The Paris Review

The Jets, the Bills, and the Art of Losing

Our favorite poet/sports correspondent is back, this time with some very strong feelings about football.

Photo: Rowan Ricardo Phillips

“We’re from Buffalo. Obviously. That’s why we’re driving through this tunnel with you.”

It was Sunday, around noon. I was in a car with three men more or less my age. When driving through a tunnel there’s always a moment when I start thinking about the crushing tons of water overhead; how we’re kept safe by tons of concrete and steel; that traveling through a tunnel is an act of faith—either in science or in the benefits of simply following the person in front of you.

Somewhere outside the tunnel, the air was sun-kissed, bright, warm. But inside the tunnel, the murky orange lights overhead chased one another in single file. That’s when the dark side of our trip, something dubious tugging at our excitement, started to bubble to the surface. It was only a matter of time before we started stating the obvious as a way of confirming that, yes, we had agreed to do this. Because the question started to pose itself: “What the hell are we doing here?” Sometimes it’s as simple as “We’re from Buffalo.”

The tunnel

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