For 15 seasons, receiver Andre Reed dazzled Bills fans as he helped lead Buffalo to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. The Hall of Famer is 12th all time in career receptions, but now, 15 years after retirement, his legacy is spreading to a younger generation as the face of Roselyn Kasmire's new children's book, "Billy Buffalo's Big Catch."
Kasmire's book features Billy Buffalo, the team mascot, and his friends playing flag football at Ralph Wilson Stadium during halftime of a Bills game. Billy is hesitant to join the game with his friends because he is scared he will underperform. Reed comes along and provides Billy with words of encouragement to convince him to join his friends for the big game.
"In my stories I make sure there is always a message," Kasmire says. "The kids will learn something and take something away from my children's books. This particular story is about perseverance and not giving up. It's about teamwork. Sports are a great place for children to learn these lessons."
Kasmire sought to show kids through her book that even players like Andre Reed make mistakes and learn from them.
"Kids look at Andre Reed and they sometimes think that if you make mistakes you can never get to where he is, and that is just not true," Kasmire says. "It's about getting back out there even when you make a mistake and not giving up. Andre Reed portrays that message and kids look up to him."
Reed knows all about overcoming adversity. He caught three touchdown passes in the second half of the Bills historic rally against the Houston Oilers in the 1993 playoffs. In the game that has come to be known as "The Comeback," Houston led 35-3 during the third quarter. The Bills won 41–38 in overtime. Reed had eight receptions for 136 yards.
"I chose Andre Reed to show that even the best players make mistakes," Kasmire said. "In life, if you make a mistake, you have to keep working and going out to do what you love."
Reed enjoyed Kasmire's book so much that he came to the book's launching and read it to groups of children.
"Billy Buffalo's Big Catch," is Kasmire's third published children's book, but the special education teacher has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Growing up on a military base, she recalls running off into the woods and writing fantasy stories. However, it was not until a career in teaching that she decided to pursue getting her work published.
"I began teaching, and I would read the stories I had written to my students," she said. "They all loved my stories and I would get great feedback. One of my students said that I should write more books, so I decided to seek publication."
While Kasmire is currently working on the third book in "The Misadventures of Mage Magnus" series, based on the response of "Billy Buffalo's Big Catch," she plans to write more children's books about sports in the near future.
-- Follow Megan O'Brien on Twitter @Megan_OBrien21.