How many awards or trophies or brass rings or laurel wreathes have been given to the competitor who played his best but still came up just a little bit short? Actually, at a birthday party when I was 8 years old, everyone tried to drop clothespins into a glass milk jar that was on the ground because the winner got 10 packages of "Fizzies" to do with as they pleased. Although I came in second, the sweat on my brow reflected my extreme effort to get that carbonated candy.
So much so that the kid's mom gave me a cute little star that had "hardest working pin dropper" written on it. When she pinned that on my chest, man, were the other kids jealous. I'm not sure why. I didn't even get any Fizzies. But, in the professional sports world, not winning is kind of like waiting for the Great Pumpkin on Halloween night. The longer that a winner takes to show itself, the less likely you are to believe it will ever happen. After all, Linus isn't going to wait in the pumpkin patch indefinitely, is he? The only thing that makes it worse is the build-up and anticipation that leads to its non-appearance.
On a recent jaunt to our fair sister city to the east, St. Louis, I was again reminded of the awesome power the KC Chiefs really hold in the palm of their hand. Being the KC fan that I am, I most naturally went everywhere in the Arch-tropolis clad proudly in my favorite Chiefs apparel. I'm so used to wearing these shirts and such that I forgot they were on me and couldn't figure out why people were looking at me as if a horn were growing from my forehead. Perplexed, I asked my wife and she said, "it's because you're wearing your worn out Priest Holmes T-shirt in St. Louis, dummy."
Oh yeah! These people act the same way I do if someone in KC is wearing a Broncos or Raiders shirt. They give the look of, "what is wrong with you?" or "are you looking for a quick transport to East St. Louis for a lesson in hometown humility?" But, as I walked along, several guys walked up and asked if I was from KC. I felt like saying, "No. I'm from Poughkeepsie, NY, but they couldn't fit that on a T-shirt!' But, being the gentleman that I am, I said I was and one of them said, "Man, what's it like to live in KC and watch the Chiefs play all the time?"
Once again, the snappy answer in my head was, "It's like living here and watching the Rams play," but instead I asked him what he meant exactly. He said, "Well, here in St. Louis, we used to love the football Cardinals and every home game was like going to church. We were so devoted to them but one day they just up and left for Arizona like this town wasn't good enough for them anymore and because of that the rest of us have a harder time getting behind the Rams because they're really from L.A. and it seems like no matter what we do, they'll leave us too, so we figure why put the effort into it? That's when it hit me. How many other cities are lucky enough to be able to embrace the same sports team decade after decade, win or lose, and keep that same level of fan based support in place the whole time?
Kansas City is truly an anomaly in this sense because the rest of the teams keep jumping from city to city faster than wire transfers. Hopefully, KC stays that way, otherwise, we could be chanting the name of the Kansas City Steelers or maybe we'll wear clothes boosting the KC Oilers. Not in my lifetime, I pray. Subsequently, I also pray that all the hearsay I have recently overheard from the usual gang of slobs at my local sports haunt won't contribute to the delinquency of our beloved Chiefs.
Rumor has it that Lamar Hunt has put in a bid to the proper authorities so that the lovely town of KC will be in the running to host the 2010 Super Bowl. Talk about an infusion of spirit into the soul of a Midwest mainstay. The very thought of the big game coming to KC is enough to make sports enthusiasts from the four state region all quivery inside. It would be the event of a millennium for us and would probably be the end all celebration for local vendors and motel owners alike.
But wait. There is just one major problem. Our stadium doesn't have a roof! Oh, we forgot about that. How could we possibly have a Super Bowl in Kansas City without a roof over Arrowhead Stadium?
Everyone knows that the football Gods would never allow a Super Bowl to be held in a place that might be inclement and colder than a well-diggers butt in February. Not to mention the snow and blizzards and ice and slush. Hardly the scene for international travelers to snuggle up to. So, why would anyone even consider bringing the Super Bowl to KC? That's a really good question and one that needs to be addressed. A couple of different scenarios pop into my mind.
First, since there is no cover on Arrowhead, and since the Bi-state legislation failed, Mr. Hunt and company are preparing for the "Battle of the Enclosure" in a concerted effort to get a tax passed aimed at blanketing our stadium in time for the money fest that comes along with the big game. As long as the NFL was assured of a sterile environment for the winners of the AFC and NFC to compete, the location wouldn't seem to make much of a difference. And, seeing that Lamar is the guy who invented the game in the beginning (the name came from his daughter's Super Ball), there could be no higher honor to bestow upon him than to have him and his legacy throw the Super Party to welcome the throngs of fans coming to town.
Second, Mr. Hunt wants to lead the Super Bowl parade so badly, that by requesting the annual gala alight in KC, knowing that it wasn't possible without help from the stubborn public, then he intends on taking his team to a warmer place with a dome so that his dream could become reality. The fact is Kansas City will never host a Super Bowl just like Nome, Alaska never will. The chances of it being ruined by forces of nature are far too great and I believe Lamar and his cronies know this all too well. That prompts me to wonder if he had to choose between hosting the Super Bowl and having his team actually play in the Super Bowl, which would be more beneficial to the illustrious Lamar Hunt?
The upcoming season for the KC Chiefs will hold all the answers to these life-changing questions. If the Chiefs don't do so well or lose very badly, the likelihood of them stepping out the door is far stronger than it is today. But, if they win and win big time, there is no doubt that Arrowhead will be refurbished with a roof, more luxurious suites, leather seats, smoking jackets, you name it; then a Super Bowl in Kansas City might be possible. But that's a big if!
All is fair when your team is a winner. Maybe Lamar is just trying to motivate his team into playing at the level we all know they are capable of, especially when money is obviously not a motivating factor. After all, if you were a Chiefs player, would the thought of moving to a warmer, sunnier climate if you did not win actually motivate you to play harder?
Don't everyone answer at the same time now.