I’ve been making and eating pizza since Lyndon Johnson was president. The “eating” part would go back further, except that my grandmother used to put anchovys on her square, Sicilian-style pizzas during JFK’s tenure – and that was just a bit too advanced for my five year old taste buds. Therefore, I declared that I didn’t like pizza and didn’t eat it until I was about ten years old. Good thing pasta was around, or I’d have starved.
But this time of year, when my beloved (though star-crossed) Buffalo Sabres are making their almost-annual last minute run to the NHL playoffs, another life long passion kicks in. It lives on the rink, and it proves that newer ain’t necessarily better. Before the Sabres, there were the heros of my earliest hockey memories, the old Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League. Clad in red and having great hockey names such as Villemure, Trottier, Robitaille, Ouellette… they were the best advertisement in the history of the soft drink industry (get a load of the unis – the team was owned for several years by the local Pepsi bottlers). My Bisons scrambled up and down the ice, leaving a trail of defeated opponents and kindling my life-long love affair with the coolest sport I know.
I admire baseball’s strategy, football’s toughness and basketball’s athleticism. But hockey, around playoff time? Nothing like it. The game is good on TV, but as a live sporting event I’ll take a playoff hockey game over anything. A homemade pizza with fresh herbs and maybe some homemade sausage, a good beer, and a Buffalo playoff hockey game on the big TV. It’s almost April, and I can smell all three! Or if I’m at the game, substitute the home-made pizza for a sausage bomber with peppers and onions. This is life – and, if I may wax religious for just a second – proof that God loves us!