Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 29, 2013

CITY DESK: The voice of the fans

Niagara Gazette — In my parents’ house, Larry Felser was practically like family.

He never stopped by or anything. We didn’t exchange Christmas cards. In fact, sadly, the Scheers never even met the man. 

Thanks to my father — a voracious newspaper reader — the late, great Buffalo News columnist was a fixture in our living room and at our kitchen table. His weekly observations served as fodder for countless conversations and serious debates about our beloved Buffalo Bills and Sabres. 

To say Felser was great is an understatement. 

To me, an aspiring journalist, Felser was a hero, a true source of inspiration. 

The News put it best when they described him as “iconic.”  

Generations of Western New York sports fans who grew up reading Felser, being educated by him, laughing with him and, of course, enduring the tremendous pain that has become synonymous with rooting for anything Buffalo in the world of sports in recent years. 

A former colleague of mine who now works at the Buffalo News once told me Felser had an uncanny knack for being able to write for space.

In other words: He rarely exceeded the number of words allowed.

What impressed this person most was how, regardless of the deadline or how much he may have had to say on a given topic, Felser so often managed to say it — just right — within 20 or so inches of column space. 

I can tell you, that’s no easy task and, for the great ones, like Felser, it’s a gift. 

From my perspective as a reader and a fan, Felser almost always seemed to get it just right. I’m not talking about facts or statistics. I’m talking something much more complex to express in words — things like tone and context and tempo. 

After Bills games, particularly after losses, my father and I would rush to read Felser’s columns to find out what really happened.

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