My first memories of football come from growing up in the quaint little town of West Columbia Texas. Like most Texas towns the citizens of West Columbia have a huge appetite for high school football. Every Friday night Griggs Field would be packed to the hilt.
You could see the field from our doorstep and I vividly remember hearing the cheers, boos, and the band playing while staring into the ominous lights from our front yard. It was every young boys dream to one day grow up to play varsity football for the West Columbia Roughnecks.
When I was eleven we moved to Georgetown Texas, a sprawling suburb on the north side of Austin. This is where I received my first dose of organized football. Georgetown was serious enough about their football that the junior high program was ran more like a high school program and the high school program was like what you would see at most colleges.
I vividly remember my freshman year when I showed up for two-a-days out of shape and unprepared. That's a big mistake in 5A Texas football. At times I thought I would die in the simmering heat. I felt like the poor kids that Paul Bryant put through the wringer in "The Junction Boys" movie. Those were the most difficult practices I ever experienced.
That same year, later on in the fall, my family moved to a small town in West Central Missouri. I was ecstatic to live near a city again that had a professional football team. I missed my younger days of rooting for the Houston Oilers. This just happened to be 1989 so I arrived in town just in time to catch the Chiefs on the upswing. Since I played defensive end and linebacker I would often pay close attention to Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith. Once the games were over I would go into the back yard and imitate their rips and swim moves.
As far as my own football career went I would soon find myself in a tough situation. Once I began playing football at my new school I quickly discovered that teammates didn't know how to win. They were used to getting thumped every week as they were the smallest school in their conference and district. The program gathered little community support and you could feel that they expected to lose every time they took the field.
Luckily for me I had come from a Texas program with a long winning tradition. The new coaches who took over the program were the same way. None of us accepted losing and before long our relentless attitudes became contagious. By the time I graduated there was a new winning tradition in place at the school. That would however be the end of my playing career.
I wanted more than anything to play College football at Central Missouri State. When I attended CMSU camp it didn't take me long to realize that I would need a redshirt as I wasn't big enough or strong enough to make the jump from high school to college. Then a knee injury that I suffered during my senior season took me off of coach Noland's radar all together.
Rather than attending college right away I decided to get married. Once that happened there were bills to pay and any dreams of college football quickly faded away. I turned to martial arts as my new athletic passion but the Chiefs also became more of a football interest for me. I think there a many fans who fall in love with the NFL for the same reason I did at the time. You love the game, but you can no longer play so you wind up living vicariously through the men who are good enough to play on Sundays.
In the process of being a rabid Chiefs fan I also became a student of the game. I started to become more interested in X's and O's and game planning as I would try to figure out how the Chiefs could beat an upcoming opponent. I would pick up anything I could find that would broaden my knowledge of football. Not only did it help me become much more insightful on what to expect in an upcoming week but it made the games more fun to watch.
To this day I try to absorb as much as I can on various schemes and techniques. Last August I received my first taste of coaching as I went back to my high school to assist my old coach during two-a-days. It was something I thoroughly enjoyed and I look forward to doing it again. To be honest I would rather coach than write any day.
As far as my writings are concerned I began writing a couple of years ago for Chiefscoalition.com. Up to this point I have always used the name Mighty Mike in print and on the radio so if you have had your ear to the ground in Chiefs country for very long then I am sure you have ran across my work in one place or another.
I am honored to be the newest member of Warpaint Illustrated and I hope to bring a new energy to the website and magazine. I hope through reading my articles you will come to share my love and passion for the Kansas City Chiefs. I am looking forward to working with Nick and the other writers on staff in making Warpaint Illustrated the best resource that scout.com has to offer.
Mike Campbell aka KC Mighty Mike.
In other Warpaint Illustrated News, we are also pleased to announce the addition of Josh Amos as our new Technical Guru. Some of you know Josh from the Miami Dolphins Board as CoolGuy3. He'll be assisting us in upgrading the look and feel of the board and also contribute articles from time to time. Over the next several weeks we are planning some changes to enhance the site as well as updating our Warpaint Illustrated Logo.
I am very excited to be adding two high quality people to the staff and neither addition would have been possible if not for all of you who have signed up for the Premium Services this past month and a half. I salute you all as we continue our efforts to make Warapint Illustrated a one stop shop for all Chiefs fans.
Stay tuned because we have even more exciting things planned.