I forgave Jon Bon Jovi today. I didn’t do it because I like his music or I think he’s a good actor. I forgave him because he made Buffalo a better place. What? When? Why? How dare you? Hear me out…
It is basic human instinct for tribes of people with a common interest to band together against a common foe.
And that exactly what Bon Jovi was. An evil outsider who entertained the notion that the Buffalo Bills would be better off by playing some or all of its games outside of Western New York. (allegedly)
That’s all Buffalo needed to rally together as one. That’s right. Many think “One Buffalo” refers to the fact of the Sabres and Bills were now under the Pegulas–and yes that is true. But what’s really true is how we rallied together. How we hoisted Pro-Pegula signs and orchestrated anti-Bon Jovi rallys. In our shared hate for man who simply was associated with a Toronto ownership group, we truly became One.
To Buffalonians (and when I say that I mean all Western New Yorkers) the idea of not having the Bills made us realize what and how much the Bills mean to us all. The neighborhood parties, the home tailgates, the mindless (but completely necessary) banter around the workplace water cooler. Our shared memories of those legendary teams and the hope that one day we’d be able to share new glory with the next generation of Buffalo Bills fans.
The prospect that there was even a 1% chance of that being taken from us frightened us AND united us. And it’s all we needed.
Since October 9th of 2014, Buffalo has never had such positive spirit and momentum. Take an afternoon walk at Canalside, eat a sausage at Ballyhoo, or kayak down the Buffalo River and you’ll feel it for yourself. Buffalo is back. But we were here all along.
Sometimes an oyster needs a grain of sand to create a pearl. That’s exactly what Jon Bon Jovi was for us.
Will I go out of my way to thank him for that? Probably not.
Will I still change the station when he comes on my radio? Probably.
But will I still be mad at him for being the catalyst that brought us closer together than ever before. No, I will not.
Jon Bon Jovi. I forgive you.
As for Billy Buffalo….well, that’s a different story.