King of Contradiction
By ice rivers
"root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win it's a shame"
When I first started watching football, the only New York team was the Giants. In baseball we had three teams to choose from the Dodgers, the Yankees and the Giants.
Today we have three NFL teams in New York, although two of them...the Giants and the Jets play their home games in New Jersey.
The Buffalo Bills are the most authentic New York football team. Not only do they represent New York but most particularly upstate New York. When New Yorkers travel outside the Empire state and identify as New Yorkers, many of our new acquaintances assume we're from New York city and apply the available stereotype. Upstate New York is an entrely different ball game from the Big Apple. We're located on Great Lakes...Erie and Ontario. Our accent is closer to a Chicago emphasis than to a NYC accent.
I'm from Rochester. I love the Bills. Like many other upstaters I originally loved the Giants. When the Bills started in 1962, I shifted my allegiance to the Buffalo team and was considered by some to be a turncoat, supporting a crappy team in a shitty league. I still rooted for the Giants but the Bills had won my heart. They were our home team. Root, root, root.
Most of my hood were Bills/ Giants/Jets fans. I rooted for all three teams but favored the Bills against the other two and the AFL over the NFL.
When the Bills played the Giants or the Jets, I rooted for the Bills.
There were always a few "weirdos" around who rooted for other teams. I could never quite grasp how somebody in upstate could end up a fan of Miami or Cleveland or Pittsburgh, unless those cities were once their home town. I suppose I can understand the Browns because once upon a time in the old, dark dyas the Browns were the "other channel" choice when only two games were broadcast locally. Most of the people I knew who were Miami fans weren't from Miami, they were just provocateurs who enjoyed pissing off the locals whom they considered brainwashed. In other words most Dolphin fans were basically assholes.
Then there existed another kind of weirdo who rooted for the Cowboys, apparently because they watched a lot of Westerns growing up. Some folks liked the Eagles or Cardinals because I suppose they liked the uniforms. Some latecomers to fandom were drawn to whichever team was the most dominant when they came aboard as fans. I can understand that thinking although I understand how such a preference can be regarded as a semi-fake fan/latecomer.
Around my neighborhood, you didn't want to be perceived as a full out fake fan. Fake fans usually wore the latest jackets and hats from whatever team they were front running with. Front runners are always with whomever is ahead. This is the opposite of a true fan, who has suffered through many excruciating defeats.
Few fans have suffered like Bills fans over the duration up to and including last year, which provided a whole new level of frustration and heartache when the Bills couldn't maintain a lead with seventeen seconds remaining on the clock for the league championship and ticket to the Super Bowl.
So, I'm a Bills fan...big time.
Here's the dilemma.
I have a new home.
I live in North Carolina.
North Carolina has a team of its own; the Panthers.
For the first four years of our move to the South, I didn't consider Charlotte to be my home. I have a residence here but my home is Rochester. In our fifth year, I came to the conclusion that North Carolina was in fact my home.
Thus the dilemma.
Root, root, root for the home team or root, root, root for the hometown team?
After 60 years of rooting for the Bills it would be insane to call me a fake Bills fan.
For 53 of those years, I never dreamed I would end up in Carolina, yet here I am.
On August 26th, we remember the day 33 years ago when we somehow survived a high speed crash with an eighteen wheeler while on the road heading to the Field of Dreams. We try to do something special in honor of that miracle whenever the 26th rolls around. This year, we decided to go see the Panthers play an exhibition game.
Their opponents? The Bills of course. How do I handle this dilemma?
First of all, it's an exhibition game so it doesn't matter who wins or who loses.
Secondly (starting to sound like Joe Biden), the Bills and Panthers are in two different divisions and will not be playing each other for real this season.
Thirdly, I can root for both teams until or if they ever meet in a playoff game or SuperBowl in which case, I'm gonna root for the Bills.
d) If I wear only Panthers gear to the game, am I being a fake fan? If I wear only Bills gear, am I being an asshole provocateur?
e) my daughter Mary is a designer and has styled some gear for the Panthers. How can I not wear her designs to the game? My Panther's hoodie hasn't arrived yet but if it does arrive in time for the game, then I'm going with that as family is a trump card (forgive me for saying trump).
So here's my solution.
I'm gonna wear my Bills jersey with my Panthers hat unless my Mary designed hoodie shows up in time to don that for the game in which case, I wear my Bills lid.
Kinda reminds me of the old poem..."Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm a schizphenic and so am I.'
Let's face it, the situation is a paradox and in the realm of paradox, contradiction is king.
Now let's hope that it doesn't rain.