Indulge me. I have to write this note, but today, I don’t care about the New Times. Terry and Kim Pegula will buy the Buffalo Bills.
OK, I know it’s only sports. Even for football, today’s announcement pales compared to one from just yesterday: new video of player Ray Rice punching his girlfriend. Domestic abuse is far more important, to far more people.
But to Buffalonians, like me, this matters. More than I thought. People have been calling Buffalo sports radio in tears all morning. Tears of joy. Seems extreme … except that I’ve been teary, too.
A few years back, simple economics made it seem inevitable that the death of the aging Bills owner, Ralph Wilson, would end with a new owner moving the team. To Los Angeles. Or Toronto.
No more Bills? Lord knows it sometimes seems being a fan involves more pain than pleasure … but the idea that the Bills experience — going to the stadium or watching on TV, rising and falling with the team’s fortunes on Sunday and following every story during the week — was something I wouldn’t be able to share with my son, Will …
… to some it might seem superficial and silly, but it’s hard to put into words how
disheartening that was.
But by the time Wilson died in the spring, the prospective owners included the Pegulas, hydrofracking billionaires with a deep commitment to Buffalo. And the Pegulas won the bidding.
“The dark cloud that was hanging over Bills fans … is gone,” a Buffalo radio guy says. “It’s the most important day in Buffalo sports history.”
I hear that, and write that, and it seems crazy to use that language about … a football team. But that’s exactly how it feels.
A few years back, Will’s grandmother gave him a pot of money to buy tickets to concerts and sports events. He recently used some of that money to buy me a gift: two Bills season tickets.
With today’s news, it’ll be electric Sunday at the stadium in Orchard Park. And I’ll be there … with Will. The Bills tradition continues. And now it will for years to come.