I've lived my entire life in a quiet town in central Massachusetts. I attend college in Waltham, Mass. I've watched as my favorite baseball team, the Red Sox, broke the curse of the Bambino and won two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. I watched my favorite basketball team, the Boston Celtics, go from worst to first with the addition of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
That's where my enjoyment of Boston winning ends.
I was raised to cheer for both the Bills and Sabres. When I was old enough to understand sports, the teams I loved the most were located 437 miles away from my house.
I watched every second of every Bills game once my family bought NFL Sunday Ticket ten years ago. I watched them squander leads and lose games on a weekly basis. All of this happening during the Patriots' Super Bowl runs, of course.
It should come as no surprise to readers that I was ridiculed by my classmates. It's not often you grow up in a sports-addicted city and love their rivals. But hey, it made Buffalo's victories even sweeter.
Today, I decided that it is time for me to share my love for Buffalo from exactly where I stand: Enemy territory. Each week I will be writing a new piece on the teams I love more than anything in this world. And what better way to start off this new series by writing about the biggest acquisition of the offseason for the Bills: Terrell Owens.
I will never forget when Owens was cut from Dallas. I was browsing the Sports & Racing forum over at GameFAQs, and there was a topic about Owens. In the topic was a list stating the teams that already said they had no interest in signing him. I jokingly posted "Buffalo's not on the list!"
A little while later, I was in Toronto for the World Baseball Classic. My friends (Patriots fans) and I were watching the first Italy vs. Venezuela game, which was not too exciting. I took out my BlackBerry and went on ESPN.com.
As soon as the page loaded, I basically freaked out. I was at a loss for words when I saw "T.O. signs with Bills."
I did not know what to do. Here was my favorite team who rarely made a smart decision about free agents. A team that rarely took chances on a player, even if he was high-impact.
And they signed Terrell Owens.
I spent the next few weeks listening to critics calling it a bad signing. I heard people say T.O. would destroy Trent Edwards' confidence because Owens destroys quarterbacks. My excitement never died down.
While I do not believe that Terrell Owens is going to bring the Bills to the Super Bowl this year, I do believe that he will help Edwards mature into a true NFL quarterback. He will take pressure off of Lee Evans, who was the only go-to receiver the team had.
What the signing did was bring excitement to a city that needed its spirit boosted. We watched tirelessly as the Bills collapsed down the stretch. It was the same story ever year with this team: close by no cigar.
The signing brings a ray of hope to the city of Buffalo. Maybe we will get to see the Bills take the field in the playoffs, or maybe they will come up short once more. The difference this year is that we have an exciting, game-changing, play-making, superstar on the field. Something this city has not seen in a long, long time.
(This is the first part of a new editorial series entitled "Inside Enemy Territory." If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for the next piece sometime next week.)