Sports

Dispatches from The Ralph, Volume 1

Things have been known to get rowdy at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. Throughout the season, we'll bring you the most wild stories at 'The Ralph' through the eyes of one fan from Toronto.

by Graham Kritzer
Sep 24 2015, 4:37pm

Photo by Graham Kritzer

This story originally appeared on VICE Sports Canada.

If you swap out napalm for Fireball or Labatt Blue Light, you have an alarmingly accurate descriptor of Sunday mornings at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, where the surrounding landscape still resembles a chemically scorched coastline.

'The Ralph' as it's affectionately known is a moniker that is both a fitting tribute to the benevolent long-time former owner, and an ode to one of Bills fans' most cherished and hallmarked past-times—vomiting.

READ MORE: Manning-O-Meter, Week 2: Rising Tides

Sometimes the vomit is so deep at Ralph Wilson Stadium, patrons have to traverse the routes to their seat via the stadium's subterranean sewer system, all the while making sure to say hi to Scott Norwood when they're down there.

I live in Toronto, and am fortunate enough to be employed in an industry that allows me to travel to Buffalo and attend all of the Bills games. Now, I know what you're thinking 'He used the words fortunate and Buffalo in the same sentence, wtf?' and believe me, it took about six minutes for me to be comfortable enough with it to move forward. I have attended roughly 25 Bills games in the past four years, which is incredible when you think about it as the average Bills fan can only physically attend 14 games in his or her lifetime before they are trucked off as a specimen to be marveled and experimented on at the Betty Ford Center.

These past four years of tailgating and attending games at The Ralph have aged me quite rapidly. When I started out I looked like Brad Pitt in Kalifornia, but now my wife won't let me in the house anymore because she thinks a mattress cover that Andre The Giant had to have fucked Joan Rivers on, is trying to break into the house—which is extremely hurtful.

Anything goes when tailgating at Ralph Wilson Stadium. —Photo by Graham Kritzer

Now, over the past two seasons of NFL football, the outlandish tomfoolery that takes place at The Ralph has not gone unnoticed. There are some examples here, here, and also here.

It seems, though, that this season is already presenting us with some potential Hall of Fame candidates, as demonstrated here.

Last Sunday's game continued to live up to expectations. Below, I submit to you the reader, several of my personal highlights from Sunday's Bills and deFlatriots game. Now keep in mind, these are just my personal experiences. Imagine polling 70,000 people and asking them what the most ridiculous thing they saw that day was? The abundance of absolute golden answers I fear would cause the internet to break. If Kim Kardashian wants to try to break the internet again, she should go to the tailgate at Ralph Wilson Stadium, punch a police horse, yell at Kanye West in front of everyone, fight some dude over a box of Cheez-its, give Kanye West a handjob in front of everyone, vomit, cry, fall at least four times, and then go in to the game to do it all over again. Just make sure someone is recording it on their phone vertically, while yelling "WORLDSTAR SON!!!" Sorry, I really veered off there.

Below are my favourites from Week 2.

This particular gem was overheard between an Erie County police officer and a clearly overworked security guard. (Think Michael Douglas in traffic at the beginning of Falling Down.)

Cop: So it's just a big mess down there? (gesturing to the lower bowl seats.) A guy puke or what?

Security: Naw, he took a shit.

Cop: In the stands? Fuck off!

Security: Guy shit in the seats. In front of everyone.

Cop: Jesus Christ. Just an old-fashioned country dump in the stands...

Security: You got it.

A girl came out of the porta-potty in front of me after being in there for some time, and declared, "They have no toilet paper" to which she was met with several scathing variations of, "So what the fuck did you wipe your ass with?"

She had no answer for the curious crowd, and proceeded to put her hands in her pockets.

A guy wearing a Quebec Nordiques jersey, meandering aimlessly through the tailgate was greeted with a variety of subtle pleasantries such as:

"Its a fucking football game you, queer."
"Nice fucking blouse, Pierre!"
"Sweet fucking jersey. I don't know if I want to fight you or make love to you."

I also was fortunate enough to witness a lovely young lady drop her daisy dukes, and take a pee beside the bus I was standing at, a good ten feet from the porta-potty. No one batted an eye, except my friend Shane who said it reminded him of last year when we watched a woman holding the penis of her boyfriend while he peed on the side of a bus.

Do yourself a favour and experience a game at the wild Ralph Wilson Stadium. —Photo by Graham Kritzer

But I think the piece de resistance came on the way back to our bus in the tailgate lot. Two of the seemingly millions of inebriated young gentlemen in my immediate vicinity decided that they were hungry, and they needed to eat immediately. So they grabbed a handful of sandwiches from someone's tailgate—right in front of the tailgaters.

This bold maneuver was not met with particularly gracious acceptance on behalf of the aggrieved sandwich party.

So one of the older gentleman tailgaters who had deemed himself sole proprietor of the sandwiches in question stood up out of his Bills director's chair, walked over to the young man and smashed his old fucking fist directly into the sandwich hole of the failed thief. It was exactly the comedic relief I needed after witnessing the Bills field Helen Keller's football team.

Now, I just want to be clear: I am neither condemning nor endorsing the behaviour I witness at The Ralph, I merely serve to shine a light on one of the smallest markets in the league, and the people who faithfully support it. I feel it's my duty to enlighten, so that those who are not able to attend a game in Buffalo, may live vicariously through me. I want them to be able to smell the stale beer, Newports and, well, probably diarrhea.

And for those who do attend games regularly, please do read on and enjoy. I am sure tailgates and gameday experiences across America have their own uniqueness and intricacies that make them enjoyable and insane. I just have yet to see it in the sheer delirious magnitude that I witness at The Ralph. It's about as close as you can get to general lawlessness, all the while never really fearing for your safety.

Next up, October 4!