Knowing Christmas is now a day away, it's easy to think back to the holidays when you were a kid. There were some Christmases where my siblings, along with myself, didn't have a lot of gifts under the tree, but that was what inspired me to make sure we could make Christmas a little better for some Buffalo kids.
Late last week, my wife, Amanda and I, gave away 250 pairs of Nikes to kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo through my Imagine for Youth Foundation.
After all of the shoes got delivered to us last week, our house was full of shoe boxes, and as we were putting kids' names on them, I was telling my wife how I could remember one specific Christmas when I was little, and a church group came to our house. They brought us a soccer ball, football, basketball and a bunch of other gifts.
That was the one time I saw our Christmas tree with a lot of gifts underneath it. So, seeing the kids' faces this past week after getting some brand-new shoes that were their sizes and theirs to keep and to wear whenever they'd like… it's just great to be able to help kids that need it. You really feel that Christmas spirit when you see those kids light up.
I know when I was coming up, I definitely had some help along the way. There were people in my community, like my friends' parents and coaches who helped me to the point where I fully understand that I wouldn't have gotten where I am today without them. My mom's plate was full with work and trying to provide for all of us, so without the help of our friends and neighbors, I wouldn't have made it. So, I know firsthand that kids need that additional support.
I'm coming up on two years in Buffalo now and being able to give back to this community is important to me for two reasons. Number one, Buffalo embraced me and my family. As soon as we got here, they welcomed us with open arms. People were just so nice and down to earth and gave me so much love when I signed here.
The second reason is that I'm a small-town guy. I feel at home here. I'm not a big city guy. I've never even driven through downtown Buffalo. I never spend time in big cities. I'm usually in my hometown (Fostoria, Ohio) or here. Even when I'm in southern California, I'm in Amanda's hometown, which is a suburb in San Diego and not really a part of the city. I just feel at home here and get that small-town vibe when I'm in Buffalo.
"I’m coming up on two years in Buffalo now and being able to give back to this community is important to me." Micah Hyde
As for me and my teammates, it's obvious this season did not play out the way we wanted, but I'm proud of the fact that it has not impacted the way we've approached these games in the final quarter of our season.
Everyone is preparing just as much and playing just as hard as they were in September. I think the number one reason for that is because of the guys that Sean McDermott brought into this building. They are all high character guys.
We understand what's in front of us and we're not naïve to the fact that we're out of the playoffs. We're not going to the Super Bowl this year. Still, we are determined to go out and make some plays and end our season the right way.
We have a young group and we feel we’re going in the right direction. ... we’re going to keep building and strive to make plays and finish the season on a winning note. Micah Hyde
At the same time, it's key for the young guys to get out there and get some experience. Every game and every practice they're still learning. Even for myself, I try to go out there and avoid making the same mistakes and instead, make some plays that'll help this team win down the stretch.
Many times, teams that finish strong at the end of the season are able to use that as a springboard to hit the ground running the following season. I believe there is truth to that.
We have the guys in this locker room to accomplish what we want. The difficult thing in the NFL is you have to be able to win close games. Unfortunately, there were three close ones that we lost. And if you turn those into wins, the season is a whole different story.
We have a young group and we feel we're going in the right direction. Earlier in the season, we wish we could've gotten some more wins, but that's life in the NFL, and it's why we find ourselves in the position we're in now. But, we're going to keep building and strive to make plays and finish the season on a winning note.