January 25, 2011

A Starks Contrast

I've always felt that the Western New York community is a desperate community. The region is desperate for anything and anyone, no matter how insignificant, to latch on to that will make people feel good about themselves.

The latest is James Starks, the Niagara Falls native now playing for the Green Bay Packers. Newspapers are devoting front pages to the story of a local kid who's playing in the NFL. Woopdeefreakindoo. We have so many problems in this state and country, a one-time mention of Starks is more than sufficient. But not in WNY. It's on the TV news. It's on the radio. It's all over the newspapers. Intimate details of what flavor dip Starks' brother's cousin's uncle likes with his Fritos. I mean, come on, does anyone really give a shit? And like the old football saying goes, "act like you've been there before".

Sadly, I'm not surprised. Western New Yorkers have had loads of bad breaks and few good ones - well, okay, no good breaks. We love to not only wallow in our self-pity, but brag about it. It feeds us. We love to talk about O.J., Bobbit, McVeigh, missed field goals, skates in the crease, huge snowfalls, rusted-out steel mills, glory days of the past and anything else that allows us to take pity on ourselves. The opportunity to latch on to Starks' very limited-to-date success lets people who have nothing else to latch onto feel special. I mean, really....we need to know that Paul Dyster watched the game with Starks' relatives? Who gives a shit?

This is so typical Buffalo and it's indicative of the small-mindedness of the region. Newspapers and TV stations in any other major city in the country aren't devoting front page stories and lead news stories to one kid who's played five games in the NFL. Am I happy for Starks? Sure, good for him. But move on. How about a front page story about a person from Western New York who made a difference in someone's life instead of a damn football game? Of course, when you have idiots like Byron Brown giving the Key to the City to people like Terrell Owens, this is where we end up - holding athletes above people who actually contribute something positive to society. It's sad, pathetic and another reason that WNY will never dig itself out of its hole.

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