In a recent news conference, former Buffalo Bills’ owner Ralph Wilson’s widow — Mary Wilson — described how his fortune is being spent for the good.
The article written by USA Today began with a look back at Ralph Wilson’s childhood, which included playing a lot of sports. It was a love that he pursued up until his death in 2014, his 54th season as owner of the Buffalo Bills.
Mary Wilson brought a tennis trophy to the Detroit news conference, a trophy that her husband won at just 12 years old. “I want it to emphasize how much fun Ralph had playing sports as a kid. And just look where he went with it,” Mary told USA Today.
The news conference in Detroit was special because that’s where Ralph Wilson grew up. Mary was introducing “State of Play,” which is a detailed report on the “access, quality and participation in youth sports in and around Detroit, Buffalo and Rochester,” according to the article. There would later be a news conference in Buffalo for their findings on the Western New York region.
The report given contained 44 pages of useful information and can be found here.
Southeastern Michigan received a grade of C+ in getting their children active in sports, with just 13% of their youth being physically active. When results came for WNY, a similar grade of C+ was given, with 16% of the youth physically active.
Jay Rey of the Buffalo News offered some important highlights from the report:
"Just 16 percent of youth under 18 are getting the recommended one hour of daily physical activity. Roughly 7,500 fewer kids would be overweight or obese if the region could push that up to 25 percent, projections show. A higher percentage of black youth get the recommended one hour of daily physical activity, compared to their white and Hispanic peers – 19 percent for blacks, compared to 16 percent for whites and Hispanics. Kids from the lowest-income households tend to get more physical activity than those from middle-income homes.While the region has made strides in providing opportunities for girls, it’s still inconsistent when compared to opportunities for boys. About 18 percent of boys get the recommended one hour of physical activity, compared to 14 percent of girls.The top 10 sports played by youth in Western New York are basketball, 22 percent; swimming, 22 percent; baseball, 19 percent; outdoor soccer, 18 percent; running, 18 percent; indoor soccer, 11 percent; gymnastics, 9 percent; football (tackle), 7 percent; cycling, 7 percent; and flag football, 7 percent.Overall, the region got a C-plus for getting kids active in sports."
Those numbers — for both regions — are quite shocking. Obviously, something has to be done and that’s exactly what the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is here for. It is well known that the Bills were sold for $1.4 billion following his death and the Foundation has vowed to give $1.2 billion back to the Detroit and Western New York areas.
The foundation has already vowed $5 million for youth sports at the Rochester Area Community Foundation. The reports will help figure out how to best utilize that money to better benefit the people.
It’s great to see this money being put to great use. As technology advances, youth are less and less motivated to go outside and play — something that was a staple in most of our childhoods. It’s awesome seeing the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation bringing hope to the WNY area.
Mary Wilson said of the area:
"“I will always be a Bills fan.“ I buy a box. As I say, the view used to be at the 50-yard line and now I’m in the end zone, but the view is still great. I love being in Buffalo. They honor me because of my life with Ralph and they love Ralph so much there.”"
As a token of appreciation, let’s get the Buffalo Bills back into the playoffs soon — Ralph would like that!
How long do you think the wait will be for another Buffalo Bills playoff run? Leave your thoughts below!