“Money comes and goes, but these are memories and moments that you can’t get back.”
Kalpesh Patal, a season ticket holder since 2008, started rooting for the Bills back in the early 90’s, when he was in high school. He’d watch the games with friends, from his home in… Montreal.
“You’re like, these people are crazy,” Patel said. “They’re out there in minus 30 degrees, in the snow, watching a football game. I fell in the love with the passion. I’m like these guys are amazing, they’re just like us, the weather is just like ours.”
For Patel’s 30th birthday, a friend bought him a ticket to come to WNY, and see a game for the first time in person. He also experienced his first tailgate in Orchard Park that day.
“Everyone was so welcoming,” he said. “We weren’t even sure if we could walk around with beers to be honest with you… we brought paper bags to put our cans in, and people were like, ‘throw that away, you don’t need a paper bag, it’s a Bills game.'”
That first game, he was hooked, and then 11 years ago, he bought season tickets.
Patel drives six to seven hours to come to as many home games a year as the weather allows. He comes in on Saturday with is wife, and leaves on Monday. About twice a year, he rents an RV. The rest of the games he attends, he drives his car and meets fellow fans, who have become family, in the RV lot.
“Everyone knows the Canadians are coming, or Kal and his family,” he said. “We call each other family.”
The Patels have four kids. Kalpesh said his children usually stay in Montreal with their grandparents to watch the games. When they get a little older, they’ll be in Orchard Park with mom and dad, rooting for the team they love… the team that brings them 400 miles away from home.