Lansing at Large: Bills fans back their team at Flynn's

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It was 14-6 Bills over the Jets midway through the second quarter on Sunday, so the 20 or so Bills Backers at Flynn’s Roadhouse Café were in a pretty good mood despite their team’s rather regrettable record.


“This is a small crowd - we’ve got more than 50 members from all over the surrounding area – Ithaca, Lansing, Moravia, Groton,” Tim Dickenson said.
Dickenson is vice president of the organization and was sitting in for President Jocelyn Van Gorder at the weekly gathering.


“We meet here Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays – whenever the Bills are playing,” Dickenson said.


Dickenson is from Moravia and has been a Bills fan for more than 40 years, encompassing the excruciating Super Bowl years and the time in the playoff wilderness since.


“It was maybe because it was the game that was on T.V. when I was 7 or 8 years old,” he said. “My father was a Cleveland Browns fan.”


“There have been a lot of bad years. Last year, when we made the playoffs, it made a lot of people confident for the future. This year has been tough, but we have a lot of young players and I understand that we are rebuilding. Josh Allen – I think he’s the future.”


Dickenson’s wife Cindy was sitting across the table. She became a fan in 1988.
“I remember I became a fan just before I graduated,” she said. “I remember when we played the Cowboys in the Super Bowl. I probably became a bigger fan when I met him.”


The Bills kicked a field goal to go up by 11 points and Marty Flynn, owner of the establishment, got up to lead the fans in singing the team’s anthem “Shout.”


“Last year, we did a 50/50 raffle for every game and donated the money to ‘Cops, Kids, and Toys,’” Dickenson said. “We didn’t do it this year but we’re going to start it up again next year.”


Barb Casavant was sitting behind them. She lives in Lansing but came from Niagara Falls, and grew up in a Bills household.


“I’ve been a fan since I was 5 years old. My grandfather had Sunday dinners at his house and we watched the game,” she said. “I tried to give it up one summer. Said I wasn’t going to watch a game. Once the games came on, I couldn’t quit it.”


Casavant knows her football. She is a Josh Allen fan, seeing the rookie quarterback as young and talented and embracing the whole Buffalo thing.
Kristina Engel knows what the “whole Buffalo thing” is.


“I’ve been a fan since birth,” she said. “My dad lived 10 minutes from the stadium. It’s in my blood. Sundays were a ritual with wings and potato skins and decorations for the game.”


Her husband, Kevin, is in the same category.


“I was born in 1986,” he said. “I do remember the Super Bowl years. My favorite players were Andre Reed and Daryl Talley.”


It’s been a long time since then.


“You just got to believe,” he said. “It’s just my favorite team. And nothing beats the fans.”


Kristina agreed.


“You know, if you are stuck at a family party or something and the game is on, and you see someone with a Bills hat or something, you’re friends right away.”
And now they’ve done it to their 1-year-old child, Eli, who was watching the game from his car seat.


“He had a jersey before he was born,” she said. “It’s a LeSean McCoy.”
You would think the bartender would be above all this – it should be literally just business.


“I mean jeez louise, I’ve never been to a bar dedicated to one team,” Kirstie Endres said. “I’ve never had a football team to like, I never invested. But now I have a hat, five t-shirts, and a jersey. I’m a new Bills fan.”


Why?


“Oh goodness, there is a lot of Backers backing you up. There is just a lot of Bills fans, and this is just a great crowd.”

Cookies and Carols Success
A sell-out crowd came together for “Cookies and Carols,” the Lansing Theater and Performing Arts organization’s annual fundraiser, to contribute nearly $4,000 to support the arts in Lansing Schools Dec. 3. LTAPA’s biggest fundraiser of the year helps pay for theater and musicians’ needs such as microphones, curtains, lights, scholarships, and trips.

Coffee and Conversation at the High School
Lansing High School invites anyone with questions, suggestions, wonderings, or ideas about the school to join Principal Colleen Ledley and Dean of Students Patrick Hornbrook for a discussion in the high school’s main office, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Jan. 8, Feb. 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, and June 4.

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