[Note by Brandon Worley] I'd like to take this chance to formally welcome Mike Russo to Defending Big D. Mike has been part of the team for a while now helping us out behind the scenes, but every now and then he'll supply us with some good commentary and opinion as a special guest contributor. Mike is a former sports journalist and feature writer. He resides in Rochester, New York.
I'm not that guy. You know, the one who brags when his favorite team wins a championship. Actually, I never had the opportunity to be that guy - until the Stars took the Stanley Cup 10 years ago. Unfortunately, my bragging rights were severely compromised by Brett Hull's controversial, Game Six, triple overtime Cup clincher. You know the one.
Truth be told, as someone who lives less than an hour from downtown Buffalo, the victory by my beloved Stars had an asterisk next to it the size of a Jerry Jones TV set. "Great", I remember muttering to myself. "I can't even enjoy it." At least, not as much as I would had Hull scored on an unscreened slapshot from the blue line. No muss, no fuss.
Now, that's not to say I didn't try to savor the win. In my best announcer voice, I looked into the mirror and said "The Dallas Stars are Stanley Cup Champions" until it finally sunk in. It sure had a nice ring to it. But that was in the comfort and seclusion of my own home. My Tiger Woods fist pumps were never seen, my shouts of "Booyah!" were never heard - by them. They - Sabres fans - were too busy designing T-shirts, making bumper stickers, and forming a punk rock band, all featuring the words "No Goal."
I can understand why Buffalo fans consider the city cursed (there's even a website called BuffaloCurse.com). "Wide right", Bills kicker Scott Norwood's dubious claim to fame, was followed by three more Super Bowl losses in a row, the last two to - yep - Dallas.
But to allow the self-proclaimed curse to fester - to feed and nurture it year after year, doesn't make sense to me. Perhaps Buffalo fans need it as something solid to hold on to, even if it presents itself as a permanent chip on their collective shoulder. Perhaps the next punk rock band should name itself "Curse Crusaders".
Ten years after the fact, I still wear my Stars gear quietly, with pride. But just as sure as the northeast will be gripped by cold seven months each year, I can bank on hearing those words. When I do, I'll nod once and be on my way.
I don't get into arguments about it, because it's like any topic that is somewhat controversial. You can argue your side until you're blue in the face, and nobody wins in the end. Besides, I don't really have the heart to tell Sabres fans that, had the goal not counted, there was still a very good chance the Stars would have scored again anyway. And even had the Sabres won, the likelihood of a Game 7 victory in Big D was incredibly slim.
I'll continue to leave the matter alone, because there's a curse to be fed. It's big, it's hungry, and it's ready for another go. So much so, that BuffaloCurse.com has a running countdown to the Sabres season opener and the closing quote "How will the Buffalo Curse affect them this time?"