It was one for the ages. Friday night I attended the screening of the locally produced documentary film, Almost a Dynasty, written, directed and produced by real live Buffalonians: Phil Gangi, Peter Tasca and Stephen Butler.
This was like no other film, no other evening, no other moment in Buffalo, ever!
We all dream of telling our treasured stories on the big screen and having our friends and families and fellow fans come to join us at a real theater, to bask in the moments and memories, but we'll likely never realize that dream.
Well, Phil and Peter and all scores of people came together to help tell the story of Uncle Mike and the torture of being a Buffalo fan, Bill Polian and the treasure of being part of the Buffalo story and Marv Levy and the power of a genuine pep talk.
We all took a trip back in time and remembered OJ and Fergie and the Rockpile. We traveled into the 1990s and felt that excitement and anticipation of the preparation for and journey to the Superbowl. We all fell off the escarpment of shock and sorrow of wide right, just one more time.
But the Boys pulled us out of that pit, to Niagara Square and 30,000 adoring fans who made Scott Norwood feel a love like no other he had ever felt. We were there, again to see Frank Reich captain the ship through the muck and the mire of the Greatest Comeback, to an unexpected high water mark in the war of Buffalo sports heritage, to a place of joy equivalent to any championship moment.
The movie was entertaining, genuine and authentic, like the best plays, concerts and festivals that we can experience here in Buffalo. Friday night culture was defined not by O'Neil, Strauss, Fosse or Homer. Friday night Culture and the Buffalo Story were delivered by Gangi, Tasca and Butler and the entire Italian American community that told the story with love, warmth, humor and pride.
In Buffalo, Sports is Culture and the story of the Bills is the Story of Buffalo!
After the movie, we all flowed into one of the best Buffalo taverns, to celebrate the Boys of Fandemoneum with, of course wings and pizza and beer, the diet of the fan. The meal was magical, with fresh live jazz in the air, and we sat with Steve Christie, Van Miller and Pinto Ron, the super fan. To tell them what our favorite moments were and ask them what they remembered fondly. We were just at the bar, having fun, being Buffalonians.
Like the great memories we experienced, the evening and the effort connected us to one another.
As I left the shindig I reflected on what it all really meant. It was all about dreams and living them. It was all about Buffalo and how those who come here have no idea how much they are going to love this place and be loved here. It was a celebration of Buffalo and our sports heritage and the people and places and moments... it told the story of the American Experience as well as any other.
For one evening we could forget the pain of four consecutive losses and walk away grateful and honored that no team, like our team, will likely repeat the feat of four consecutive trips to the Big Show, It was an odyssey we would not want to trade for anything. We celebrated the fact that we are a people who pick ourselves up and dust themselves off, over and over. We are a city with a dynasty, more important than Dallas or San Francisco or Boston or New York. Buffalo has a Dynasty of Character.
Buy this film
, Almost a Dynasty, for yourself, your friends and family. It's the perfect stocking stuffer. It's your story.
Michael R Weekes is founder of the Fandemoneum Entertainment and Sports Experience which will find a home on the Buffalo Waterfront in 2014.