Aim small, miss small

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

From the FanPosts -Joel

I can't remember exactly how old I was, and because of that I'm not sure if it was borrowed from a movie, or just some sage advice -- but I can remember everything else with perfect clarity.

I can remember travelling to my uncle's house in Hermann, Missouri.

I can remember being handed a gun that felt like it weighed about as much I did.

And more than anything else, I can remember what my dad said to me as I stared down the open sight of the Stevens 16 gauge.

"Aim small, miss small."

I didn't know it at the time, but that was the best advice I'd ever get. It doesn't just aid the shaky shooter -- it's great advice for all of life. Narrow focus allows even a misstep to result in a satisfactory result.

Slightly off center of the bull's-eye is still a good shot -- slightly off center of the target itself is a bad shot. Aim for the middle, and even if you miss, you'll still hit the target -- aim small, miss small.

A couple years down the road, I'm playing some basketball with my brother, and I'm shooting considerably worse than my usual 10%. My dad must have been watching from the window, because he came out to watch more closely.

After missing what was probably at least a dozen consecutive shots, my dad put a hand on my shoulder and took a knee to get down on my level -- "aim small, miss small" was all he said before he stood up, and proceeded to walk back inside.

I made what felt like a hundred consecutive shots after that. In reality, it was probably closer to three, but the advice was priceless nonetheless. I was aiming for any spot 10 feet in the air that was near the backboard, and I should have been aiming for the dead center of the basket.

I applied the advice to every aspect of my life, and I try to use it to inform my expectations of my favorite sports teams.

I didn't just want to go to college, I wanted to get an engineering degree. I did.

I didn't just want to get married, I wanted to marry the most amazing person I could imagine. I did.

I don't just want to be a Chiefs fan, I want to be a Chiefs fan who keeps things in perspective. I like to think I am.

So I don't want to make too much of what happened yesterday, but I feel like some things need to be said. At the risk of losing perspective, I feel like we all need to discuss the implications of what happened when the Chiefs blew a 28 point lead on the verge of ending a two decade playoff win drought.

It was bad. It was really, really bad.

I lived in the region for a long time, and even went to school there, so when SIU basketball coach Barry Hinson went off on his players a couple weeks ago, I was embarrassed -- and yesterday was so much worse.

As embarrassing as coach Hinson's rant was, I felt like channeling my inner-Barry last night as I stared at my TV well after the game was over -- because "my wife, my wife can score more than two buckets on 11 shots could hold a 28 point lead in the second half."

The Chiefs defense was worse than any NFL defense should ever be.

Their offense was more timid than any NFL offense should ever be.

And, most frustrating of all is that as collective group, they were more unlucky than any NFL team should ever be.

They lost the most dynamic playmaker -- the same guy who accounts for over a third of their offense -- when Jamaal Charles went down on the sixth play of the game.

Then Donnie Avery went down.

And so did Brandon Flowers.

And Justin Houston.

And Knile Davis.

At one point, I didn't know if there were going to be enough guys wearing white jerseys for the Chiefs to field eleven players until the final whistle. The injuries killed them -- and then it got worse.

We've seen a number of moments in NFL history that were such a perfect combination of brilliant and lucky that they have their own name.

"The Drive"

"The Immaculate Reception"

"The Music City Miracle"

Fittingly enough, the Chiefs playoff woes started when the quarterback who threw "The Catch" left Kansas City.

So maybe it makes all too much sense that the newest addition to the realm of immortal football lore required the ineptitude of the January version of the Kansas City Chiefs.

In Indianapolis, they may call it "The Comeback 2.0", or they may remember the specific play that stood out -- the Andrew Luck fumble recovery for a touchdown -- and call it "The Fumble Game".

In Kansas City, it will simply be remembered as year 20 -- it's just one more year, one more failure.

The Chiefs, by any measure, had a great year for a team fielding a new coach and quarterback, and coming off of a 2-14 season.

What's more, they played hard all year long -- they played with a narrow focus.

They aimed small.

A few years after that basketball game with my brother, I remember one specific game of baseball played on a field under construction -- a field without a fence on the right side.

I was struggling to make contact, and in five plate appearances, I struck out five times on a total of probably 20 pitches. So when the game went to extra innings, I wasn't the most excited player in the makeshift dugout.

My dad could see it on my face, so he brought me a new pack of sunflower seeds, and when he did, he looked me in the eyes -- "aim small, miss small".

After our pitcher gave up one run, I came up fourth in the bottom of that inning, with a man on second and two outs. I saw the first pitch as well I had seen one all night -- and when I swung, I hit as hard as anyone had all night.

It soared into night sky, and I stood at the plate in disbelief -- i was sure I was going to go home a hero that night.

I started running with the intention of taking my time to savor a trip around the bases -- and I stopped just shy of first base.

Standing out in right field, just past the point where the fence should have been, was the right fielder -- holding up the ball and kind of running, kind of jumping towards the infield.

I was as dejected as I'd ever been in my life to that point as I slunk over to my parents.

"I aimed small" I said to my dad.

"And you missed small" he replied.

The Chiefs don't owe anyone any apologies for this season, and their fans have nothing to be ashamed about. They played hard and fought to the last whistle.

The had a narrow focus.

They aimed small.

Sometimes, you just don't miss small enough.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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