An ode to the Buffalo Bills – a team with a playoff drought lasting 17 years – one of the longest playoff droughts in NFL history
Author: Aidan Ryan
The Jersey of Depression
A Winter Song from the AFC East
I thought, once, on a Sunday night, stuck between
“Close it out, or keep it open?” that if only living
with depression could be like living with the Bills,
I’d be OK with choosing life.
If depression came in seasons and started with a draft selection
of another second-string quarterback
If depression ended with a Super Bowl watched for ads that aren’t
as good as when I was a child
If I could blame depression on the referees, Norwood,
Goodell and the Patriots I’d still
put on the jersey of depression.
If once every five years or so I had a chance
to sell my soul to Jon Bon Jovi and Toronto
I might take it, but I’d miss being able to go
to any city in the world and find there people
hiding jerseys under heavy coats, tails
of Nike’s water-repellent twill peeking
out like tzitzit, drinking Canadian
pilsner-swill in a bar decked to the rafters
in the pennants of our affliction.
If on the darkest 3 AMs of my soul I could
celebrate with the spiciest of nourishing chicken wing dips
I’d be pulling out the oven-safe dish right now.
If at 4-4 midseason with an injured running back
I could still win in the fantasy league of depression
I’d be checking my stats at halftime.
If I could ride an iron rail across a prairie
taking pot-shots at the ungulates of all
my hairy guilts and failures there’d be just a few left in a zoo.
And if in the saltiest winters of indifference
I could be depressed while wearing Zubaz,
— well, wait, I often am depressed while wearing Zubaz, but
no matter, it
doesn’t work that way
when you are blue
the stadium is empty
except for you, and you are
cold and you are sober
even when you’re drunk
and the field is pitched
for eleven men in strange colors
to roll a ball one hundred yards
that will only roll back down
the hundred yards, and a hot dog
is still seven freaking dollars.
But, I am from Buffalo, born
in ‘93 and comfortable with Ifs
and therefore somehow stronger
knowing this: that though we face
some post-seasons alone
we will feel more
or less the same in winter:
if we could tailgate our depression,
we would tailgate our depression, and
next year, we likely will.
In the meantime, there’ll be hockey.