The Goon Squad
The story that you are about to read depicts one of the most amazing weekends a lad could ever ask for; a weekend so epic that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck themselves could not have written a better story.
We accept the hangovers that you gave to us that may or may not have lasted the better part of the following week. But do you think that these week-long hangovers were going to spoil the memories that were made? If anything these hangovers just helped to solidify our love/hate relationships we already have with you. We are Bills fans. We are Sabres fans. And no team has given the city of Buffalo more grief than the Boston boys themselves. So it was about time that the Lads from Western New York came in and returned the favor.
We had been planning out a trip for months but we never really had any solid ideas confirmed. The only thing we did was pick the dates of September 30th-October 2nd. The idea was “We are not sure what we are doing, but we know we are doing something that weekend.” About 3 weeks before the proposed date one Lad finally took a step. Mr. Adam Knauf booked a flight to Boston and the rest of the Laddies fell with the plan like like wings fall at Anchor Bar. Before you know it we had a hotel room and we were ready to go.
At least once a week a text was sent to the group about Boston; not about the plans or what we are going to do. It was a text that simply read “I am so fucking excited.” We were counting down the days. Whether it was a 6 hour drive or a 6 hour flight, these would be the only things standing in our way, but it sure was not going to stop us. We all live in different cities so we do not get to see each other as much as we need to. Adam lives in Houston, Tyler in Chicago, Ray in Long Island, Patrick in Boston, Jed in Philadelphia, Charlie in Rochester, and Josh in Buffalo. Up to this point, it had been almost a full year since we have all been in the same place together. And For 7 best friends that is just too long.
The flyers from Chicago and Houston rolled in on Thursday and you greeted them with a night out they will never forget (or remember?) (it depends on which lad you ask). But for the fun that was had that night, it was not going to even come close to the fun you would give us later. The drivers pulled into the hotel parking lot at 3:00 AM and right from that moment you knew it was going to be a great trip. We assembled in the hotel catching up and reminiscing for hours and the team we all fell asleep it was around 5:00 AM. We woke up raring to go. No time was wasted. The first beer was cracked at 8:30 AM and the marathon began!
It was one of the worst days you had seen in a while: 62 degrees with a spitting mist that made us all damp as we bar-hopped to see your rustic views. Hangovers from the night before were still in full effect, although with the pace we were holding, they would soon disappear. It was the beginning of a 2.5 mile walk. We decided to take a shortcut through a large park to save some time.
Upon further investigation it was discovered this was the same park where one most iconic scenes in the history of film-making was shot. In the scene, Robin Williams is explaining the meaning of life, love, and loss to Matt Damon while sitting on a park bench. We were starting to go crazy when we could not find the bench. We were asking random strangers if the knew which one it was, running circles around this park while you were spitting rain at us. A couple of us even gave up on the whole investigation. 25 minutes later we found that damn bench.
I admit, the picture could be a little better, but it’s our picture and you will never be able to take that away from us.
At this point, we were 4 miles down in our journey. We were cold, damp and fading. We needed a pick-me-up. That’s when we turned down Chatham street and saw in Irish style script, “The Wild Rover.” Earlier in the day we had been searching all over for an Irish pub but had been striking out like Chris Davis without Adderall. The Wild Rover is what we needed in the worst way, the timing could not have been any better. We walk in and all 30 or so TVs have sports on. All, that is, but 1. The one TV without sports had a “for promotional use only” endless playlist of country music videos. There was country music blaring from the speakers throughout the pub, the unlikely combination of Irish pub and country music. We get settled and as we had done half a dozen times before throughout the day we order pitchers for the lads. We were just trying to get some momentum going as we would be losing a member of the goon squad to family plans within the next two hours. One thing you need to know about the goon squad is that half of them grew up in rural towns and were brought up listening to country music. This pub had no idea that it was about to be converted into a CMT sing along party.
The Wild Rover started filling up but we were still the only table that could be clearly heard throughout the entire establishment, and apparently, from inside the men’s bathroom. 2 pitches turned into 4 and that turned into 8 and the boys were back… and oh yes Dropkick Murphy’s, we were looking for trouble. One of the lads leans in tells the table “I’m going to ask for her number when I get the bill.” Normally the Goon Squad is a shy bunch when it comes to the ladies, but now that the liquid courage was present there was no telling where the night was going to take us. Just like that, all of the Goon Squad was back on there feet ready to go… Well, almost all of us.
