November 15, 2011

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 82, Issue 5

Calling all NU Bills fans!

by Tyler Russell

(photo courtesy of google images)

(photo courtesy of google images)

Ball Burglars “ Ordinary Buffalo Bills fans united in an extraordinary purpose: helping sick kids. That is the Ball Buglars mission statement, and its what they are all about. For every turnover that the Buffalo Bills defense turns in, each member of the Burglars donates an amount of money of his/her choosing. That is the way it works; every member, every turnover, the same amount of money. The best part is that any turnover that results in a Bills touchdowns yields double the amount of money.

The Ball Burglars came into existence late in 2004, the same year in which the Bills were last in the NFL in turnovers. The original Ball Burglar, Mark Korber, decided right then and there that two things were going to happen. First, Bills fans were going to contribute in some way to the turnover margin and second, those contributions were going directly to charity.

It is not about personal recognition, but rather recognition for the children, Korber said.

The two beneficiaries of the Ball Burglars generosity are Hunter's Hope and Carly's Club. Both organizations hold a special place in the heart of Buffalo. Hunter's Hope, named after Hunter Kelly, son of Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly, is an organization that supports families who have children suffering from Krabbe Disease. Where as Carly's Club is a not-for-profit organization designed to help families with children who suffer from cancer. The two organizations are both Buffalo based and support local families and most importantly, their children.

With the Bills currently leading the league in turnovers, it's safe to say that the Ball Burglars have been busy.

As optimistic as I am, I can honestly say that no one saw this coming, Korber said in regard to the surge in takeaways. Individual contributions to the organization range from one dollar per ball all the way up to $25, for the most devoted and privileged of members. Privileged is a sort of ironic word, in that every cent donated goes to underprivileged children, whom belong to either Hunter's Hope or Carly's Club.

The generosity of Bills fans around the country has given hope to the many children belonging to these charities.

It is just our easy way of helping out those who are in need that help, Korber said.

Fans realize that they are fortunate enough to sit on a couch and watch the Bills every Sunday, but more importantly that there are far more important things than just football, Korber said.

The message is clear: anyone can help sick kids and the community. Note to NU Students: You can help. If you consider yourself a die-hard Bills fan or just a caring and generous person, show it here. Help the Burglars and the sick kids of Carly's Club and Hunter's Hope. Pledge a single dollar per takeaway and make a difference in these childrens' lives. If you are a college student without a lot of funds, band together with others and split the cost, say 33 cents a person per takeaway. Think of the difference you are making to those less fortunate than the majority of us, and place Niagara at the forefront of college campus's willing and trying to give back to the community.

As a resident of the Buffalo area, a diehard of the Bills and a recent member of the Burglars, I can appreciate the fact that many people were and are willing to donate their hard earned money to a cause greater than themselves. The only thing better than cheering for the Bills, is rooting for a turnover which will bring about money to aid those less fortunate than ourselves.

Watching a Bills game in Buffalo can bind together various people in a common brotherhood. Some would argue that something magical exists in sharing a win with close family and friends and feeling pride in your home team. Even so, there is a stronger sense of pride found in a group of individuals who put the welfare of sick children at the forefront. We do it for them, we have the ability and the responsibility to help out the kids, Korber said.

The Burglars know that as important as the Bills are, and as nice as it is to enjoy a football game in the fall, there is more that they can be doing. Even better, they can do it at the same time. In the end, it is nice to know that there exists a way people can contribute to the greater good while still watching their beloved Bills every Sunday.

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