Despite my three-year addiction to Buffalo Rumblings, this is my first post. One of the things I love about this blog is how often people share their personal stories about being a Buffalo Bills fan. So in the midst of the most exciting off-season in my lifetime, I felt compelled to share how Buffalo Rumblings has impacted me.
After I finished college in 2006, I moved to Cincinnati for a job. I openly wondered how I would follow the Bills with the same enthusiasm I had for the last 22 years. Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to find an answer. First, I found a Bills Backers organization close by that has become my second family. There are a surprising number of displaced Western New Yorkers in southeastern Ohio and I quickly settled into a routine of watching our beloved Bills every Sunday with my new friends. Second, I discovered Buffalo Rumblings.
The level of professionalism and zealousness exhibited on this blog was evident immediately. As I sorted through articles I felt like I was getting to know the frequent commenters even though I’ll never meet most of you. I learned to balance skepticism with optimism and to treat them both with fairness. I learned about the history of our team, the personal antics of our players, and the team-building strategy of the Chix regime. In short, Buffalo Rumblings has made me a better Bills fan.
Then, I began spending more time learning about other teams through their SB Nation blogs (none of which compare to Rumblings in my humble opinion). I diligently read posts by contributors like Der Jaeger, Ron from NM, and jonramz to learn about the finer points of defensive schemes, what really makes an offensive lineman successful, and how breakdowns in the secondary occur. Probably due to my innate interests as a businessperson, I’ve spent countless hours researching the salary cap to understand what makes the business of football tick. And the beautiful thing is, all of this information is readily available at our blog. In short, Buffalo Rumblings has made me a better football fan.
But what has really captured me over the last year is the community of Buffalo Rumblings. From the 25 rec’s on every abayarde post within a few hours, to the incredible smile on my face when I read the first dozen comments on the long-awaited post labeled “Buffalo Bills Sign DE Mario Williams”, I’ve come to realize that Buffalo Rumblings is about more than football and fans – it’s about building a community. In a world where sports coverage is dominated by major media outlets and the internet can be painfully impersonal, we have something truly special at Buffalo Rumblings.
Last year while reading a FanPost, I was inspired to share this sense of community with others. I decided to purchase 15 tickets to the Bills/Titans game and donate them to an inner city youth football team with help from the United Way of Buffalo. In a letter I received from the team coach after the game, she explained that her team of underprivileged children in Buffalo sometimes didn’t have anyone to play against because opposing teams wouldn’t travel to their home field in a depressed part of the city. It was the first professional sporting event these kids had ever attended and I hope it’s a memory they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
When the United Way asked what inspired me to donate the tickets, I said something very simple: Being a Bills fan is about being part of a community – and I can only hope that every Bills fan has an opportunity to feel what that means. It wasn’t until I found Buffalo Rumblings that I fully understood this. In short, Buffalo Rumblings has made me a better person.
As we anxiously await the start of what we all hope will be a fantastic season, I share my story in hopes that you’ll all think about the community we have as Bills fans, and specifically at Buffalo Rumblings. The work of Brian, Matt, and all the contributors never ceases to amaze me. This season, I’d encourage all of you to pass on the sense of community we have to another Bills fan who doesn’t yet know what it means. Take a cousin to training camp in Rochester, watch a preseason game on TV with your niece, or just introduce your co-worker to the greatest sports blog on the planet. Each of us here at Buffalo Rumblings has developed an intense feeling of pride and belonging as a Bills fan – we owe it to Bills fans everywhere to pass it on.