Ezra Castro’s life was filled with joy, love and devotion for his family, his faith and the Buffalo Bills. If there was one person who embodied the heart of BillsMafia, it was Ezra.
He gave us ‘PanchoBilla’ – the beautiful spirit now seeded within each of us. It is now our duty to carry that spirit with us and honor Ezra Castro’s life by paying his wisdom forward for all the world to see.
Ezra’s body may have died but the spirit of PanchoBilla will live forever within each of us.
Most of us only had a minimal chance to engage with Ezra during his short life. I can only imagine the hole in the hearts of Ezra’s family and loved ones at this time. All we can do is offer them privacy to mourn their loss in peace.
The rest of us may begin to ask ourselves how we can honor the spirit of PanchoBilla moving forward.
But first, how do we describe the spirit of PanchoBilla?
What exactly was Ezra trying to create with his alter-ego?
What does PanchoBilla represent?
From this fan’s perspective, PanchoBilla is the embodiment of what it means to be a Bills fan. Ezra’s life was cut way too short and he didn’t get to see the Bills win a Super Bowl – yet.
But there’s little doubt in my mind when it does happen a whole lot of BillsMafia will look to the sky and blow Ezra a big kiss, including me.
The term ‘diehard fan’ should have a picture of PanchoBilla next to it’s wiki-definition.
The words relentless, persevere, and passionate come to mind when I think about how to describe what PanchoBilla means. Ezra created a persona that reflected the heart of BillsMafia front and center.
The moment he stepped on stage to announce Harrison Phillips as the Bills’ draft pick was absolutely incredible. The entire place stood still and watched him live his biggest dream come true. It was amazing how every fan base in the NFL was moved to tears by this very special man.
If you want to engage your ‘inner-PanchoBilla’, all you have to do is think about Ezra and how he navigated his life. He never gave up on his team or his passion for living.
What kind of crazy person dresses up and follows a team to the ends of the earth despite the fact that said team came from a city they never heard of?
It would be understandable if the Patriots’ record for the last 20 years. Who follows a loser team from a place best known as Siberia East?
And that’s because PanchoBilla knows that it’s more about the love we have for each other than it is whether or not the Bills win or lose a football game.
We’ve had our hearts not only broken, but stomped on four times in a row trying to grab at that brass ring. That level of karmic cruelty extinguishes most fan bases into a pile of ash.
Not ours. Certainly not PanchoBilla’s.
PanchoBilla inspires us to never give up. NEVER give up hope that good things are coming for the BillsMafia family.
And even if ‘good things’ don’t come to us as Bills fans in this lifetime, we hold our heads up high and remain loyal to each other because that is what PanchoBilla would do.
Ezra Castro connected to the world of football in a way few fans get a chance to experience. Mean-spirited people ask, “why him”?
PanchoBilla. That’s why.
PanchoBilla became an instant phenomenon the entire NFL fan base embraced. He is the face of BillsMafia and that will never change.
The power of love is undeniable, just like the power of PanchoBilla. Many of us will carry Ezra’s spirit with us as we mourn his loss and celebrate his life.
Viva Los Bills, baby!
Editor’s babble: I will ‘PanchoBilla’ every chance I get. Thanks, Ezra ;) You can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.