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On winter storms: Pick up a shovel or shut up

If you're a healthy young person now is the time to pick up a shovel and help. Half-assed editorials griping about the Bills can wait until next week.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

I was born in early January of 1977, days before a legendary blizzard that took 23 lives. In the midst of that storm my father got me to church for my baptism. We were the only people at the small south Buffalo parish but we made it through.

When I was a kid in 1985 the city was slammed by another blizzard. The great James D. Griffin told people in the city that they should get home, grab a beer, and watch a game. Sound advice for most winter storms.

In 2001 I was living in North Buffalo when the city was buried under 40 inches of snow. In the midst of the storm I drove my rusted-out 1987 Chrysler LeBaron on nothing but hope and bald tires all the way to South Buffalo so I could be with my family.

I spent last night in the relative fair weather of the Twin Cities. But I was on the phone calling people in a desperate rush to find help for my parents in Hamburg. Rain is coming and their rather flat roof already had six feet of snow crushing ths house.

Thankfully my brother made the trip from West Seneca to Hamburg to make a dent in the snow before my parents found a contractor who cleared their home, for a steep price.

There are a ton of great stories coming out of Buffalo. In a quintessentially Buffalonian move "The Buffalo Shovel Mob" is running around the city helping to get people a way out of their houses. Buffalo Rising had a great story:

I found a crowd of good neighbors stretching, at times, down the central corridor and out to the parking lot. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, and in earnest about helping their snowed-in neighbors in South Buffalo, including many elderly and disabled residents who have reached out for help.

That's what the city needs right now, people loving other people.

Levi Trimble of the Niagara Gazette, on the other hand, spent last night puking out an editorial which calls out the Bills and UB for trying to play their games.

Now to be fair to Mr. Trimble I think he has a point about when it came to the idea to use industrial snow equipment and man power for the Bills Stadium. That being said it's quite different to call out an NFL team in the south-towns for trying to divert snow-moving attention when it was needed *in the south-towns*. It's quite another to raise faux rage in the direction of UB: a team using no major snow equipment to clear their stadium in the relatively un-touched northern areas where 90% of UB students reside.

But even with the Bills one should bear in mind that as soon as the scope of this storm started to sink in the team and NFL began looking for other venues.

Oh yea, there is also the fact that Kent was already in town, save their equipment truck which was stuck in Lackawanna.

Read the article yourselves.

It took me all of two and a half paragraphs to know this was not going anywhere good.

Instead of using their vast wealth and resources to help out these desolated towns and villages, they put their minds together to try and force people to play sports and force the community to attend.

Who was going to force people to attend? Was Danny White going to run around Amherst and Tonawanda with a capture squad? If he had that kind of swagger I'm pretty sure our last home game would have done better than 18,000.

White was going to (1) Make the UB game free and (2) give out hot chocolate. That is hardly the stuff of *forcing* people to attend.

The Mid-American Conference tried to reschedule the UB-Kent State football game for Friday despite the closing of the campus and the postponement of the men’s basketball game against Montana State.

The game was moved to Friday *before* it was announced that the campus was going to be closed that day and before the game against Montana State was postponed. Those are simply factual errors. But then, there's this:

People died. People had their property destroyed. All these organizations can think of is putting on a game?

"Putting on a game" is their job. Perhaps sport is a trivial thing but in a time of crisis it's not a whole lot less important than writing an editorial column for the Niagara Gazette. So if you have time to write an article - your job - why in the world would you fault UB's administrators for doing their job?

In other words; pick up a shovel and shut up.