Last week, I suffered a huge loss in my life. Blackjack, my dog of 13 years, had to be put down on Friday night following a fight with a cancerous tumor in his shoulder. This story isn't about me however. It's about the Kansas City Chiefs and my fallen friend.
You might be wondering how my dog and a football team could possibly be connected. In truth, he didn't know one player on the team and never knew a preseason game from a playoff affair.
With that said, he always knew when they won and lost.
See, he had a section on one of our couches that was his. He would lay up there everyday, lounging around with my Father and I enjoying our time together. We watch a ton of sports in this house but nothing comes close to the intensity of a Chiefs game on a Sunday afternoon.
Blackjack would sit with us every week, seemingly knowing the game was about to commence. When the Chiefs did something positive we would cheer and he would come to life rigorously, wagging his tail with reckless abandon. When they scored, or hit on a big play, my Dad and I would jump up and celebrate. He would unfailingly come bounding off the couch and jump with us, celebrating a triumph he couldn't explain but never misunderstood.
There was nobody pulling harder on cold autumn and winter days for a Kansas City victory than that dog. He loved seeing us happy and a Chiefs win would invariably do that. When Jamaal Charles scored against Baltimore last year, it was hard to tell who was more excited.
When the decision was made to put him down, I cried most of the night. My father cried the whole night. We were losing our best friend. I can't explain to someone who doesn't have a pet how much you come to love them. It really is like losing a family member.
Watching the final seconds of his life evaporate in our hands, I'll never forget all the things I thought of. How much I love him, how much I'll miss him and how I need to make him proud by becoming a better person. The only other thing that crossed my mind was I really wished the Chiefs could've won a Super Bowl when he was here...he would have loved it.
I'm sure everybody says this about their pet, but there honestly wasn't a more kind or happy animal than Blackjack. He exemplified all the great qualities an individual can possess and what we should all try to be.
Every morning before work, I would always come out of my room and look for his happy face on the couch. I'd go over and give him a quick pet, then grab some juice and start typing away. Even though he's gone, I still look for him, searching for a memory I'll never replace.
Come next season, I will still watch every game with my Dad. We'll celebrate the good times and get through the bad, but it will never truly be the same. Say what you will, but Blackjack was a big part of our gameday experience.
Some people say that sports are just a game. Those people don't know my family, and didn't know my dog.
Rest in peace Blackjack, and go Chiefs.