An annual tradition of my college friends from Villanova and I is to get together to watch the first round of the NFL Draft. I enjoy the wings and the beer and they enjoy the beer and my overzealous reaction to the Bills moves. To my recollection, there has only been one year in which at least some of us did not get together.
The following story is 100 percent true, but some of the facts remain hazy due to the towers of domestic tap beer that loomed ominously over our table on that fateful day. I believe we were drinking Bud Light, but at the time I didn't care if it was horse piss as long as the alcohol content was sufficient. So let's begin.
On Saturday, April 25th 2009 we gathered together in a local Manhattan watering hole called Mudville's Saloon 9. The place was everything we ever wanted and needed. A run down joint that specialized in wings and ridiculously cheap beer specials. I would never suggest naming a restaurant "Mudville's" that features wings and cheap beer but to each their own.
We opted for the $25 special for two hours of all you can eat wings and domestic beers. We began before the draft so that our gluttonous behavior would be mostly over and we could concentrate on the selections once the draft started. The Bills had the 11th overall pick and I was anxious as always.
Being solutions oriented, I let beer after beer slide gently down my throat warming my tummy and putting my mind at ease. I could feel the tension slip away like an ocean wave receding from the shoreline. But as each team selected before the Bills I could feel that tension start to slowly build again within my body as if the wave was returning to shore.
Finally, the Bills were on the clock. They were on their way to the podium to announce the pick when I felt a wave of tension violently crash upon the shores of my body. I wondered to myself -- Who will they take? Will it be Brian Orakpo? Maybe Brian Cushing? We have a chance to get someone really good here! Don't mess this up!
"With the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select Aaron Maybin, defensive end, Penn Sate."
Before I even had a chance to have a thought, my body violently reacted to this news. I slammed my fist down on the table as hard as I could and screamed out "FUCK!" at the top of my lungs. The combination of the force of my fist and an unsteady table sent my glass of beer soaring through the air. I watched in slow motion as it fell back towards the ground where it ultimately shattered, along with my dignity, into hundreds of pieces.
My friends all erupted in laughter, taking great joy in my pain like any good companion would. The rest of the bar looked over at us while questioning my mental stability. What happened after that I can barely remember. What I do know is there is something about the draft that brings out the worst in me.
The draft has somehow consumed my soul. I feel possessed and beholden to it, like Gollum from Lord of the Rings feels towards the Ring of Power. Every year I wish for the Bills to draft me my precious but too often those stupid Hobbitses have picked the wrong guy. One day I hope to undo the hex the draft has over me but until then I'll be busy on draft day having spontaneous outbursts and bringing shame to myself and my family.