Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Game Three: An Incredibly Biased and Somewhat Cocky Recap

With some quick thinking on Jack’s part, the Earl and I were able to score some tickets to Game 3, my first playoff game and my first professional sporting event as the Away team. A hop, skip, LIRR, bratwurst, three tall boys, and a taxi ride later, we found ourselves amidst a massive congregation of people who wanted to kill us. With 75% of us wearing Sabres gear—Ritch looking surprisingly natural for a man whose skin hasn’t touched a jersey with a 50% win rate for a considerable number of years—we’d at least thought there would be a few Sabres fans to get our back if shit went down, but it was nothing but an angry sea of orange, blue, and gold chains. I’d never been out with both Jack and Ritch together before, but their resemblance to a bundle of sticks and branches is apparently uncanny, as people yelled at them everywhere they went.

Though I had been assured that our section was where “all of the Buffalo fans would be sitting”, I was grateful to be in the top row, minimizing the risk kidney punches. Not like there was much cause for awhile. Two pucks to Ryan Miller’s head in the first period had me more worried than Mother Miller herself, and the Isles were looking pretty sharp, probably spurred on by home-guido advantage. The Sabres at least held their own, though I got sidelined by a nacho quest and had to find out about the third goal in true Northern New York fashion (a passing woman in a Drury jersey yelled “Fucking A!”). Though the refs were apparently doing a pretty solid job when Buffalo was getting nailed on penalties, that opinion changed right about when the calls shifted to the Isles. The first tripping penalty might as well have been accompanied by the cartoon sound of a rug being pulled out from under someone, so the masses bit their tongues, but when Randy Robitaille got the same call six minutes later, we were given the pleasure of watching 20000 Islander fans attempt to throw their rally towels onto the ice, apparently hoping the Coliseum had temporarily suspended the laws of physics.

The win was ultimately celebrated with a slight, hidden nod to the other frightened Sabres fan in the section, and after avoiding a knifing in the bathroom, which had become largely populated by Buffalo fans (all the Isles girls were out pissing on people in the parking lot), we made our way back to the LIRR, where we finally encountered a critical mass of Buffalo fans, most of whom were scattered figures from Jack’s youth. Victory in Long Island smells much like burning tires, as it turns out.

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