Tag Archives: Buffalo

Sabres Bruins

My wife and I spent the weekend upstate in Buffalo, and while we were there, we saw the Sabres play the Boston Bruins. Besides a few Rangers games at Madison Square Garden, I’d never been to any NHL games that weren’t the New York Islanders playing at the Nassau Coliseum. And so it was like being in a parallel universe, watching two teams playing that I’ve never really followed.


Everything about the Sabres is pretty cool. They have cool jerseys, their arena is cool, and it was really cool that they could pack their entire arena on Saturday night. Because the Sabres are a pretty terrible team, and they got crushed by the Bruins. I say that not as knock, because I know what’s it like. I’ve been an Islanders fan my entire life, and, aside from this year’s impressive start, they’ve been pretty terrible for about as long as I can recall.

So it was cool that the fans showed up. But I couldn’t help but notice a lack of energy from the people in attendance. What I mean to say is, based purely on my experience of watching hockey games at the Coliseum, Islander fans have a way of cranking up the energy. The participation, at the beginning of every game anyway, is always nearly universal, people chanting “Let’s go Islanders,” and, “Rangers suck.”

And maybe it’s not fair, because the Sabres wound up losing four to nothing, so maybe they could have gotten excited. But people just kind of sat there. It was like they were expecting to get blown out right from the beginning. When the Bruins drew their first penalty, four ushers started waving these giant white Sabres flags from all corners of the arena in anticipation of the power play. As the stadium speaker system blasted the guitar riff from Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” I thought, OK, finally, maybe now we’ll see some excitement. But no, everybody just kept sitting there, not cheering. Maybe every now and then a dozen or so fans would join in the artificial “Lets Go Buffalo” suggested by the Jumbotron over center ice.

And then Boston started scoring goals. I never figured out what kind of a reaction a goal would draw from the home team, but there was actually a pretty decent wave of applause for every Boston goal. Boston is like six hours away. I have no idea how they got so many people to make the trip. The periods dragged on, whatever existed of Buffalo’s energy disappeared, and gradually that power-play-flag-waving Rage Against the Machine ceremony twisted into this sort of mocking joke.

Again, I’m not trying to dump on the Sabres. It’s really hard to get pumped up about a team that doesn’t do anything year after year. But I was expecting some of the obnoxious blind faith that I’ve seen at Islander games even toward the end of last year, when it was clear that there was no shot of them finishing above last place in the division. It was a fun night, and I’m happy I got to experience a game from a different market. But yeah, hopefully the Sabres pick up a little momentum or something. Because I kind of felt bad watching the stadium empty out after they announced the fifty-fifty at the middle of the third period.

Oh yeah, I used to think that the Islanders had a good fifty-fifty. But after participating in the fifty-fifty at Buffalo, I realize that I had no idea what I was talking about. Whereas the jackpot at the Coliseum might be a grand or two, Buffalo was able to collect thirty thousand dollars in fifty-fifty tickets. They had vendors walking around the aisle with little printers that spat out lottery-style tickets. We should do that, because it was awesome. In fact, for a while I was positive that I was going to win. I could just feel it. I didn’t win, but whatever, neither did the Sabres. I bet you a Boston fan won the fifty-fifty.

When people say “pop” instead of soda

I love it when people say “pop” instead of “soda.” I start laughing so hard. “Hahaha!” I’ll interrupt whoever happens to be talking, “You said pop!” and I’ll just totally take over the conversation, which is a bad habit, I’m not trying to brag here or anything, but it’s like I can’t help it. Someone says “pop” and that’s it, game over, you might as well leave, because that’s all I’m going to talk about until we part ways. And even then, the next time we run into each other, even if it’s like months later, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to bring it up right away, the last time we were together, “Remember when you said ‘pop’?” And I’ll just laugh and laugh.


Which, again, it’s not cool, I’m being a huge dick, I get it. But I can’t stop it. I tried really hard to keep it in last time I was up in Buffalo. I was really hungry and I went to a diner, and I just sat there and prayed, I said, God, please make it so the waitress doesn’t say pop. But that was my first mistake, because just that thought process alone got me going. I imagined God in my head listening to my prayers, and in my imagination, he started laughing, he was like, “Ha, my child, you said ‘pop.'” And so I already felt it bubbling up from inside, the giggles.

When the waitress came over, I asked for a Coke, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of this beforehand, but I really should have just had iced tea or water, something, anything besides soda. But like I said, that idea hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I just said it, “I’ll have a Coke, please,” and then I held my breath, hoping that the waitress wouldn’t say anything to get me going.

She just said, “You got it,” and so I let out a sigh of relief. But when she came back with my drink, she caught me by surprise, I mean, at my restaurant, we have a rule that you’re not supposed to announce whatever it is that you’re serving. Does that make sense? Like, if you order a hamburger, a lot of people’s natural reaction when serving food is to narrate it, like, “Here’s your hamburger,” as it’s getting placed in front of you. Obviously it’s a hamburger.

But yeah, just because that’s how they do it in my restaurant doesn’t mean that that’s how they do it everywhere, and I should have been ready for it, I should have had my hands over my ears, so I could have at least tried to muffle out the sound of her putting that Coke in front of my face, saying, “Here’s your pop.” Because that’s how it went down, and I just totally lost it.

