They blow. We rule

They blow. We rule

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As an athlete, I suck.

It's a really bad sign when the highlight of your athletic career is whipping your mom at ping-pong. 

Even though I did dominate. Consistently. Especially after that whole wheelchair thing.

It's pretty clear that you have no athletic skill when you try to roller skate for the first time in eighth grade, and while everyone else is actually moving, you're clinging to the side rail trying to wave hi to a girl you let cheat off you in social studies because you're praying-to-god-that-maybe-someday-she'll-suck-face-with-your-fat-ass, when you slip and crack your wrist in three places.

As an athlete, I suck.

But as a fan, I totally kick ass.

Nobody -- and I mean nobody -- is better at capturing all the glory, all the passion and all the satisfaction that comes from sitting in front of television set yelling at guys half my age to do something I never could.

When it comes to that, I'm the best there ever was.

I totally kick ass.

For example, right now the NHL playoffs are underway. I'm from Buffalo, and the Sabres are the team I grew up with. The team I'll always care about. The team I simultaneously love and despise.

Y'know. Like the team you root for. Unless you're a Yankees fan. You bastard.

Truth is, there hasn't been a whole lot to be proud of in being a Sabres fan over the past 30 years. When the toughest guy on your team was somebody named Larry Playfair, you know the stars aren't aligned.

Over the years, the Sabres have actually made two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals -- both losses, of course. And what makes those championship runs even better is that they were only 25 years apart. 

Jeez, I can hardly wait for the playoffs in 2014.

Think about this: I'm zero for two in the Stanley Cup finals. I've got four Super Bowl losses in a row with the Bills. And since I've lived in Cleveland, I'm zero for two in the World Series.

That's eight shots at a title. And eight second-place finishes. I don't have a calculator in front of me, but I believe that works out to a winning percentage of not good. 

Trust me, this is a really bad life I'm leading.

But this year, things are going to be different. Because this year, the Sabres have a shot. 

Nobody else gives them a shot. But I do. Because I'm a kick-ass fan. And when it comes to predicting things like this, I totally kick ass.

Of course, you should know that if by some miracle the Sabres actually do win the Stanley Cup, a few things will happen:

Number one, I'll be better than you.

Number two, my city will be better than yours.

Number three, I'll be better than you.

I mean hey, isn't that what being a kick-ass fan is all about? For me, rooting for my team is about finding something in my life to feel good about. Because the truth is, I have nothing else in my life to feel good about.

I get beat up at work. I get beat at home. And I'm sure if someone could figure out a way to beat me up while I'm sleeping, they'd do that, too.

When the Sabres win, they don't just make my day. They make my tomorrow, too. Because when they win, I can't wait to turn on sports radio. Just to hear the score 112 more times. I also run out to buy the morning newspaper. (By the way, how annoying are those National and Metro news sections, for chrissakes? Just sell me the friggin' sports page will ya?) And I watch the highlights on SportsCenter, oh, 112 times.

When my team wins -- especially when they win in the playoffs -- I am the Kick Ass Emperor of the Free World. And nothing can ruin my day. Nothing.

"Mr. Strauss? Hi, it's the police department. Listen, um…we're not quite sure how to say this, but I'm afraid your house has burned down, someone stole your car, your wife ran off with the mailman, and your kids were arrested for dealing crack cocaine."

"You're kidding. Hey, did you see the game last night?"

When the Sabres win, all is right in the world. At least until the next game.

But when they lose, the kick-ass fan that I am can turn on a dime. And justlikethat, I'm the meanest, most cynical, vindictive person to ever walk the face of the earth. Even more than Albert Belle. When they lose, I hate the Sabres. I hate the world. And I hate that guy in my office who walks in in the morning and says, "Hey, didya see the game?"


You know what I mean. It's like how you are when your team loses.

Unless your team is the Yankees. You bastard.

When the Sabres lose in the playoffs, I don't ever want to hear the sports new again. I won't come close to a newspaper. I actually enjoy listening to the 20-minute commercial breaks on Howard Stern. And ESPN? It's all Today Show, all the time.

I've found that caring about a team is a lot like having a bad girlfriend. When it's good, it's great. And when it's bad, you just want to have sex and then think about how bad the relationship is.

No, I don't want to have sex with the Sabres when they lose. Even though I do feel like they screwed me.

I've also discovered that this caring about your team phenomena is strictly a guy thing, too. Because I've never met a women who understands it. Or for that matter, is willing to be sympathetic towards it.


MY WIFE: Son of a bitch!

ME: Honey, what's wrong? Are the kids OK? Did you hurt yourself? Is your period acting up?

MY WIFE: No, it's that goddamn Mia Hamm. How could she miss a freakin' easy header like that? 

Sometimes I try and rationalize the whole thing. 

Why should I worry about these idiots? Whether they win or lose, it's not going to change my life, right? It's not going to put any extra money in my pocket. Do you think these athletes care about me and the fact that I've got bills to pay, pain in the ass kids and the worst looking lawn on the street?

So what then? What about seeing that Sabres jersey on TV makes me stop and watch. And care. With such ridiculous passion.

Am I that much of a loser that I have to live vicariously through these guys? Is my life so uneventful, so pathetic, so void of interest that the only way to generate any type of emotion is through a bunch of guys wearing a shirt I like?

In the interest of not killing myself, I'll let you answer that question.

So anyway, the Sabres are off to a nice start in the playoffs this year. But if past history is any indication of future performance, I'm not holding my breath.

But then again, you never know.

I mean, did anyone think the San Francisco Demons would make it into the XFL's Big Game?

If you've never watched a hockey playoff game, you should. It's really a lot of fun. 

Unless the Sabres are playing. Then it's not fun. Then it's business. Serious freakin' business. Because when the Sabres are playing, I turn from a worthless, driveling, snot-filled amoeba to a testosterone-laden fireball of machismo that can dominate the couch and remote control better than any other human alive. 

GROWWWWWWWWL! It's time to take charge of my team! Show them the way! Root them on! Give them my passion! Focus my desires!

Don't worry, I'm here boys. To help you kick ass! So I can kick ass!

Because when it comes to things like this, I am one kick ass fan. And nobody…nobody can stop me.

Unless my wife wants to watch HGTV.

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