Wednesday was one of those days for me.
When you talk on the radio for 20 hours a week, everything isn’t always planned. I didn’t show up with a flamethrower aimed at the Buffalo Sabres for their series of missteps, more relating to the way they treat their fans than the on-ice performance of the team, though that has been, well, pretty awful for most of the last seven seasons.
But that’s what happened, and it felt right once I started, so I kept going.
There wasn’t much response at first. At least not in the traditional talk show sense. Twitter kind of went off, and still is as I write this, and I certainly appreciate that. But no one called to respond, and sometimes we can mistake that for what is being said not going over with the audience. Despite that, we re-opened the topic later and this time there was some response.
One caller in particular really reached me. His name was Alex, and he shared his frustration about the Sabres not wearing black and red throwback '90s uniforms on, well, you know, '90s night.
As a quick aside here, read that sentence back. I’ll wait.
DOES IT NOT SEEM LIKE THE MOST OBVIOUS THING EVER THAT OF COURSE THEY’D WEAR BLACK AND RED JERSEYS ON '90S NIGHT?!
Ok, where was I? Right, Alex.
So as he’s talking about going to the arena holding out hope that the Sabres would surprise everyone by busting out of the dressing room in the throwbacks, it hits me.
The organization gave me and thousands of other fans this moment back in 2003. While the team was in the middle of the black and red era, they donned their original blue and gold uniforms, white ones even, for the home finale. I was in the crowd that day and I cried.
Like, ugly cried. I cannot explain to you exactly why it meant so much to me and would admit to being kind of embarrassed that it meant that much to me, but it meant that much to me. That’s who I am.
So Alex is sharing his disappointment and I’m remembering how I felt in 2003 when the Sabres surprised the fans with the original home whites and man, I just can’t fathom that they couldn’t figure out a way to make that happen for Alex and so many others.
But what the team wears is different, isn’t it? Haven’t we learned anything from all the different jersey changes over the years? The “slug” and the “Turd Burger” are not known by those names because we don’t care what the players are wearing.
It matters, and the Sabres quite simply blew it.