While my heart fills with pride over the resurgence of our beloved Chiefs, I got something else out of the Niners game. A son who I think will now be able to share his father’s love for the Chiefs. A son who will now be a fan for life.
Let me explain.
My now fifteen-year-old son has been what I call “force fed” the Chiefs for as long as he’s been alive. His room has a red and gold stripe around the top. Autographed pennants, pictures and posters all over the place. I took him to his first game when he was six or seven years old (Chiefs 49, Cardinals 0… told him it wasn’t going to be that easy every time). We’ve seen a few others together. Actually he’s never seen them lose in person. But he’s never seen the Chiefs be very good. Most of those games I took him to were the ones late in the year when they were just playing out the string. Half full stadiums. Rotten weather. Largely indifferent crowds. I’d tell him stories about when Arrowhead literally vibrated with noise and excitement back in the 90’s. And while he understood what I was saying, I really don’t think he ever GOT IT. He likes the Chiefs and talks a good game. But he’s just never given himself completely to the team. I’m OK with that. And I accepted the fact that he may just never get the passion that I feel for this team.
This past Sunday, a couple of tickets came my way for the 49ers game. I thought I would take my son to the game again. He was excited to go, as it meant a road trip and a fun afternoon. But I had something different in mind. After years of TELLING him about how it used to be, I’d finally get to SHOW him. The Chiefs were 2-0. The weather was going to be nice. Arrowhead was going to be ROCKING. And I couldn’t wait.
We tailgated. Cooked some brats. Smelled the bar-b-que all around us. Tossed the football around. Fans around us were smiling, happy, confident. Confident? That’s certainly something he hadn’t seen before. Our walk around the stadium to our seats took us through the new Hall of Honor. We paused to look at some of the displays. Took a picture by the Lombardi Trophy from that “ancient” 1970 Super Bowl winner. We took our seats just before kickoff, with a reluctant sun just beginning to splash the field with color. When I say took our seats, I’m really lying. We stood by our seats. We never sat. We yelled, stomped, beat on the seats in front of us. And so did everyone else around us. It was an absolute party.
Then early in the second quarter, I saw it. Brandon Flowers tipped a ball and caught an interception on his back. The place just erupted. Shook with noise. While everyone was high fiving one another, I looked at my boy and I saw it. Not just a smile. Not just happy. But joyful. Caught up in a moment shared by thousands of his newest, closest friends. I was caught up too. Because I knew that I had finally shown him what it REALLY means to be a Chiefs fan. To lose yourself. To think that you can have an outcome on a game by making as much noise as humanly possible. To have the passion.
I sincerely hope that the Chiefs are successful this year. I want to see them win a Super Bowl. But mostly, I just want to watch the games with my kid. I want him to look forward to Sunday. Maybe he’ll want to stop what he’s doing and sit down with his dad for a couple of hours. Then again, he’s fifteen. Indifference is the normal attitude right now. I do know this. He saw the passion on Sunday. And he finally understood.