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The Ballad of The Bills and The Kid. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
The Ballad of The Bills and The Kid.
They've always been intertwined.

Emily was born on a Friday, 24 years ago today.  Two days later, the Bills were at the Rich (as it was then known), playing Kansas City in a first-round playoff game on their way to their second of four straight Super Bowls.

Our  two-day-old daughter was beginning to room in after a somewhat premature arrival and a late-night C-section. In the next bed at the long-gone Genesee Hospital, another bebbe was with her mom, and her dad, and an entourage of Bills fans who had the game on the in-room TV.

The Bills won. Eleanor was not impressed.

Em's first birthday coincided with Da Bills' third straight playoff run to the Super Bowl, a game that became famed as The Greatest Comeback of All Time, against the Houston Oilers. It was played in Orchard Park, but I wasn't there (though I later acquired a ticket to pretend, like hundreds of thousands of locals, that I had been), and it was blacked out on local television due to a too-short window for selling out the NFL's then-largest stadium in its then-second-smallest market.  Instead, I was likely helping to pass out cake and gift bags to a bunch of not-yet-toddlers.

There was one more birthday, followed by one more Super Bowl appearance.  We do not speak much of these things.

Later on, at some point in the mid-to-late 90s, I took Emily to her first and only Bills home game after I'd won a pair of tickets to it.  All I remember of it was a buttload of rain; we spent most of the game in the concourse, watching it on the concession-stand tv monitors (something we couldn't have done at home because the game was, once again, blacked out locally).  She and I always bonded much more  over baseball, even though she's never seen the Mets play a home game.

Come 1999, the Bills made the playoffs one last time, and the Oilers, now relocated to Nashville and dubbed the Tennessee Titans, repaid the indignity of 1993 by knocking us out of the post-season on a play known everywhere but here as the "Music City Miracle" (and here as the "Illegal Forward Lateral").  Our boys in red and blue have never played beyond Emily's birthday ever since.

Today, that day, her 24th birthday, coincided with the final regular season game of the 2015 schedule, at the Orchard Park venue now known as Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Buffalo was officially eliminated from playoff eligibility two weeks ago, practically a week or two before that, but today was a chance to end the year with a .500 record and, more importantly, deny a division and sort-of-state-rival the chance to go to the post-season itself. That would be the Jets, who rhyme with Mets, and who, until I moved here, shared Shea Stadium and my limited football affections with those of my favorite team in anything.  They came to town today, led by our 2011-12 starting quarterback and our 2010-12 head coach, both of whom would have relished a win on our field.

In the end, though? Buffalo's ragtag band of last-day draft picks and "WHO HE?" emergency callups came through, and won the game, thereby knocking the Jets out of the post-season sky.

Despite that, looking at these intertwined loves of mine?  Emily had a better season than the Bills did.

She and Cameron have their first new(ish) car.  They've endured their first loss of a (four-legged) family member with grace and determination.  She's grown tremendously in her current career while never giving up on the one of her lifelong love.  They are making definite and concrete (and brick, and mortar) plans to be homeowners in the foreseeable future. And she will get no cake or gift bags at a party today, but Mom has ensured her day will be recognized, and remembered for days if not weeks to come, with something special from home.

She may, or may not, make it to whatever Millennials count as "playoffs," but she makes us proud, and impressed, and grateful every step of the way.

Happy Birthday, Emily. You make us want to SHOUT!
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