A few weeks ago, if the Chiefs did manage to get that elusive win number two. I was planning on writing some satire about the team and their seemingly everlasting non-efforts to put together a winning performance on game day.
Week after abysmal week passed and the Chiefs were unable to break that low glass ceiling. The losses piled up, fans went into revolt mode seeking change… We called for jobs; we spoke with venom about the individual players and their lack of heart and ability. Fans paid for banners to fly on game day and wore black to the stadium in hopes of expediting that change.
A few weeks ago, I even made a post where I satirically called for the jobs of every member of the Chiefs organization, from Scott Pioli on down to the maintenance guys to be fired, using an angry Vince McMahon "You’re Fired" gif to hammer down the message. It was the response of a guy that just simply wants to see his team win, not be the laughingstock of the entire National Football League. I was extremely frustrated with the team and seeing the Chiefs makes some changes to show they actually cared about winning was all that I wanted to read when I was refreshing AP constantly, watching the news or listening to sports talk radio.
Instead of ever receiving that news, I was woke up on Saturday morning by a phone call. It was my roommate… who is also one of the most pessimistic diehard Chiefs fans that I have ever met, even though he still attends every home game regardless of their record. We are constantly heckling each other and we have a very distinct friendship that involves lots of insults, alcohol, video games and long drawn out arguments about the Kansas City Chiefs potential. If anyone has noticed a significant fall in my Chiefs optimism over the years, he might be the root cause of my faltering blinders with his pessimistic logic versus my annual; we are definitely winning the Super Bowl this year hope in constant battle mode.
I don’t remember his exact words, but he informed me that the Arrowhead facilities were being evacuated and that some people were reported to be dead. At first, I thought he was messing with me, so I didn’t really take him seriously. After some back and forth exchanges in a style not suitable for AP’s reading eyes, he finally convinced me that he wasn’t making up a god awful story.
In my situation now, I’ve been somewhat suppressed from the internet. For about a month, I’ve been at my Dad’s place in Omaha, Nebraska… where he lives in the stone age with no internet or cable TV. Of course, I had my G2X smart phone with me. However, my T-Mobile service doesn’t get above a 2G signal in this area, so searching the internet with it had become a tedious chore of waiting, frustration and reboots.
So immediately after I had hung up the phone, I started to try and load AP… My imagination was going crazy and the site wasn’t loading very quickly, nor was Facebook or anything else. I turned on the television, thinking surely, the Omaha news would be on top of the story. No go there; it was just cartoons and talk shows.
My mind was spinning, did Matt Cassel get shot? Did an angry fan take out their frustration on Scott Pioli or Romeo Crennel? It’s crazy how your mind speculates when searching for answers in a situation where something tragic may have taken place and you are unable to get the truth. In my case, it always tends to drift to the most negative scenarios possible.
Finally, thanks to the mobile fixes that SB Nation underwent last week (Thanks to everyone involved), I was able to look at a version of AP that didn’t look written in foreign code with my slow connection speed. That nonsense aside, I slowly began to learn the details of Saturday’s tragedy. Suddenly, all of my animosity and disdain for the management of our favorite football team seemed quite petty and unreasonable.
I thought of all the comments that I have made on Arrowhead Pride over the years and how self absorbed I can be. It made me feel like I had no perspective about the bigger picture in life. I simply just wanted to see winning football and didn't really care too much about the people making the decisions or wearing the uniforms, so long as they performed in winning fashion.
There are many times in life, where winning can seem like it means everything, it cloaks reality and lets people bask in a pseudo realm of what is really important. The NFL displays this more than most other sports that I have watched; it consumed me, and made me a ball of depression because the Chiefs were not winners.
Saturday was one of those moments where reality grabs the illusion of winning being everything; tears it apart right in front of your eyes with a vengeance and leaves you questioning your morals and values. At least that is what it did to me… and why? Because of what Jovan Belcher did? A football player for the Kansas City Chiefs…really? It’s not the wars in the Middle East, crimes and death happening everyday all across the world. No, no, no… for me, it took one person on a football team that I love, to do something unthinkable to get me to say, "Perhaps football and my aspirations of seeing the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl... just isn't that important. After all, it’s just a game and I profit in no way from their success." Logically speaking, to me, that notion is pathetic and I feel ashamed of myself for falling into that mindset.
Really my AP brotherhood, I spend countless hours on Arrowhead Pride reading and writing about the Chiefs. It is something that I love to do; it keeps me out of trouble and helps me keep my dreams of someday being a professional writer alive and well. When I write something that gets good reviews or a comment that turns green… I get to bask in self praise and give myself some pats on the back. How important is that, in the overall scheme of life, Arrowhead Pride?
Question like this among others, were things that I was asking myself on Saturday. I thought of my relationship with my children and how I could have used some of this AP time to better myself instead of immersing my time in Chiefs football. I thought about Zoey and how she would never have her real parents… that really bothered me. But then I thought, why doesn't it bother me when all of the other kids in this country are left orphaned for various reasons, I’m never outraged over that and I do nothing to help them… Am I so shallow, that I only care when it happens to someone famous? Or is that just the world we currently live in? I really don’t know the answer to that, or perhaps, I just don’t want to admit the answer.
Regardless of the thoughts that passed through my head on Saturday. I still love the Kansas City Chiefs, I may have been looking at the entire organization in a temporary different light after Jovan’s actions. But love like that doesn't just vanish overnight; instead it just went through a perspective transformation.
On Sunday, I was ready to watch the game. Unfortunately, Omaha decided not to put it on TV… I was already disappointed that I couldn’t go to Arrowhead, this didn’t help that disappointment, it was like missing a close ones funeral.
Instead of watching the game, I went to the AP game threads and followed along the action slowly. It was great to read the comments and to see the hope. The Chiefs lousy season was on the back burner, coaching woes were put aside. Sure, all of the same players and coaches were on the field, but suddenly, the hate that had built up over the course of a 1-10 season fell to the wayside. Chiefs fans were having their own internal, "What’s really important?" battles and for the most part… I believe we will become a stronger fan base because of the horrible scenario that Jovan Belcher forced us all into.
I didn’t get to watch the game, see Brady Quinn’s poise… or witness Dontari Poe man handle Carolina’s line like a beast. I didn’t get to see the emotion on the players faces as they contemplated the awful scenario that they were placed into. I didn’t get to see Jamaal Charles run through large holes made by a patched up emotional offensive line. I didn’t get to see defenders fall down injured, seemingly, play after play throughout the game. I didn’t get to see Clark Hunt give Dwayne Bowe a hug on the sideline or watch as the moment that Cam Newton’s completed pass wasn’t quite far enough to score in the final moments. I didn’t get to see the Chiefs celebrate with uncontrollable emotion in the wake of Saturday’s events with their first victory in what seems like forever.
I only got to read about on Arrowhead Pride with other fans that I have grown to respect and love over the years. I read it while holding my son and daughter tight. There was only one feeling that was coming over me as I read about the win… "Pride."
Absolute, Arrowhead Pride.
I was so proud of my team, not for the false illusion and greatness that comes from being a winner in the NFL. No, pride for tackling real adversity that I ignore on a daily basis... They did so in a way that I couldn’t fathom being asked to do so soon after a tragedy. It was an amazing feat, and I was thoroughly proud to be a Chiefs fan in those special moments after the game.
Thank you, Arrowhead Pride.