For a while the Buffalo Sabres were hands down my favorite sports team. That is no longer the case. Here is the current order of my love for every team I root for.
1. Seattle Reign (NWSL)
The Reign have a slight edge on number two because I can actually regularly attend their games. In fact, this past summer I bought season tickets for the 2016 Reign season. Soccer is immensely enjoyable and affordable to watch and Reign games are super fun. Drawing between 2,000 and 6,000 for most games, the crowds and traffic are manageable and the vendors well sized. The team seems to legitimately love their fans and there are frequent contests and giveaways. They sport several amazing players including the Welsh Jessica Fishlock and US National Team player Megan Rapinoe. Everything about them is fun and that’s how sports should be.
2. Buffalo Beauts (NWHL)
Women’s teams dominate this list, and why not. They’re fun, under-covered, and supporting them financially feels good. Women’s hockey was the first hockey I watched so I was thrilled when the NWHL announced it would be starting with a team in my hometown. That they pulled several players from my partner’s alma mater (Rochester Institute of Technology) makes them even more compelling. Like the NWSL, the NWHL seems to have a deep appreciation for its fans.
3. Clarkson University Golden Knights, Syracuse Orange, Northeastern Huskies (NCAA Women’s Hockey)
My NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING ALMA MATER are definitely big in my life. I’ve grown to like the Orange mostly out of spite / hatred for every other Syracuse University sports team. I feel bad that they have to play in the underwhelming 350 seat Tennity Ice Pavilion, by far the smallest and worst facility in the NCAA.
Northeastern has Kendall Coyne, one of the most entertaining players in hockey. Enough said.
4. Seattle Sounders (MLS)
Like the Reign, the Sounders are super fun and I get a kick out of East Coast fans hating us because we dared do soccer better than them. The Sounders pull in the largest MLS crowds by a ridiculous margin and are a serious competitor here in popularity to the NFL’s Seahawks. Paradoxicaly I find soccer both relaxing and exciting and there’s little I would rather do than settle in to watch a game.
5. Buffalo Bills (NFL)
There’s something about the Bills this season that I just like. It could be the legitimately interesting Tyrod Taylor, the first Bills QB since Kelly that hasn’t been either a complete idiot or terrible at football (or both). He’s fun to watch most games and that’s really all that matters. The Bills would be higher if they didn’t have a few gross players on their roster, namely Richie Incognito, Karlos Williams, and Ronald Darby.
This is the end of the teams I can probably legitimately be considered a fan of at this point. The rest are teams that I either watch casually or have a lingering attachment to.
HM 1. Everett Silvertips (WHL)
I go to Tips games every now and then because one of my good friends has season tickets. They’re fun to watch without needing to get too invested.
HM 2. Washington State Cougars (NCAA Men’s Football)
They throw the ball a bajillion times a game. Sign me up for anything weird.
Buffalo Sabres (NHL)
This is the team I once considered my team and right now they pretty much disgust me. I thought Jack Eichel and Evander Kane might get me excited again, but I’ve only watched four periods all year. I’ve had too many bad interactions with front office personnel to do anything but loathe them. From the Community Relations Manager who doesn’t see a problem in partnering with the homophobic Boy Scouts and Salvation Army to that same manager refusing to do the It Gets Better project because “bullying is not exclusive to LGBT.” From the team’s refusal to address homophobic comments made by current player Zemgus Girgensons and various alumni on Twitter to the social media manager’s utter cluelessness. That manager is the person who thought that turning the team’s avatar purple for Spirit Day constituted adequate LGBT outreach.
The icing on the cake has to be when I raised concerns about the safety of transgender fans at games. The Arena manager completely ignored my safety concerns and basically just told me that transgender fans should use the oft locked or occupied family restrooms. The team is flat out staffed by ignorant people and I just can’t bring myself to care about them.