I tried to hold it in, I really did, but this only made it worse, because my efforts in restraining the laughter only succeeded for about half a second, and the noise that I made as the “haha” escaped from my throat, that’s exactly what it sounded like, like an escape, like I was holding it back, but it just, bam, it just knocked over completely the flimsy walls that I had hastily erected in a pathetic attempt at not letting that laugh out.

“Is everything OK?” she asked me, and come on, everything was fine, I was the one that had the problem here. I wish I could have just made it out to be like something was wrong with me, because really, there actually was something wrong with me. I had this uncontrollable urge to laugh at something that, definitely in Buffalo anyway, isn’t funny at all.

“Yes, everything’s …” and again, I couldn’t really think of anything to say. Now I can look back and say to myself, Rob, you should have said that you were laughing about a joke that your friend made last week, or you could have turned it into a cough or something, but none of that seemed natural in the moment, I was clearly laughing, and I just said, “I’m really sorry, it’s just that, you know, you said ‘pop,’ and you know …”

“Yeah, that’s what we call it up here, pop.” And she stormed away, clearly insulted. Worse, I was still laughing. I couldn’t stop it. As I was trying to explain myself, I kept getting my words caught up over my laughter, still beating me in my efforts to, if not contain it totally, to at least reign it in somewhat. But no, I was practically spitting on her.

Because come on, “pop,” that’s crazy, right? I’m sorry, people from upstate, the Great Lakes, Canada, I hope you don’t think I’m too much of an asshole. But that’s just so funny. It’s like that one time I went to Philadelphia and they called my hero a “hoagie.” That deli guy actually kicked me out of his store. I thought he was going to chase me out, try to punch me in the face or something.

I’m in a New York State of State

New York is the greatest city on Earth, that’s just a fact. And everybody knows it. Maybe there exist other great cities equal or superior to New York somewhere else in the universe, maybe on some futuristic planet, galaxies away, but I have no idea, I have no way of knowing if that’s true, and to be perfectly honest, I doubt it. Ask anybody from any other city, “Hey, you, what’s your favorite city?” don’t even bother sticking around to let them answer, because they’re going to say New York. You add up all of the other cities in the world, they don’t even come close to being one percent as great as the shittiest of city blocks in New York.

new york state flag

Like I said, everybody already knows this stuff, so I’m not going to spend any more time spelling it out. What a lot of people don’t know is that New York also happens to be the greatest state that has ever existed in this, or any other country. Yes, that includes provinces or whatever it is that other countries call their states. New York State is the greatest state there is.

And, yes, a lot of New York State’s greatness is due to the fact that our greatest city is New York City. So, right, that already gives New York State a ridiculous advantage. But there’s more than just NYC. There’s Albany, that’s our capital. And if you’re like me, you might be thinking to yourself, Albany? Really? Like maybe you’ve had to drive through or past Albany once, and you might have had to go to bathroom really bad and, yeah, you were running a little low on gas, but you just couldn’t get yourself to spend another minute there, that hopefully you’d have enough fuel to make it to Schenectady.

But therein lies Albany’s, and thus New York State’s, greatness. You see, I always look at inferior states, states like Massachusetts, or Georgia, when they were planning out their state hundreds of years ago, some genius legislator or state planner had the bright idea, “Hey guys, let’s make our biggest city the capital!” And that’s what you call putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Here in New York, we took all of the politics, all of the grimy, dirty business of state government, and we put it far away from our (and the world’s) greatest city. Let’s let New York be New York, (I’m talking about the city) and we’ll let the state legislators and assemblymen fight amongst themselves up in Albany. Because let’s face it, somebody’s got to gerrymander districts and dole out liquor licenses. Why pollute such a great, great city with such petty nonsense when we can remove it to somewhere two or three hours away?

New York State has so much more than just New York City. Like Niagara Falls. Or half of it anyway, I’m not sure what the Niagara Falls sharing agreement is with Canada. But we’ve got a border with Canada. We’ve got some other cities too, like Buffalo, and Rochester, and Binghamton. I’ve never been to Rochester or Binghamton, but Buffalo is awesome. Instead of Taco Bell, they have this chain called Mighty Taco. I don’t think they have Doritos Locos Tacos though.

And do you know what our state motto is? Excelsior! How cool is that? Do you know what excelsior means? It means, “Yes!” It means, “Let’s do it!” It means “We’re number one!” It means all of these things and more, basically it’s just a blanket word used to express any positive sentiment. I think about other states and their state mottos, and to be honest here, I don’t think I know any of them off of the top of my head. Wait, I just remembered, “Live free or die,” from what, New Hampshire? Vermont? It’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but it just doesn’t pack the same wallop as “Excelsior!”

I’m trying to think if I know of any other state mottos, but I think that’s it. Isn’t one of them like, “A great place to live!” or something like that? Like Maine? I have no idea. I’m getting bored just trying to think about all of these other states. More New York State. It’s the greatest. We’ve got like a hundred sports teams. We say hero instead of sub or hoagie. Whenever I go out of state and I order a sandwich, I always make it a point to say hero, and if somebody behind me orders a sub, I do a really dramatic laugh, like I point in their face, and if they say, “What the hell?” I’ll be like, “Ha, you called it a sub.”

It’s just the best, New York State. We’ve got the greatest city in the world housed inside the greatest state in the world located in the greatest region of the country, that country being the best country on the planet. Again, maybe there are some other cool planets out there, but based on the other planets that I know of, like Saturn or Mercury, Earth is definitely the absolute best.