Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (Hungarian Biochemist, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1893-1986)
Is Buffalo still: The “City of Good Neighbors”? Sorry to harsh on your Sabres-fed buzz, but that once undeniable fact is in some serious doubt.
I have watched frustrated as my former neighbors have largely turned a blind eye to the reality of their hometown hockey club’s new fortune. Facebook posts, comments on BuffaloNews.com, and general conversation with Sabres fans have yielded nothing but nice things to say about Terry Pegula, the man with the big filthy checkbook who evidently is so awesome that last winter he floated in to Western New York on a Rainbow Unicorn that craps blue and gold M&Ms.
Having been a Buffalo fan all of my life it is undestandable.
Buffalo has been a national punchline of a city that for the past half century, largely known as a have-not both on the field of play and more tragically off of it. Now the good citizens are enjoying their time in the sun: even if that glow only pertains to off-season free agency and improvements to the arena and team locker rooms so far. It seems like there has never been a better time to be a Sabres fan.
Unfortunately I find myself on the outside looking in as their fortune’s are seemingly on the upswing. It hurt for a while, not being able to enjoy the spoils that the new hope provided. But I felt, and still feel that I had no choice but the leave my love for the team far behind.
How could I teach my kids that fracking is bad for the place we call home and then ditch that inconvenient truth to root for a team funded by money from that very practice? That type of hypocrisy has no place in my house, especially when you get down to it one part of the equation is essential to life and the other…well, its purely optional.*
When it came down to it my family and its water…the source of all life was more important than rooting for a hockey team, even one that l had loved my whole life. Over the past 9 months Sabres fans look at me with disdain usually reserved for Gary Bettman when I explain why I can’t participate in Pegula fever.
You take the Cup. I just want to make sure that my kids have clean water to drink and bathe in. I love my locally farmed produce and wine…I love Ithaca. It feels impossible to stand by and watch it get trampled and poisoned all in the name of cheap natural gas all the while rooting for the fracktastic Blue and Gold.
I know, Pegula is out of the fracking game…except when he is not. He proudly said he would drill another well to win the Cup before worrying about losing money on the team. He may not be drawing funds from the earth right now, but he sounds willing to jump back in to get a better 3/4 defenseman.
Fracking is not on the daily radar in Western New York as it is in Ithaca… except the last week I have noticed that it is creeping in. Niagara Falls may process the waste fluid from fracking. And now there is an uproar in Western New York, finally. Why wouldn’t you want fracking chemicals processed in your area? Isn’t Ville Leino worth that inconvenience? How about Ehrhoff?
It changes things a bit doesn’t it?
Q: Do you view this as a business proposition or are you prepared to lose money year after year if that’s what it takes?
How about if Pegula starts drilling in your backyard, right near your water supply to fund the run to the Cup, is the above still just a pithy comment? The Utica Shale, which runs through Western New York, is next on the Gas Company hit list.
What other Gas Companies are trying to do to your area (and my region of Central New York) Pegula already did to Eastern PA and the families that live there. Doesn’t that give you at least a pause before you celebrate a new Sabres crest rug for the team to tromp across between periods?
And even if it doesn’t stop you from proudly wearing your colors and celebrating the new excess that was normally reserved for big market clubs, can you at least fight fracking before it hits your doorstep?
If you want to ignore the reality that eventually the companies will bully their way into Western New York to treat the caustic waste water, even if you think that the Utica Shale will never be drilled…can’t you write an email in support of your fellow New Yorkers who are being sued by companies because they want to ban hydrofracking in their municipalities?
Once upon a time I would like to believe that Buffalonians would do that for their neighbors, no matter how far away they lived. If none of this matters, if you cannot get yourself to care not even for a second…well then Western New York you take that Cup, it will have cost you your soul.
The call will likely go unheeded, very few Sabres fans have wanted to look at the reality of the situation. If that is the case then “City of Stanley Cup Zealots” would seem like a bit more appropriate 21st century title for the area. Seeing that as the unquestionable number one goal of the area is a bigger loss than any one that I ever experienced as a Sabres fan.
If you are interested continuing in the Buffalo tradition of being a good neighbor and joining the cause more information is available at: http://dontfrackwithny.com/
* If you say water is the optional one you are on the road to being a Leaf fan. Get back in the humanity line…thank you.