Monday, December 28, 2009

Finding a Common Ground

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that you are continuing to enjoy the holiday season. This time of year always makes me think about those that I am closest to, and it gives me time to reflect on those things that are central to our relationships.

Of course there are the usual things like trust, affection, and, in some cases, genetic ties. But there's also something to be said for common interests. And in a city like Buffalo, one of the most common of interests is sports.

Think about it - How many of you spent time at family holiday parties talking to a cousin or an in-law about Ryan Miller or who the Bills next coach should be? How many of you spent time watching a game with your friends over these last few days or are planning to this week? How many of you knew that someone really knew you because of the sports-themed gift you found under the Christmas tree? Please tell me it's not just me.

Sports bring us together. One of my favorite parts of Christmas day was the few minutes I spent with my cousin and my dad talking about the Sabres this season. It may have just been a discussion about Tyler Myers and the play of a certain #28, but, to me, it's what living in this city - or at least living in my family and with my friends - is all about. I never played sports, but I learned about them quickly because that's the language we speak. Conversations always come back to quarterbacks and powerplays; some game or another is always on TV wherever you are.

I've had so many amazing moments with my family and friends because of sports, whether it was listening to WGR on the radio every morning in my dad's car when I was in high school or cheering on the Bandits with my two best friends every home game last season. My sister and I bonded over trips to Duke University to see the basketball court and autograph signings with Jason Pominville. I love teaching my little cousin about hockey and taking her to open practices because it's something that brings us closer than anything else could.

In Buffalo, family time is often time spent watching the Bills on Sundays, no matter how horrible they are, because it's what we've always done. A night out is often a trip to HSBC Arena, and "big gifts" for Buffalo kids are often hockey jerseys or sticks in addition to iPods and video games.

Over and over again I am floored by the unifying power of sports. At a time of year when family and friendships are focused on more than any other, I am awed by just how much better those relationships are because of the common ground that the Bills and Sabres have provided over the years. They've given us shared enemies, shared heroes and shared dreams.

We need sports - if only to have something to talk about at all of those holiday parties.


Mark B said...

Katie - Very nice. It's almost like we have our own language. Buffalo-ese if you will.

Katie said...

Thanks, Mark! I love Buffalo-ese; I learned it from my dad and will someday pass it on to my own kids. It's like our own little universe, and I love it!