going terrifically as long as you don’t expect them to work out.

The cult favorite’s consecutive losses remind us Buffalo has three pro teams if we generously count the Sabres. It’s not the minor-league Bisons who are the forgotten one even if they’re beloved. Calling the Bills more culturally widespread is like noting the Super Bowl gets a decent share of viewers. Meanwhile, the most dedicated Bandits backers are like Ramones fans who think punk should’ve taken over the airwaves. Waiting for lacrosse to become mainstream brings to mind the era when comic book nerds anticipated technology would allow superpowers to be depicted onscreen without cringing. Let’s just hope characterization keeps pace.

The overlap between Bills and Bandits fans resembles the one between pizza and wings enthusiasts. Preference may vary, but most seem to cheer for both. The Venn diagram is pretty close to one circle. Fans who loathe one of them are rare like a championship. Another Buffalo team lost a heavyweight bout.

Poor Denver fans had to flip back and forth between finals wins. The Avalanche competed in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals simultaneously with the hometown’s lacrosse clincher. Buffalo doesn’t have that problem. Imagine the Sabres making the playoffs one of these decades.

Rocky Mountain backers are subjected to unimaginable stress. They’re cursed with the burden of choosing a favorite Super Bowl win. And another potential Stanley Cup parade would snarl traffic.

Photo from cpr.org.

It’s not that the Bandits crush fantasies as part of their franchise charter. They have won four titles, after all. There have just been four presidential elections since the last. Despite kvetching about what will be at least a 15-year gap between trophy flaunting, this town’s professional lacrosse side has offered a model for fairly consistent success that others should copy. The real indoor fake grass action squad has totaled only seven losing seasons, which is an amateur tally compared to the 12 the Bills compiled during the playoff drought alone.

The Bandits are supposed to be the apology for Buffalo’s other teams devastating our psyches. Now, the Bills strive to make us forget lacrosse losses here in the Upside Down. Can Josh Allen play lacrosse?

Try to enjoy benefits we didn’t want. Think of how fun it will be to spend money saved by not having to buy a championship t-shirt. There’s no need to search for banner space in the rafters; who wants them so crowded together that you can’t even read the dates? And freeing DVR space that would have been semipermanently occupied by a championship win means room for other programming I won’t watch. Now, I don’t have to be in a rush to delete the Portlandia episodes IFC ran during the winter that I’m totally planning to get to one of these months.

No upside of a letdown changes that this city could’ve used a title to celebrate. The quest goes beyond noting acquiring a crown is better than losing out on one. It’s not just that winning two out of three games would be nice on any terms: this just happens to be a particularly desirable time for a joyful moment that spurs unity. Perfect circumstances for a championship-deprived city didn’t prompt the Mammoth to discard their impressive game plan. Those mean jerks didn’t factor in our feelings.

Why doesn’t the universe heed our desires? The Bandits are just the latest Buffalo team to never reach the fireworks factory.   It really seemed like they were supposed to win. An amiable, talented group embodied our aspirations. And game conditions seemed like they aligned for a perfect conclusion. Sure, they didn’t dominate early, but that just meant a chance for even more welcome drama. 

But they let another team write the ending. Our collective’s favorite movie is Buffalo 66 for good reason. Aside from specifically documenting our city’s crushing football journey while using Recckio’s as a location, Vincent Gallo’s masterpiece more broadly featured a script about the script not going according to plan. How do we cope with things not working out like we figured they should? Coming up short seems to be standard procedure, so either treat it like an unexpected shock or brace for impact.

Photo from m.imdb.com.

Our endless burden revolves around figuring how to cope with tough outcomes. We don’t get to choose the scenario. The lack of control is a central feature of life in general and sports in particular. The good news is we can treat watching like training.

The interval would be far more fun while spraying champagne. Now, games are done for real and we’re forced to recall if we have other interests. I guess this would be a good time to see if there’s anything interesting outdoors. There must be some pretty tree or flower or something to gaze at until training camp. The countdown until the countdown has begun.

It’s natural to feel beyond tired of waiting until next year. Buffalo fans are long past the testing faith stage. Meltdowns happen a bit too thoroughly in these parts. Fate is either indifferent or teaching us a lesson. As we wish that this is the year the Bills finally and mercifully prevail, we wish for results to cease being thorough.

Editor’s babble: Thanks going out to Anthony Bialy for all his contributions to our blog. You can find Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyBialy.

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