REYNOSA, MEXICO (WIVB) — Channel 4 is highlighting Bills fans who are taking their passion for the team off the field. And this week’s ‘Bills Make me Wanna Give’ segment took us about 1,800 miles south, to Reynosa, Mexico.
It’s something you wouldn’t expect to see across the border: dozens of kids showing their Buffalo Pride. But in the town just across the Texas border, there’s a flag football team that is doing just that. The coach of the team is a huge Bills fan.
“Vamos Buffalo,” Jesus Gonzalez yelled during a Zoom interview.
As a kid, Gonzalez was never a huge fan of the popular sport of soccer, so he chose to learn about the game of American football. He started rooting for the Bills in the early 90’s, and recently he created a flag football team for boys and girls in his hometown. He told News 4’s Kelsey Anderson, the kids in Reynosa don’t have gym class like kids do in the U.S. Many of the children there don’t have access to a sport that can teach them discipline and agility skills, so he formed the team he calls ‘Buffalo Kids.’
But he realized the items the kids would need to play the sport were costly for many families there.
“I wanted to give the parents that opportunity to let the kids play and not to be concerned to buy flags or buy uniforms.”
So, he reached out to the fanbase he loves.
He posted on social media, and received donations from two people. One person gave him $50, which paid for all the flags. A second, anonymous donor, gave Jesus enough money to pay for brand new uniforms for the entire team.
“They understand we are trying to do something good for these kids and for the community,” Jesus said. “I am not going to disappoint these people.”
Jesus said he tries to live a life similar to the late Ezra Castro, who many knew as Pancho Billa. Gonzalez started the flag football team as a way to give back to local kids, and now, thanks to two other kind hearts dozens of kids have even more reason to smile.
“Ezra Castro gave us a good example, not to only be a Bills Backer or to follow a team, but also to be someone or something to the community,” he said. “Anyone can be a fan, but to give something is something else.”
The team did take a break from playing during this pandemic, but Jesus said the kids can’t wait to put their red, white and blue back on when it’s safe again.
Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.