Shots in the dark

You’re naked inside your fear
You can’t take back all those years
Shots in the dark from empty guns
Are never heard by anyone
Never heard by anyone

Goo Goo Dolls – “Naked”

As some of you who follow me on twitter have heard, I’m moving back to Buffalo after spending the last 8 months as a resident of Nashville, Tennessee. I made a big deal about it in the past, talking about how being a fan changes when you’re living elsewhere, and how I felt about being away from the excitement when Terry Pegula took over.

The obvious thing to think would be that I’m excited to come back for hockey season. I am. I’m looking forward to going to camp, games, and being a part of what should be an entertaining season. But it’s really mixed emotions. I fell in love with Nashville. It’s an amazing place to live. The people are nice, there’s tons to do and see. As a young professional, you can’t ask for a better atmosphere. The nightlife is great, and having an NHL team is icing on the cake. The area has a lot going for it, and there’s a reason it’s going in the right direction. I can’t speak highly enough of it.


Buffalo Sabres tickets


I had left a good job I really liked when I came to Nashville. I left my family, friends, my season tickets… everything. I was assured nothing when I took my job, other than it was a good opportunity and a step in the right direction.

It didn’t quite work out the best way it could of, but in many ways it did. The last eight months put up a good case for being the best eight months of my life. I would’ve preferred to stay in Nashville for the foreseeable future. Does it suck to see it end? Yes. Does this whole thing ending deem it a failure? Absolutely not. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. The end result this time may not be ideal, but I know how to get to the end result and I’m confident that I will at some point.

Weighed down
Safe now

The line above is, to me, how a lot of people in Buffalo live their lives, tying in with the inferiority complex you grow to embrace living there. It’s easy to say it’s all up against you, and live with that as an excuse. Buffalo struggles in a lot of areas as a city.

But you know what? There’s things you can change if you actually try. If you don’t do anything to help yourself, you’re going to end up sitting around getting nowhere.

Just as it’s easy for people I know to stay in Buffalo, get decent jobs and never get what they really want, never really take risks and take the safe route. If they’re happy with that, good for them.

In the past, the Sabres arguably have never really gave it their best shot, either. They waited for their small windows of opportunity, and when they didn’t get the opportunity, there was a litany of excuses to fall back on, whether it be finances or luck. Wait until next year.

It’s the same with anything else in Buffalo. Whether it be waterfront development, downtown revitalization, anything, it seems like it’s easy to sit there and argue about why trying something else won’t work and letting nothing happen. Instead of giving it a legitimate shot, usually it ends up being paralysis-by-analysis and people are still sitting around arguing about what to do. Time passes and meanwhile, nothing has happened, leading everyone to complain about how nothing has happened.

This summer at First Niagara Center (still weird to me) has been everything but that. Terry Pegula and Ted Black have come in and reshaped the mindset. The Sabres are not sitting on the sidelines waiting for their turn anymore. They’re creating an opportunity for themselves. There’s a confidence there, not quite “We’re going to win now,” but somewhere between confidently saying “We can win now,” and “We’re going to win.” It’s not just having the capability, which they now have. There is the key ingredient in any success: optimism.

That’s the same confidence I have about my career, my team… my life. I’ve learned so much through this Nashville experience that I’m optimistic for my next opportunity. Will that be a success? I’m not gonna worry about that now, but I’m confident that it can happen. I don’t look at this as a failure, it’s just another step forward.

I chose the lyrics and song I led this post off for a reason. I always liked the song, but the meaning is more important. A lot of people can look at life negatively and how everything is bad and let it that beat them without ever really trying. The only way to be comfortable with yourself is to have the confidence to really try to accomplish what you want to, without the fear of failing stopping you. The opportunity of today is going to disappear, and you can’t take it back.

I gave this summer my best shot. I’m gonna step back, look at what I can do differently, try again, and hopefully find success next time. If the Sabres go through this season without raising a banner, that’s cool. The people in charge are the kind of people that will find ways to get better. I’m confident they will. This season isn’t one shot. It’s not a shot in the dark, hoping for a miracle. The guns are loaded, it’s ready to go. This is a first shot, with an aim, with a goal.

Thanks for an awesome time, Nashville. I’ll be back.

See you all at training camp.

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Posted on September 3, 2011, in 3MI Stuff, Buffalo and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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