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There’s no taking Buffalo out of the boy November 7, 2010

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.

I remember saying to Austin when we agreed to move forward with his adoption, meaning his relocation to upstate New York, “I’m taking the boy out of Kentucky, but I’m not looking to take Kentucky out of the boy.”

I have great respect for personal heritage and its impact on our individuality. I love Austin’s pride in being from Kentucky, and I look for opportunities to acknowledge that. It makes him different—allows him to stand out.

I think that’s why I was so moved watching this sensation video about Buffalo produced in support of the 2011 National Preservation Conference. The presentation combines stunning cinematography and heart-felt testimonials that highlight the city’s unique qualities.

Austin wears his Kentucky baseketball jersey with pride...

Having grown up in Western New York, I’ve witnessed nothing but its decline throughout my lifetime. Jobs have departed the region, followed by its people—and the resulting deterioration has led to scorn and mocking from outsiders, which can understandably take a bite out of our civic pride.

But for some reason my pride in being from Western New York has never wavered. I remember in high school developing an affinity for the Buffalo Bills. I’d grown up liking the Dallas Cowboys, but then questioned why I wouldn’t root for the local team—the team that represents ‘us.’ A love for the Buffalo Sabres soon followed.

...but he has come to enjoy wearing the colors of the Buffalo Sabres too.

As I got older, I would constantly toy with the idea of relocating to a warmer climate. I’d actively explore opportunities, but some indescribable force always led me to remain. And I realize that’s true for a lot of people. Even for many who didn’t remain, you constantly see expressions of pride from those who claim their roots are here.

I have a theory: Life is like Buffalo. For the majority of us not living a privileged existence, we learn to expect hard knocks along the way. The definition of building character is getting knocked down—and then getting back up. It’s never giving up the fight and staying committed to the qualities that make each of us unique. That’s Buffalo! That’s not necessarily Charlotte, N.C., or Dallas, Texas. Buffalo has tremendous character that’s constantly being tested. I think we all recognize—and hopefully embrace—the ‘Buffalo’ inside of us.

In posting a link to this video on my Facebook page yesterday, I reflected that most of my personal and professional ties are to Rochester these days, but I acknowledge that Buffalo remains the identity of Western New York. And I celebrate that!

It’s been fun watching Austin begin to embrace his new home and appreciate the quality of life he can enjoy here. But I never want that to come at the expense of his Kentucky heritage.

As for me, maybe I’ll finally act on the interest to relocate some day—most likely in retirement. But I will guarantee you this: There’s no taking Buffalo out of the boy!



1. Frank Battaglia - November 7, 2010

Great piece, Paul! As someone who first “discovered” north-western New York during my college days, the spirit and the beauty of the area has become ingrained in me. I’m proud to call Rochester my second home…

And I do think there’s a little Buffalo in all of us!

2. Carolyn - January 14, 2011

Hi Paul, I just found your blog via twitter. I’m a senior at RIT and a Rochester native and I love this post! I can’t wait to get out of here and move somewhere warm and sunny but I love Rochester and can absolutely see myself moving back here and raising my family here someday. Thanks for your insight and opinion and go Sabres!

paulstella - January 15, 2011

Thank you so much, Carolyn! You are definitely at a point in your life where you need to go and explore — and I think warm and sunny sounds like a great alternative, especially right about now! Best wishes and, yes, go Sabres! 🙂

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