Two weeks ago, we asked the readers of Buffalo Rumblings to submit nominations for the boldest fans of the Buffalo Bills. We asked for one nomination from the general population of Bills fans, as well as one that frequents our community here at Rumblings.
From the entire fan base, Ken Johnson - better known as Pinto Ron - was chosen as the Bills' boldest fan. Tonight, it's time to pay a quick tribute to our choice for the boldest fan at this blog. That man - nay, legend - goes by the handle 'abayarde,' and he is a Buffalo Rumblings institution.
I have been asked on several occasions if abayarde was in fact a myth - a dummy account created by yours truly in which I could simply let off the steam that my regular role here prevents me from issuing. This has happened far more often than most people realize. I get asked if I'm abayarde by family, friends and acquaintances. Everyone wants to know his story.
I know abayarde's name. That indicates to me that he is either a real human being, or is capable of coming up with a convincing alias. I don't know his story - not because abayarde is a self-created myth, but because I don't know the man. I do know his name, however; it's not Brian Galliford. Yes, folks: abayarde exists, and he is a Rumbler.
Another question I frequently field is whether or not I "like" abayarde. I suppose I'm asked this question because of the stark contrast in our writing styles; I play the role of the careful and objective observer, while abayarde writes as if he's about to run through a brick wall, enjoy doing so, and then eat the bricks as a victory meal. I'm queried as to whether I "get" him, or whether I've ever had the urge to ask him to change his ways and conform to what I might call "usual" Buffalo Rumblings standards.
I'll answer some of those questions publicly: yeah, of course I like him. It's kind of hard not to. No, I've never asked him to change. No, I don't always "get" abayarde. I don't think you have to, though.
I take pride in the fact that this community is capable of having intelligent, focused and detailed conversations on a daily basis. Yes, sometimes those conversations devolve into petty fights, or lose focus, or sometimes worse. By and large, however, Rumblings remains one of the more analytical-without-getting-too-geeky blogs in the SB Nation network. That's what I wanted to build when I started this site.
But you lose something when you put yourself into that niche. You lose a little edge. The Rumblings commentariat brings a lot of that edge back, but y'all just as easily get sucked into the objectivity of this place - and while that's a good thing, it dulls the edge.
Yet abayarde has proven impervious to objectivity. His online persona here is subjectivity in its purest form - and that pure subjectivity is laced with unparalleled passion, a strong grasp of things poetic, and donned-on-the-sleeve pride. Being subjective is not a bad thing, and abayarde helps keep this blog balanced.
If MRW and I are the brains of Buffalo Rumblings - and if all of our tens of thousands of readers are its heartbeat - then abayarde is its warrior instinct. When a rallying cry is needed, abayarde supplies it - and it's always impeccably timed. He is our version of the fired-up football player standing at midfield during pre-game warmups, screaming at his teammates. We are those teammates. This blog obviously feeds off of his enthusiasm. For that, abayarde is most certainly bold - and an absolutely essential part of the Buffalo Rumblings experience.
We're all wagon blasting with you, friend. Keep on keeping on.