Monday, October 13, 2014

An Open Letter to the Pegula Family

Typically, I stick to publishing about marketing topics, but on this occasion, I want to share something a little more personal.  If you clicked on here to read about business and branding, I won't be offended if you stop reading now.    

When I meet someone for the first time, it's without a doubt that one of the first things they will learn about me is that I grew up on the western side of New York State.  I was born and raised in Rochester - a fact that I am distinctly proud of.   Pride is a common trait among the citizens that call Western New York home.  In spite of its well-documented shortcomings, which often paint the picture of an abandoned land where the only jobs left are snow plow drivers, we are very proud of the place we call home.

If you've lived in Western New York, you probably know slightly different story than the one accepted by outsiders.  There is amazing bond among its residents rarely found in many cities across America.  The cities and towns that dot the map across the western portion of New York State are incredibly tight-knit despite their physical proximity. Perhaps the long, treacherous winters they share each year have something to do with it.
But it's undeniable that our sports teams also play a significant role.  Not only do the Bills and Sabres represent our community on a national stage, but, far more importantly, they bring together families, friends and strangers, galvanizing their bond to the community and to one another.  It's really why we care so much about a game.  At times, our teams feel like an extension of our families - their joy is our joy and their pain is our pain too.

Which is why the thought of losing our beloved Bills was so terrifying.  It would have been a double-whammy: another blunt reminder of all the losses our community has endured over the years while simultaneously fracturing a source of strength in the community and connection to it.  Thankfully, we can finally forget this thought that has terrorized us for decades. 

For this reason, I must express my sincerest gratitude to Terry and Kim Pegula and their family for preserving the Bills as a pillar of our community.  Your dedication and profound generosity means more to us than you could ever know.  In all of our cities and towns that are filled with good neighbors, you're truly some of the best.       

Thanks for keeping our Bills in the family.

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