I spent this past Sunday like I have many over the past decade, watching the Kansas City Chiefs play at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Sunday games are fun, but there is something a little more magical when you know your team is playing on prime time TV and the national audience will be watching. The atmosphere, to me, just seems different. The smell from the grills stand out more, the music seems louder when you walk through the parking lot — or wait an hour to park — and the lines to get into the stadium seem about 100 times longer than normal.
When I walk into the stadium and when I get into stadium, I always find myself amazed by the dedication of the fans based on the uniforms. Growing up in the 1990s, it is hard not to respect someone wearing a Derrick Thomas jersey. There were plenty of hall of fame caliber players that came through Kansas City during those years, but to me DT was the one I always found myself drawn too. This past Sunday, I also saw a Marcus Allen jersey that had seen better days, but you know that fan has worn that jersey for 20-plus years, so they definitely got their money’s worth. It is always interesting to see which player someone likes enough to buy a jersey for. Honestly, when I was younger, the only Chiefs jerseys I ever had were Thomas — which was a smart choice — and Steve Bono. That one maybe isn’t the best but he followed the great Joe Montana as the Chiefs starting quarterback and I still remember that bootleg run he had against the Cardinals where he ran for seemingly miles without any defender close to stopping him. I had to do a quick Google search while typing this, but it was a 76-yard run on Oct. 1, 1995 and at the time, was the longest scoring touchdown run from a QB in NFL history.
Sunday’s game wasn’t the warmest, so the weather had some people bundled up like it was 25 or 30 degrees outside — it wasn’t that bad — but I saw a large number of people in winter coats. I took some time to check on them and it was a trip down memory lane for me, much like that Bono touchdown run. I saw jackets from such companies as Logo Athletic, Apex One and Starter. I’m sure most people between 30 and 45 remember those jackets and probably had some of them over the years. I saw one fan wearing an Apex Chiefs coach with red, white, yellow and black and it was clear the jacket was older than he was. For whatever reason, though, I always associate the Dallas Cowboys with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin with the Apex brand.
There was another person about 20 years old with a Starter jacket that was probably my favorite in that era, with the Chiefs name across the pocket on the front and it was a slip-on jacket. I was probably a bigger Chiefs fan as a kid than a Royals fan and for obvious reasons — one team was winning and the other was in the middle of a 30-year rebuild.
I think what made Sunday even cooler was when I went to get a drink and got my souvenir cup and it had a photo of Christian Okoye with the words the Nigerian Nightmare scripted behind him. I remember him just being a beast and running over most people that tried to stop him. He was playing when I first got into watching football and I liked him. The thing I remember most about him was during fourth grade and it is a story my mom will still tell people if you get her talking enough. I don’t remember all of the details of that day, but my mom was sick and told me to pick out my own clothes for school and help my younger brothers get ready.
I did the latter and I remember picking out a Christian Okoye shirt and to complete the outfit, I grabbed my Chiefs Zubaz pants that you could see from a mile away. I felt like I accomplished something small since I matched, a small miracle, at that point in my life. Well, long story short, it turned out to be photo day at school. I was short, so I was put on the front row in all my Chiefs glory. I somehow forgot to mention that to my mom until months later when the photos came in. I thought they looked cool. I think her head about exploded in embarrassment. Every other kid got dressed up for the most part. Not like Sunday church dressing up, but there was a distinct difference between me and the rest of the class. I loved the Chiefs and liked watching Okoye play so it didn’t matter to me. She ended up buying the photos and I remember running across that class photo a few Thanksgivings ago. I mean, looking back, I probably had the best outfit. If not the best, definitely the most memorable.
For those who listen to country music, the subhead is a Thomas Rhett song.
As the lyrics go, ‘ain’t it funny how life changes.’
That, I can agree, is true.
Well my year started with me taking this job in January. It has been a blast. I’m learning more and more about the school district and towns we cover and I have enjoyed all the various things I have been a part of.
That, though, may not be the biggest change of the year for me just yet. Starting Monday, I will have a teenager in my house full-time.
After much back-and-forth discussion with my daughter’s mom and myself, we decided a change would be good for her.
She will become a Platte County Pirate for the rest of the school year.
I’m fortunate enough that I work in town and that I live in the school district boundaries way down south.
My initial though was panic about how to handle a teenager on a regular basis. I remember the fits I caused my parents. I hope, with her being 15, I can still make a positive impact on her and not be a bad guy.
I have shared custody with her for almost her entire life so it will be different to be on the other end of the spectrum. That is the part that worries me. She hasn’t stayed with me for more than two weeks in quite a while.
But I’m excited for her to be here. I know she isn’t completely thrilled with the change but she is OK with it. Since she can’t drive just yet, you may see her with me when I’m out covering games.