Memoirs Of A Chiefs Fan

With the bye week upon us, I'm fresh out of deep, insightful column ideas, so I thought I'd go with a little light fare this week. What follows are the events that shaped my character as a Chiefs fan over these last 13 years.

And no, that's not a typo. I'm 24 years old, but I've only been watching football since I was 11. Being born in Scotland really screws up your development as a sports fan. I don't think I even knew what a play-action pass was until I was 15.

Oct. 18, 1992 – Cowboys 17, Chiefs 10

My first live experience as a football fan. My family had just moved to Dallas, Texas earlier that year, and a benevolent neighbor gave us two free tickets to that week's Dallas Cowboys game. It was sheer luck that the Chiefs happened to be in town. My father was a Cowboys fan, but I hated them. Why? Because they seemed to win every Sunday. For some reason, I didn't like that. So I rooted against them when we went to Texas Stadium. That may have been the only Chiefs game I watched that year, but a seed was planted.

Jan. 16, 1994 – Chiefs 28, Oilers 20

I guess you can call me a bandwagon fan if you want to. As near as I can figure, this day was the day I became a Chiefs fan. Joe Cool led the Chiefs to a wild comeback victory over the Houston Oilers, and I suddenly understood the drama inherent in pro football. Keith Cash spiked the football into the middle of that Buddy Ryan poster, and I was hooked. If only I had known what I was getting myself into.

Jan. 23, 1994 – Bills 30, Chiefs 13

Heartbreak. I can still remember that pass skipping off the hands of Kimble Anders at the goal line. I had taped the game just in case the Chiefs ended up winning. Afterwards, I went back to watch it for some strange reason, and discovered one of my evil sisters had taped over it. I was furious. I guess Chiefs fans really ARE masochists. Or maybe it's just me. I'm still looking for a tape of the 1995 playoff loss.

Oct. 17, 1994 – Chiefs 31, Broncos 28

The classic Montana-Elway duel. By the start of the 1994 season I was completely obsessed with Joe Montana. During the offseason I had scoured my local library for every book and magazine containing any reference to Joe Cool. I was determined to make up for the 11 years I spent in NFL exile. Unfortunately, this game happened to fall on a Monday night, which meant I had to go to bed at halftime. I taped the game. The next day after school, I popped the tape into the VCR. As Montana faded back to pass for his last attempt of the game, I watched in horror as the screen fuzzed with static. My tape had run out! It wasn't until 2005 that I finally got to see the conclusion, via a DVD acquired over the internet. The circle is now complete.

Nov. 23, 1995 – Cowboys 24, Chiefs 12

Being in Junior High School at the time, my very honor as a football fan was at stake the week of this game. I hated every Dallas Cowboys fan in my town with a passion that year. They were constantly reminding me of how great America's Team was. If there was a God, my Chiefs would come to town and scalp the Cowboys. I deserved it. As it turns out, there is no God. My eighth-grade algebra teacher taped a copy of the front page of the Dallas Morning News on my desk the morning after the game. I would have my revenge three years later when the Chiefs beat the Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium.

Jan. 7, 1996 – Colts 10, Chiefs 7

It was on this fateful day that I finally learned what it truly meant to be a Chiefs fan. I nervously watched the first three-and-a-half quarters of this game by myself on a 10-inch black-and-white television upstairs in my grandmother's house. My grandparents were celebrating their wedding anniversary that night, and after the party was over, I was allowed to come down and watch the game's conclusion on the big color television. I fell to my knees and wailed in anguish in front of most of my extended family as a certain kicker choked the game away. To commemorate this event, I celebrate the anniversary of "Choke Bowl I" every year by burning a small voodoo doll wearing a red #2 jersey.

Sep. 8, 1997 – Chiefs 28, Raiders 27

By this time I was desperately seeking another Montana-like figure to worship, and this Monday Night game gave me hope that the Chiefs had perhaps found him. Elvis Grbac hit Andre Rison in the back of the endzone for a game-winning touchdown with three seconds left, and my resultant celebrations woke the entire house up. I almost put my fist through the ceiling.

Nov. 16, 1997 – Chiefs 24, Broncos 22

This remains my all-time favorite Chiefs game. I was extremely lucky to have even watched it, because at the time there was no such thing as NFL Sunday Ticket. I would scour the newspaper each week, hoping the local affiliate would put the Chiefs game on. Fortunately, this week, they did. When Pete Stoyanovich's 54-yard field goal inched over the crossbar as time expired, I ran out into the street and started dancing. To this day, I have never shed tears following any other football game.

Jan. 4, 1998 - Broncos 14, Chiefs 10

You can blame whoever you want to blame for this travesty. I will continue to blame my sister. Allow me to explain.

During the contest, I had ordered a pizza. I had eaten every slice, save one. It remained in the oven, waiting to be consumed post-game. I knew the Chiefs were going to win, and that slice was destined to be my "victory slice."

My sister ate that slice. The Chiefs choked. You don't mess with football food karma, people. Let this be a lesson to you.

Dec. 18, 1999 – Chiefs 35, Steelers 19

This is a pretty unremarkable game in the history of Chiefs football, but it's important to me. Why? This day marked the first time I set foot on the hallowed grounds of Arrowhead Stadium. I played the Camelot theme from "First Knight" in the car while my Uncle drove us in. Stop laughing at me.

I learned two important things from this game:

1. No matter how comfortable you feel when you arrive in the Arrowhead parking lot for a December game, put the damn long johns on.

2. Don't bring a sign to the game. If you do bring a sign to the game, guard it with your life. If you leave your sign unattended, it may end up getting tossed over the side of Arrowhead's wall.

Oct. 14, 2001 – Steelers 20, Chiefs 17

This was the first day I discovered sports bars exist. I've only missed one Chiefs game since, and that was because I overslept. Speaking of oversleeping, there's nothing quite like the rush of waking up 10 minutes before kickoff and breaking the speed limit as you attempt to get to the bar in time. Here's a big shout out to all the great Chiefs fans at The Outer Marker in Addison, Texas!

Nov. 23, 2003 – Chiefs 27, Raiders 24

This was a good game, but I will always remember it for non-football two reasons:

1. The girl I sat next to at the bar left at halftime. She invited me to come back to her place. I declined her offer, and stayed to finish the game. Morten Andersen kicked a 35-yard field goal with four seconds left to give Kansas City the win. Coincidence? I think not. Looking back, that woman was most likely a demon trying to tempt me, as Christ was tempted in the wilderness. My faith in the Chiefs is as solid as a rock. Is yours?

2. After the game, I went out to my car, and it wouldn't start. I was forced to get a jump from a drunken Chiefs fan. He almost shocked himself into sobriety getting the cables attached. That guy was my Morten Andersen, coming through in the clutch. Here's a big shout out to the Drunk Chiefs Fan With The Jumper Cables, wherever he is today!

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