My buddy Ryan was kind enough to let me stay at his home in Niagara Falls. Not to mention, Ryan arranged tickets for us to see the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, care of Mick and Angelos sports bar group package (product placement).
I decided to keep mental notes of my trip. The following is an account of what happened, as best I can remember.
10:11pm On my way to Niagara, I tell a friend of mine that I’m going to Buffalo for a football game. She responds, “How very hetero of you!”
10:11pm I think about it a bit, and I don’t agree. With orgy-like pileups, and the positive psychology of butt slaps, football can be different things to different people.
11:30pm I arrive at Grand Central Bar in Niagara Falls. Ryan tells me this is Niagara’s hipster bar. “Chop Suey” by System Of A Down is on in the background while we’re talking.
11:31pm He tells me that it was either this or Boston Pizza. “One thing I had to learn when I moved to Niagara Falls, people go to Boston Pizza to have fun.”
11:35pm Our drink platter arrives. Fuck BP.
11:55pm Already drunk.
12:00am From here on in… things get blurry.
4:00am We are partied out. Wake up call is 730am.
8:15am We sleep through several alarms. Wake up at 815am.
9:ooam Late for breakfast. Thankfully there still is a large pile of bacon. We inhale it and get on the bus.
10:00am Border cross takes a while. I hear some chatter involving rubber gloves and border cops, which sounds a lot like fan fiction.
10:45am We drive up to the tailgate party. While our driver is trying to park, we see a retrofitted ping-pong table. Someone on our bus yells, “Is that a 12-year-old girl playing beer pong?” The driver makes a sharp turn, so it’s never clear to us whether she was actually playing. The facts are she had a cup, and was standing next to the ping pong table, but there is no clear, indisputable evidence to overturn the call.
11:00am I get off the bus and the first song I hear is, “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Unlike the Goo Goo Dolls, Def Leppard are not from Buffalo, but they sure sound like they are right now.
11:15am There is a pig roasting. Its destiny is in our stomachs. We have to wait until the game is over.
11:45 I brought a football. We start tossing it around. I develop a quick rapport with a friend of Ryan’s, catching him on quick slants and skinny posts. He is catching everything with one hand because he’s holding a beer with the other.
12:15 He drops a pass because he added a cigarette to the other hand.
12:50pm I buy a Buffalo Bills toque that’s far too small for my huge head.
1:0opm The Bills game starts. We aren’t inside yet–we are held up by two girls in our group who went to a bar to do shots. I could care less because I have a feeling the Bills are going to lose in excruciating fashion today. It’s getting harder and harder to call it a feeling, rather than, say, a rational thought.
1:15pm-ish We get in but before we can get to our seats, the Bills score a touchdown. I spoke to a fellow Bills fan and he tells me it was number 15. We know it’s not Watkins–he’s 14. We guess Robert Woods and Mike Williams, but #15 belongs to teacher’s pet, Chris Hogan. We should be excited by a first drive touchdown, but there is nothing more deflating than knowing Chris Hogan is a big part of the game plan.
1:45pm So far so good. I have yet to encounter any hostile Buffalo Bills fans. I’m starting to think Deadspin might be full of shit.
People were so shit faced by game time that they had to open the parking lots an hour later. Needless to say it didn’t make a lick of difference. People just chug Genny Light in their driveways until 10:01 now instead of 9:01. I can also understand why the NFL didn’t hold a night game here for so many years. I was in the public lot for the Browns Monday night game. The only thing missing from this icy Gomorrah was the burning of virgins. There were port-a-potty blow jobs for all. Let alone the tire burning and faithful patrons getting boot fucked by the cowboy security guards at the gate of the stadium. When we had disposable income and could get season tickets we would play the “count the yellow jacket” game when they would have to swarm to the end zone to break up another completely reasonable altercation.
2:30pm The Bills are leading at halftime 10-3, but I’m not at my seat, seeing as I was exploring The Ralph.
3:30pm The Bills begin their descent. Horrendous coaching decisions? Inexplicable penalty calls? Inopportune turnover(s)? This is exactly what a Bills game at The Ralph should be like!
3:50pm There is a game still going on. The Bills throw four times in the red zone without a completion. Inexplicably, Scott Chandler, who is 6-7, is not targeted in the red zone once. But Chris Hogan is twice…
4:15pm Bills game is over. Ryan turns to me and says he’s happy and sad. Happy that Jamaal Charles got him some fantasy points, but sad that my first Bills game at The Ralph was a loss. I honestly don’t care they lost, but I appreciate the sentiment from him. I don’t know if you’re allowed to cry at hetero events, but I want to right now.
4:45pm The pig is ready. Someone says the pig, “died for a great cause.”
5:00pm Beer is running low. We start two fisting to get rid of our drink tickets.
6:00pm We are late leaving. Because the girls I mentioned earlier, took off to find a convenience store to get some drinks for the road.
6:30pm A due pukes on the floor. He claims motion sickness. I believe him because soon after we get into a heated debate over Alex Smith. Apparently he’s a top-10 quarterback. And he is… in the CFL.
6:45pm I manage to talk to several Bills fans who think Nathaniel Hackett should be fired. I avoid getting punched in the face. I think I fit in.
7:oopm We are back in Canada.
7:00pm to ???? Shit gets weird. But I do remember checking out Ryan’s work place Strada West. I’m also not surprised he has a pasta named after him.
bier a la beaubien
pancetta pan seared scallops hard shell clams, peas, served in a beer cream sauce orecchiette pasta 18
1100am (the next day) I get dropped off by Ryan at the bus stop, who impressively could still drive after the rough morning he had. I wait outside for the bus next to a dude wearing a Bills hat.