I thought it would only be polite to return the favor. So the following is a post involving Doug Flutie, birch bark, channeling spirits, tadpoles and eggs Benedict.
Toby observed the fireplace with a sense of both optimism and despair. He legitimately thought that this ritual might work, and that made him feel sad. How had it come to this?
In the old days, things were simpler: All he had to do was to eat a breakfast of eggs Benedict.
To be honest, it wasn’t quite that simple. There were quite a few other rituals that also had to be performed. He had to wear his lucky jersey and jeans, brush his teeth between 11:15 and 11:20 AM, and then gargle with mouthwash three separate times.
But those were just supplemental rituals. He was sure that the eggs were the true key.
The tradition had started accidentally. On the morning of January 20, 1991, his family went to brunch. Based on his uncle’s recommendation, he tried some eggs Benedict. While the eggs were tasty enough, he certainly wasn’t blown away by them. But for some reason, after the Buffalo Bills won the AFC Championship Game later that day, he began to associate the eggs with victory by the Bills.
Over the next 21 years, every time the Bills faced a big game, Toby was sure to have eggs Benedict for breakfast.
For a while, the eggs never failed. At least they didn’t fail in the regular season. Once the Bills reached the Super Bowl, things were different.
After the Bills lost two straight Super Bowls, Toby recognized that the usual rules didn’t apply there. Toby knew he needed to find a new ritual for the Super Bowl, but after two more years of failure, he had yet to discover anything that worked.
Back then, he assumed that he would soon have another opportunity. Eighteen years later, not only had the Bills not made it back to the Super Bowl, but now they were having a tough time even qualifying for the playoffs.
The eggs no longer worked. He was absolutely sure of that. As the losses mounted, he continued to eat eggs, hoping that they would finally regain their effectiveness. But eventually, even he had to conclude that whatever good luck eggs Benedict once held, it was long gone.
Maybe they only had a finite amount of good luck in them and the four straight AFC titles used it all up. Or maybe the actions of O.J. Simpson had caused the franchise to become cursed. What chance did eggs have against a curse?
He had tried other breakfast foods in hopes that they would help turn things around. For a little while, it seemed like he had found a new winning breakfast food: Flutie Flakes. But once Doug Flutie left the team, the cereal’s powers were gone.
Breakfast didn’t seem to be the answer. So Toby turned to the next best thing: Witchcraft.
Toby hoped that he might be able to cast some sort of magic spell that would allow the team to regain its winning ways. An internet search brought back a slew of spells that might serve his purpose. Eventually he found one which seemed reasonable enough, and he set out to locate all the necessary ingredients.
Most were easily obtained at the supermarket, but some ingredients proved a little more difficult to obtain. He had to go to a nearby farmer’s market to fins birch bark, and it took a few inquiries at local pet shops to locate some living tadpoles.
Most of the ingredients had already been added to the fire. Toby held up the small plastic bag which contained the tadpoles and watched them swim around. He felt a twinge of sadness knowing that they’d never grow up to become frogs.
“Sorry, fellas. You’re being sacrificed for a noble cause,” he told them as he dropped the bag into the fire.
Now that everything had been added, Toby looked into the fire and called upon the spirit of the team’s namesake “Buffalo” Bill Cody. He hoped that maybe Cody’s beyond-the-grave influence might somehow help the team. He hoped that Cody was listening, and that he was as fed up by the team’s losing as Toby was.
Once he finished his plea, he continued to stare into the fire. He hoped that he might be given a sign that the spell had worked, but he was not discouraged when he didn’t receive one. The true test would come in less than an hour when the Bills took on the Dolphins. Toby would find out if the spell was legitimate or if he’d been led astray by the internet.
After a few minutes, he grew impatient and doused the fire. Kickoff was drawing close, and he still had a few more rituals he needed to complete. After going to all that trouble of casting the spell, it would be a shame if he allowed a minor details to sabotage all of his hard work.