I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting for the underdog: Nonprofit organizations, small theaters, public schools — it’s always the same battle, the big guy needs a good ass-kicking. And recently I realized where my love of the underdog first manifested itself: The Buffalo Bills.
For entire weeks of my life in third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade, my family and I religiously watched Bills games, yelling at the television, wearing the cheap screen-printed sweatshirts with the Bills logo that we bought at the supermarket, listening to the pro-Bills jingles created by our local Oldies station, watching the team miraculously advance through one playoff after another, just barely winning, always beating the teams with more money, more fame, more style.
We were the town with nothing to show for itself, the town that most people had already abandoned, and here was a football team that never quit. Even when they lost one Super Bowl after another — lost their nerve, sent a kick wide right, or just got outplayed — we loved them.
Screaming my guts out, wearing pigtails with the red, white and blue ribbons, watching Thurman Thomas run fifty yards for a touchdown, the no-huddle offense, the K gun, Bruce Smith sacking the quarterback, I became a deep believer in the power of enough people with enough heart becoming capable of anything.