We are sure you have lost track of time by now, as did we at this point (maybe put some damn clocks up around the city, ay?). We will reel you back in. It’s 3:00 PM. A time in which marked a very sad point of this trip. One of the Goon Squad lads had to head back home. A bus and train later and we were one member short. We said our goodbyes as the Uber drove him everywhere but where we wanted him to be.
We made sure that the rest of the night was not wasted because it is what the our friend would have wanted. You thought you were going to beat us that easily? Seven friends didn’t travel from all corners of the country at all hours of the night to go home. Why go home when there’s a Hong Kong Karaoke Teriyaki bar with 4 paying customers right next door? That, my friends, is when Josh & Friends was born.
Josh & Friends arose from the ashes like a Phoenix. We became the most star-studded lineup of singers that would make contestants from The Voice sound like William Hung with a sore throat. We were ELECTRIC! From hitting the high notes in “What’s Going On” to rapping the Shaggy verses of “It Wasn’t Me,” the performance we put on was dab-tastic. What started with an empty bar on a one of your side streets ended with a standing ovation from a packed pub when Josh & Friends sadly left. We had accomplished what we wanted: extending our fun an hour or two at a time.
You forced us back to the hotel to recuperate where the hardest naps of all time were taken. 45 minutes later, we were up and at’em again. Luckily the boys from Western New York brought the angel’s piss that is Labatt Blue Latte and we kept rolling, but we did not come visit you to sit in our hotel room to drink. Which is when we found one of the most unbelievable bars you have to offer: Coogan’s. $1 Bud light drafts? Is this some kind of sick joke? I bet this is the bar that Jim Kelly was at when he got drunk the night before Super Bowl Voldemort (that which shall not be named). We met some new friends, took a million selfies on their phones, and had the best time of our lives. And in the words of our gone-but-not-forgotten lad Billy Mays, “But wait there’s more!”
Just when we thought the weekend could not have been any better, the Lad’s in the sky looking down on us aligned the stars so perfectly. Our hometown team, the Buffalo Bills, rolled into Foxbourough, MA to take on your beloved Patriots. It was surreal.
Now the Bills Backers have a couple locations in your rustic city. The Bleacher Bar was our ultimate destination. It is a Buffalo-themed bar in the middle of your Cathedral, Fenway Park! If John Taffer were from Boston he would be ashamed! As if the world hasn’t already #ThankYouBigPapied enough, the Goon Squad would like to send one more thank you to the only Red Sox player a Yankees fan can trust. Because of your last game at Fenway we did not go to the Bleacher Bar. We figured it would be too crowded. So we went to the alternate location: The Harp.
When we arrived we were all banged up and a couple of us were still drunk from the night before. As much as we love the Bills, we really had to drag ourselves to this bar. But once we were in the thick of it, it was hard not get litty for the Bills. After the first beer they all started going down like water. The DJ was playing music during commercial breaks and then they would bring the CBS broadcast back on the speakers while the game was in play. We will never watch a Bills game any other way! We can truly say the memories of this great weekend will be forever Buried in The Harp. Even if the Bills would have lost this game it still would have been fucking awesome.
But as you may know, they did not lose this game. They won. 16-0. The first shutout in Gillette Stadium’s history! The Shout Song was echoing through your streets. It was the perfect cap to a perfect trip.
I bet you are unimpressed at this point (after all you are a Patriots fan). But for us Lads, all living in the cities of
it was one of the most magical trips we could have asked for. And it was a weekend that does not better describe what we look for in a Lad.
Look at the Lad who took buses from Philadelphia to Boston with a bunch of homework all for 12 hours with the boys. Look at the Lads who waited around a park for 30 minutes just so there friends could find a bench from a frickin movie! Look at Lad who worked up the courage to ask the waitress for her number! Granted, he did not get the number, but we did not care at all, because like a wise man once said: it’s about the journey not the destination. And yes, we came to visit you this weekend for our journey, but we could have been in San Diego, Charlotte, or even Topeka, Kansas for and we still would have had the time of our lives.
We have tried explaining this past weekend to people: family, friends, significant others and we just can’t quite get it right. We start of by running through the places we went, the drink we had, the songs we sung… but something is missing. And We try, Oh By God did we try, we tried saying that in some ways its just like we are back in high school again, we tried saying we spend almost every moment laughing, we tried saying we drank an Olympic-sized pool worth of beer. All those things may be true, but there is something more. Something that the people outside of the 7 of us just don’t quite understand. There is a reason that we somehow got closer the further away we all moved. There is a reason we were the loudest and happiest people everywhere we went in your city. There is a reason no one else get its. It’s because we are lads, and always and forever, #LadsRunDeep.
Does that answer your question?