My earliest memory of being a Buffalo Bills fan comes at the tender human age of seven years old. It was during the 1990 season and the Bills were on their way to four consecutive Super Bowls although I did not know that at the time. The team would scratch and claw its way back to the big game each year, but could never catch the prize much like a cat trying to capture the red dot of a lazer pointer.
At the time I assumed I was human, because that's what I was told but as time went on I started to suspect that maybe I was a smitten little kitten when I first started liking the Bills. After all, my parents had ten offspring which is much more than your average humans. There were nine male offspring in the house marking their territory sometimes I'm sure with urine. I enjoy having a good amount of independence much like cats do and once I ate a Goldfish (true story. Sorry fishy, I regret it now). These were all great clues, but what really convinced me that I was more feline than human was the fact that I have eight painful memories of losing one of my cat lives while watching Buffalo Bills football.
The first four of those lives were all lost from 1990-1993 a.k.a. the Bills Su-purrrrrrrr Bowl losses. I was young at the time, but I still have some very specific memories of Whitney Houston singing the National Anthem, Scott Norwood's kick going wide, Don Beebe stripping Leon Lett, countless tears on the night of each game and even more pleading with my mother the morning after each defeat to let me stay home from school. She never acquiesced and encouraged me to tough it out. Her pushing me is what led me to become a Villanova Wildcat one day adding another clue that I might descend from a cat family.
Losing four of my cat lives that early in my existence was a tough pill to swallow (especially since cats have rough tongues) but I championed on because I knew I still had over half of my lives to spare until the 1999 season that is. On the day of the Music City Lateral, I was in high school and lost a wrestling tournament on a reversal with 2 seconds left. The move was worth two points and I lost by 1 point. It was devastating. My soul was crushed but a Bills win would help heal some of those wounds. I came home that day to witness the final replay of the forward pass and to see the referees incorrectly rule it a touchdown. Despite not eating much to make weight for wrestling, I put down the pizza I just got and went upstairs and cried myself to sleep.
I would lose my sixth cat life on January 2nd of 2005. It was my junior year of college and while I liked football in my earlier years, I became enthralled with the sport in college. It was more addicting than the strongest cat nip could ever be. My friends and I would gather at the bar each Sunday and watch the games straight through the night. Some of the results of the night games were hazy at times. but those are some great memories. It was the final week of the year and the Bills had an opportunity to make their way into the playoffs so I could move on from the Music City Lateral. Instead, the Bills lost to the Steelers backups despite entering the 4th quarter with a lead. Once again I could feel the life sucked out of my furry body.
My seventh life would be taken on October 9th of 2007. I was so excited for the Buffalo Bills to play a Monday Night Football game. It was against the Cowboys and I still hate them with all my being for beating the Bills in two Su-purrrrrr Bowls. The Bills were up 9 points with twenty seconds left in the game -- they couldn't possibly lose right? Wrong! They gave up a touchdown pass, and the Cowboys recovered the onside kick and nailed a 53 yard field goal with time expiring to beat Buffalo by 1 point. I was living in an apartment by myself and at the conclusion of the game, I threw the chair I was sitting in and my Bills jersey off of my 3rd floor balcony into an empty lot of sand. I told myself, if it was still there the next morning it was meant to be mine. Apparently, no one wanted a jersey and a chair from a fan of a team that could blow a 9 point lead in 20 seconds so I brought them back up the next morning in a sort of "walk of shame" type fashion.
My eighth cat life was lost on September 15th of 2009 on the opening game of the season. I was feeling terrific about the Bills chances against the Patriots after they took an 11 point lead with 5:32 to go. The Patriots responded with a touchdown to pull within 5 after missing the two-point conversion. On the ensuing kickoff Leodis McKelvin made his infamous fumble and the Patriots got the ball back. They scored another touchdown making it two in the final 2 minutes and 6 seconds. Despite missing both two-point conversions, they still edged out a one-point victory. The loss crushed my soul and I could sense that I no longer had cat lives left to spare.
I am now on my ninth life and while life as a feline Buffalo Bills fan still remains dangerous, I trust the process and have faith that I will no longer have to spare any more lives for the sake of my beloved Buffalo Bills. That was evidenced this year by what I hope is the start to a full litter of playoff births that I will get to witness and while I know I'll never be able to catch the red dot, maybe one day I will get to witness the Buffalo Bills drink some milk from the Su-purrrrrr Bowl.