Sunday, June 15, 2008

Russert best represented Buffalo

by Tim Wendel

Those of us who root for all things Buffalo lost one of our own with the passing of Tim Russert. I watched ESPN’s tribute to Russert and seeing him hold up Buffalo jersey after Buffalo jersey once again brought a smile to my face. Here was a guy who watched games at the old Rockpile as a kid, who knew the importance of cheering for the hometown teams – no matter what.

Even though Russert lived in Washington, D.C., where I’ve called home for almost 20 years, I didn’t really know him. But since XM Radio got off the ground, I’ve gotten to know his son, Luke. I’ve been a guest on “60/20,” the sports show Luke co-hosts with James Carville, and the son is a chip off the old block. An appreciation for all the Buffalo franchises has been handed down from father to son.

Since my brother, Chris, and I started this blog and word of BUFFALO, HOME OF THE BRAVES got out, we’ve heard from people from all over the country. The thing we all share is this affinity and appreciation for Buffalo sports – the Braves, the Sabres, the Bills.

Just before the Iowa caucuses last year, longtime political columnist Roger Simon was standing in the lobby of the Des Moines Marriott hotel, waiting for a cab that was never going to arrive. As time ticked down, Tim Russert came up, put a hand on Simon’s shoulder and said, “Hey, I’ve got a car. I’ll drive you.”

In a column Simon did for Politico this week, he explained that Russert “was not a creature of Washington. He was a kid from Buffalo, and it showed. People in Buffalo treat each other like neighbors, and that’s the way Tim treated people.”

Despite the economic hardship and tough times of recent decades, Buffalo fans still treat others like neighbors. We may have lost our proudest fan this week, but his passion and zest for life remain as an example for all of us.

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