The sadness of fandom

Remember when we were all happy?

When you look through the archives of the battles between bloggers and journalists, journalists have always had a tendency to say that they wouldn’t be able to do their job properly if they had any sort of fandom towards the teams they cover.

Frankly, I always thought it was a lame excuse and that a fan could easily separate their emotions towards a team when trying to cover them unbiasedly. Sure, some may not be able to do that, but I think I could. I like to think I have a decent head on my shoulders and would use all my resources to figure out if my fandom was clouding my judgement. In other words, you ain’t fooling me.

As I write this, it’s going to be my first foray into bashing Terry Pegula…. and I really feel bad about going there.

In fact, I don’t want to.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Everyone loves Terry Pegula. I think back to his press conference when he cried seeing Gilbert Perrault. I think about the French Connection skating to center ice and congratulating him. I think about the excitement of late June/early July. In a way, we followed their lead in thinking that this was going to be hockey heaven, that we were all going down a road of dominating our opponents. The ride was going to be fun without any sort of ditches in the road. No more stupid angry tirades towards Golisano and Larry Quinn. For once, it was going to be a fresh start.  We would be the envy of the hockey world.

Instead, we are a laughingstock. It feels like another chapter in the epic horror story known as “The Life and Times of a Buffalo Sports Fan: Kill Me Now.”

I feel bad for Sabres fans, I feel bad for T-Pegs, I feel bad for Ted Black, hell, I..almost feel bad for the players in that spacious locker room, and most importanly, I feel bad for anyone who dreamed that this year would be different for the Sabres.

And that’s why I have a problem with writing all of this. Seriously, I’m shocked and sad. I feel like I’m writing a blog about the end of Pegulamania. I didn’t want it to end, but I think the honeymoon is looooooooooooong over. A cynic, like myself, would never have dreamed in my wildest, Freddy Krueger like night terrors that the season would go down like this. In a way, I feel like Stevie Johnson did when he asked God what he could learn from dropping the game-winning touchdown pass against the Steelers.

What the hell is this season supposed to teach us?!

I think you guys need the free beer more than the bloggers do.

That money doesn’t equal wins? That Darcy Regier loves his players more than ever? That Ryan Miller’s F-Bombs are getting old? That Lindy Ruff has no idea how to handle this team and will coach from his death bed at an old folks home? That the last 3 months as a Buffalo fan have been a F’N nightmare? That its hard to write something scathing about a owner that you know has every decent intention?

I guess what I’m trying to say is this is really rock bottom as a Sabres fan and I don’t know where to go.

As much as I like the owner, I can’t stand the players on the ice and that’s the biggest problem here. Terry Pegula’s statement about the team wasn’t exactly that earth-shattering when you think about it in the grand scheme of sports. Yes, I got on Twitter and thought his excuses were incredibly lame. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s dead wrong, but, how many owners or GMs would have used the excuse of injuries as the main problem for a team sucking? I’d say probably 40%.

I think if Ralph Wilson came out and chalked up the 2011 season to injuries, not many people would get upset. Why? Because the Bills core guys are likable. Fans like #13, #22 and #14. The Sabres core players are deplorable. Seriously, which guys do you like? I think Eric Wood is more popular than Ryan Miller at this point. That’s why fans are upset at T-Pegs for chalking up this season to injuries.

If the Sabres ripped apart their team last offseason and signed Brad Richards, traded Roy/Stafford for insert new names, and just brought in a new team, I don’t think fans would be upset for Pegula chalking up injuries to this. The individuals on this team need a divorce from the fans. The marriage has gone beyond irreconcilable differences and now resembles Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in the War of the Roses. It’s that bad.

Why would Pegula want to give the benefit of the doubt to such a crappy bunch?

One thought is that he’s nothing more than a super fan and his love for the Sabres has blinded him. Kind of like a parent who blames everyone else for his son’s drug problem, but not the kid himself. It’s like he’s going into self-protection mode. Love does make us blind, right? Another part of me thinks that Pegula is from a world where he thinks everything is perfect. A dreamer. He’s like Arnold Schwarzengegger’s character in the movie Twins. Where he came from was a tropical island and he didn’t understand that crime existed or that people will take advantage of you. With those two examples, maybe Darcy and Lindy are selling him that injuries are the reason for the team stinking and he’s choosing to be sucked in by them. Hey, it worked under Quinn/Golisano at the end of the 2009 season.

Of course, some people may think he’s yelling at them behind the scenes, but there’s no way of knowing this.

In the end, I don’t think you have to be a hockey expert to know that this team needs changes…Big Time. I’m all for having a Godfather Part I ending where everyone gets whacked. I also don’t think you have to be a denouncer or a homer to know that this has been a really sad season. Frankly, it couldn’t end any sooner for all of us.


About Joe

The Lord of Buffalo Wins