On May 13th, 2004, the Buffalo Bills lost a great fan, and I lost my best friend. Jennifer Lynn Young, my sister, was killed in a car accident in Virginia Beach at the age of 18. Today is the anniversary, and the reason I write this article.
When I made the trek up to Orchard Park from Pittsburgh on Sept. 25 the next year, nothing felt right. When my father and I got to our usual seats near the endzone, I couldn't stop my heart from dropping when I looked to the seat to my left and saw that my cheering partner wasn't there.
I learned to cheer harder.
My sister and I received our passion for Buffalo sports through my grandfather, a strong, quiet man and Major in the 2nd Marine Division. He spoke little, but one thing he and my father have told me in life is that whatever I believe in, I should follow with all my heart.
I believe in the Buffalo Bills.
I've relived wide rights, witnessed Miracles in the Music City, and heard an entire stadium go daftly quiet when a player hit the turf. The question you may ask now is, why, through all the turmoil that Buffalo sports has put me through, why still follow?
The tattoo on my right shoulder—pictured above—is not just a tattoo. It's a symbol of pride. I'm proud of the Buffalo Bills. I'm proud of the city that has stuck by its team through years of endless criticism around the league. I'm proud of the fans that chanted "Scott," even after he missed wide right.
That pride will never be taken away from me, and that is why I still follow.
Some of my first memories as a child are of sitting on my grandfather's couch, watching Bruce Smith sack Dan Marino, having Kenneth Davis run one to the house in the Tecmo Bowl video game, and having my dad tell me of his times at the Rockpile.
My love for Buffalo sports has even led to my nickname in college being simply "Buffalo," due to the fact you won't see me without a Buffalo Bills or Sabres jersey, shirt, or hat on at any time. I once wore a Pittsburgh Pirates shirt to my friends house. My friend smirked and said, "So you finally gave up."
I lifted my right sleeve and silenced him for the rest of the night.
My friends call it an obsession. I call it a passion. I write for the Buffalo Bills so that I can spread the word to fellow diehards and fans, keep them up to date, or even share another writers opinion on situations involving the franchise. The first Web site I go to every day is the official Buffalo Bills home page, followed by fan forums on seperate sites.
I will continue to write and follow, and with the recent passing of my grandfather, will learn to cheer three times harder when I'm in Ralph Wilson Stadium this year.
As any true Bills fan will tell you and as I stated above, I don't believe in the Buffalo Bills, I Billieve.