Wednesday, September 24, 2008


As Memorial Auditorium starts to come down a block away from my workplace, it's easy to think back over some of the events that happened to me there. After attending events there for 16 years, I landed a job in that building as I worked in the Sabres' public relations department.

It's funny what you remember. One time around 1990 or so, in the second period of a Sabres game, I ran out of the press box during a break in play to use the men's room. When I came back to the press box entrance, which consisted of a couple of metal steps leading up to the facility hanging from the rafters, there was a young boy of about 10 standing at the entrance.

"Can I help you with something?" I asked politely.

"What the heck is this?" said the boy brightly.

"Follow me," I said, and led him up the stairs. There I saw the "press box goon," Shawn, a volunteer who made sure people came in the area with a press pass.

After asking the boy's name, I said, "Shawn, this is our special guest, Jimmy. Do you have some press notes for Jimmy?"

Shawn did and gave him a set. Then I took Jimmy to the middle of the press box, introduced him to The Buffalo News writer, and let him peer over the edge as the game went on below for a couple of minutes. I also showed him where the radio and television announcers were.

"OK, Jimmy, time to get back where you belong. Thanks for coming up," I said in leading him back to the door. Never did anything like that before or afterwards. Later I asked Shawn how the boy had reacted when we were done. Shawn said the boy stumbled back to his seat, looking like he had just unexpectedly walked into a glass door and wondered what the heck had happened.

It's been 18 years or so since that boy got an unexpected press box tour. That makes him about 28 years old now. Did that little gesture turn him into a big Sabres fan? Is he now a season ticket holder?

Sometimes you plant a seed without knowing if something will bloom, just because it's the right thing to do.

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