This post isn't for the residents of Missouri who are hometown fans of the Chiefs. This isn't for the fans who inherited this team from their fathers or family members. I'm partly writing this for therapeutic reasons, but, I also want to see if there are any of you out there like me, and if we share the same lunacy.
I grew up a 49ers fan. My father is a die hard Niners fan. I grew up with Montana, Rice, Taylor, Craig and Lott. But something happened in me when I hit puberty. Not only did I feel I had to find my own identity in life, but also with my sports teams. So I started searching. The Dolphins? No, I couldn't stand Marino. The Raiders? The one constant in my life has been my hatred of the Raiders. It looked like my search would end in vain. Then it happened.
October 7, 1991. Monday Night Football is on and I lie down on the couch and start watching. It's the Buffalo Bills versus the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. I'm immediately mesmerized. Arrowhead is rocking. The defense is manhandling the Bills offense. Christian Okoye and Harvey Williams run rampant. The Chiefs destroy the Bills 33-6. I have found my team to stake my flag with.
What has followed has been 21 years of ups and downs, but what has stood out have been the heartbreaks. The countless 4th quarter comebacks by Elway and the Broncos. The playoffs...oh the playoffs. The 95-96 season was the worst for me. That year seemed like we were destined for the Super Bowl. The cardiac Chiefs. My God, it felt like every game went down to the wire and they always found a way to pull out the win. I still remember running around my living room when Vanover returned the Chargers punt for the game winning touchdown in overtime. This was the year! So what if Lin Elliot missed a few extra points? Big deal. Divisional playoffs against the Colts? Those guys barely made it in. We'll whip them without breaking a sweat! Then they played the game.
That was the first time a sports team had ever broken my heart. The year before my Knicks lost in the Finals and that loss made me sad, but this...this hurt. I literally cried when time ran out. I didn't want to go to outside. I didn't even want to turn on Madden and whip the Colts(This is something I would do after every Chief loss). I went to my room, curled up into a ball, and stared at the wall for what seemed like hours. My mom thought my girlfriend broke up with me or something around those lines, but I couldn't tell her because she wouldn't understand.
That was only the beginning. The 97-98 team. Derrick Thomas' Monday Night Meltdown. The 03-04 team. I just cherry picked a few, but there are many more examples that can be added to this list. There are times, like now, where I sit and wonder, why do I do this to myself? Am I somehow forever psychologically tethered to this team because of all the pain they have given me? No matter how much I try not to care, I do. My wife is a casual sports fan and she'll say something like, "Why do you still root for them? They're terrible!" It takes a huge amount of willpower for me not to scream at her, but, statistically, she's right.
For you Missouri natives, I understand it's your hometown team. For second or third generation fans, I understand. Most of my uncles are Raiders fans and my cousins are Oakland fans now. But, for the rest of us. Why? Why do we do it? Why did you latch on to this team and why do you continually root for them.