OPINION: The Big Picture: Feel good, Buffalo!

The winning is made much better because of all the past losing

If you go to my bio on the WGR website, you’ll see that it says I am the guy that can tell you the last 30 Heisman Trophy winners and NCAA basketball champions, but have no idea how to change the oil in my car. It's all true. I put it there for a reason.

As embarrassing as that may sound, it’s just who I am. I’ve always been a sports guy. It’s been my life since I was a little kid. Watching sports, playing sports, talking about sports.

That’s not to say that I can’t talk about other things intelligently. Of course I can. Well, at least talk about them. The intelligent part would be debated by many, but you get the point.

I really believe I was born to do what I'm doing. To sit down with a microphone in front of me and talk about sports, and especially to do it here in Buffalo, where I grew up.

Not everybody is like me, of course.

If you listen to our shows or just by reading this, I’m guessing you’re a sports fan on some level, and you’re probably a Bills fan. But that level is different for all of us. You may be super hard-core, sitting in your Zubaz right now, patting your Josh Allen bobblehead and talking smack on Twitter.

Or you may be a really casual fan, who tunes in and out of a game once in a while, looks for the final score, but honestly couldn’t tell the difference between Tyler Bass from Corey Bojorquez.

But either way, you know that growing up in Buffalo means something a bit different when it comes to sports.

The Bills became a team in 1960. The Sabres 10 years later in 1970. And sure, there were a couple AFL titles in there, but 110 years combined for both teams and still no Stanley Cups and no Super Bowls.

Yet, we see cities like Tampa Bay, whose teams came along well after ours did, have both already. Cities like Seattle and Indianapolis? They have their Super Bowls. And in hockey, Dallas and Raleigh, North Carolina? Are you kidding me? Those Cups cut deep here for personal reasons, too.

We’ve always sat back and watched parade-after-parade-after-parade in all these other places. I think about that little kid sometimes in Boston who shows up to all of their championship parades with his sign that says how many times his teams have won a title since he’s been born.

It’s nauseating.

Sure, we’ve had our share of thrills, our own parades and celebrations. We made it to the Super Bowl four times and the Stanley Cup twice, and the journey to those were great and fun. But ultimately, never the big prize.

But that’s exactly what’s made it more special here. Every time we got knocked down, we got back up. Every time we lost, we felt we could get back to win. And every time we didn’t, we tried all over again. And tried, and tried, and tried.

Because that’s what sports are actually all about. The championships are the goal, but the lows - the losing, the heartbreak, the wondering, the hope. That’s what makes those highs the ultimate pay off.

We need them, and it’s what brings us together as a fan base, and even as a community.

In life, people band together and lift each other up when things are going wrong. We’ve seen that nowhere better than right here in Western New York.

The same is true in sports. The winning is never fully appreciated unless there was losing, and Lord knows we’ve had our share of losing. I have no idea and I’m not going to predict a Lombardi Trophy parade this season for the Bills, or any year in the future. I have no idea how this is all going to turn out.

But I do know this: For every person who’s trying to minimize the Bills winning their first divisional title in 25 years because that’s all it is a “division championship”; for every Patriots fan you encounter to make fun of you for celebrating a division and not a Super Bowl, you should ignore and forget abut them.

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about something that makes you feel good.

We’ve felt bad long enough and plenty enough. We’ve all done it together.

So let’s feel good together this week. Let’s be sports fans.

Follow me on Twitter: @SalSports

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