My trip to Boston – Part 1

September 10, 2008 at 1:52 am | Posted in Football, Personal | Leave a comment

My wife and I returned to North Carolina from Boston today.  We had an absolutely great trip even though the Rays lost the game that we attended at Fenway Park last night.  The Rays game isn’t the only part of the trip that I want to share with my readers, so I’ll be writing three different blog posts about the trip.

Imagine this.  You’re watching football on a Sunday afternoon at one of the biggest sports bars in downtown Boston.  It’s located right across the street from the TD Banknorth Garden where the Celtics and Bruins play.  There are hundreds of fans tightly packed in.  It’s so crowded that there’s no place to sit and there’s barely enough space to walk.  There are about 20-30 different TVs in the building and they’re all tuned to the same game.  Suddenly, you see Boston’s biggest sports hero, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, limping off the field with a serious injury which could (and it turns out, did) end his entire season.  In response to this, almost every person in the building erupts in loud cheers!

That’s not exactly what you were expecting; is it?  Well, I witnessed the scene exactly as I described on Sunday, September 7.  The bar was called “The Harp”.  And it’s the place where the Bills Backers of Boston meet every Sunday.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet on this blog that I’m a huge fan of the Buffalo Bills.  The focus of the blog is on baseball and baseball cards, and I don’t intend to start collecting football cards (it’s hard enough just to keep up with baseball cards), but football is my second favorite sport.  I’ve been a Bills fan since the day I was born.  It’s something that I inherited from my dad, who has been a fan of the team since their first season (and the AFL’s first season) in 1960.  My mom has pictures of me wearing Bills shirts as a toddler.  I grew up in Rochester, which is about an hour east of Buffalo.  I was fortunate enough to attend many Bills fans when I was a kid, some outside in the freezing cold of a Western New York winter, and some in my dad’s company’s luxury suite.  I was also able to meet and get autographs of almost every Bills player from about 1987 through 1993.  I witnessed the team win 6 division championships and 4 AFC championships, but they broke my heart by losing 4 consecutive Super Bowls.

It’s been a lot harder to be a Bills fan this decade.  They haven’t made the playoffs since the 1999 season, when Frank Wycheck of the Tennessee Titans threw an illegal forward pass on a kick return to Kevin Dyson, who scored a touchdown in the final seconds, to “win” the game.  Titans fans call that play the “Music City Miracle” but Bills fans know it by its true name, “The Immaculate Deception”.  The Bills have been mired in mediocrity ever since that game.

Anyway, back to Sunday.  When my wife and her sister began talking about wanting to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 on Sunday afternoon, I knew that I’d need to find something to do on my own.  That was a good thing because I knew that I wanted to see the Bills game even though I had my DVR set to record the game back home.  I knew that I’d want to see the game live instead of a recording after I already knew the result.  After some quick online research, I found out about “The Harp” and took the subway to get there.  I expected to see some Bills fans there, but when I walked in, I was amazed to see hundreds (somewhere between 500 and 1000) Bills fans packed in there.  Every TV was tuned to the Bills vs. Seahawks game.  There wasn’t a Patriots fan in the entire place.  I met some great people from Buffalo and other parts of Western New York, and I had a great time.  The bar even served some pretty good wings and they had Labatt Blue on tap.

I sometimes go to the sports bar in Raleigh where the Raleigh-Durham Bills Backers meet on Sundays, and there’s usually a crowd of 100 or more people there.  It’s a great atmosphere, but it was exceeded by what I saw in Boston.  It helped that the Bills dominated Seattle in every aspect of the game, and won it 34-10.  Hopefully they can continue that success in the coming weeks.  I do have a good feeling about the team, and I’m cautiously optimistic about their playoff chances this year.

So Sunday afternoon was a lot of fun.  It’s not every day that I get to see a huge crowd of people cheering a Tom Brady injury in the heart of Boston.  Actually, I should point out that I personally didn’t cheer when I saw Brady’s injury and I think it’s unfortunate when any athlete gets hurt, but his injury certainly does give hope to the other teams in the AFC, especially in the AFC East, this year.  Who knew that there were so many Bills fans living in Boston?  I thought everyone from Buffalo had all moved south…

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