Bills visit thrills school kids
By MIKE RUTSEY, SUN MEDIA
The medium wasn't the message yesterday afternoon at the Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School -- it was the Buffalo Bills Rookie Club.
A total of 10 Bills rookies made the trip northward in conjunction with NFL Canada to deliver some inspirational words to about 160 appreciative and highly vocal students who jammed the school's library.
The players also delivered $3,000 worth of football equipment to the downtrodden 0-5 Lynx senior team, which made up the core of the audience.
It was a positive and well received public relations gesture from the team that will play the 13th game of its 2008 schedule at the Rogers Centre Dec. 7 against the Miami Dolphins.
Wide receiver James Hardy was the most eloquent and enthusiastic member of the rookie club and was greeted like a rock star, especially by the female members of the audience who swooned at his every word.
Hardy told the kids it was an "honour" to be able to talk with them and went on to say they should "approach their program like it's your last game, to have no fear and give 100%.
"Prepare for your tests the same as a football game," Hardy said. "If you believe in God, anything is possible. It's a team game, there are no individuals.
"You've got to believe in each other."
Completing their education, the players said, was a fundamental key.
EDUCATION A TOOL
"When you think about education, think of it like a tool box," wide receiver Steve Johnson said.
"You need it to get to your goal."
Hardy had a special message for a student who wanted to know if he ever had been picked on when he was in high school.
"Everybody gets picked on," Hardy told him. "If you get picked on it means they want to be like you, that you've got something they don't have.."
Anthony Edwards, Lincoln M. Alexander's principal, said he was appreciative that the Bills singled out his school.
"Our community has been pining to show some of the good things that we're doing, the kids are really working hard and trying to make a life for themselves.
"Unfortunate events (the string of recent murders in the community) have cast a shadow over them.
"That is discouraging. So to have the Bills select our kids is just huge."