This morning my daughter walked up to me, smiled, signaled "up" and gave me a high five when I picked her up.
Obviously, this isn't the most enthralling / shocking news of the day. After all, Isabelle is over a year old now. She's been walking for awhile. And thanks to my wife's insistence that it makes rearing children easier, sign language is no stranger at my house. And really, I should be more concerned than anything else if she WASN'T doing these things at this point.
It's still strange, though. A year ago she could barely hold her own head without support, let alone sit up. Walking? Forget about it. She's turning into this ... PERSON. Can't say I'm a fan. I like my daughter as-is, thanks.
On a more down note (I swear, I'll talk about football at some point), my wife is attending a funeral as I watch the children. A man from our church named Kenny passed away this week. He was in his 80s, so it's not like it was a shock. He was a good man. Always gave Juicy Fruit to the kids, always lectured me on making sure I take care of my family (and yes, those are the two things I'll remember about the guy. It's weird the stuff that sticks).
What do those things have in common? And what's more, what do they have to do with football? Well, I admit, any comparison of real-life issues (particularly death) to football often comes across as silly. After all, football is a game, not real life. But for better or worse it's a very important part of my life, as well as many of you. And in football, as in life, almost everything changes eventually.
That's one of the very few things you can count on as the years pass. I blinked and my toddler became my eight-year-old who is begging for "tight jeans like teenage guys wear" (don't worry, I said no. If he wants to look ridiculous he can wait until he's old enough to pay for it himself). I took a breath and we had three more kids. I turned around for a second and my dad retired and he (along with my mom) moved away. Yesterday I was working in the oil patch, now I'm prosecuting after what seems like about five seconds of school.
Things change. Really, really, really quickly.
In the football world it's less noticeable at times. Roster turnover happens every year, so it's not something we tend to look at as a major change. Crap, we lost over a third of the Chiefs roster before the 2013 season (or was it half?) and I honestly barely noticed. Of course, having been atrociously terrible the year before may have had something to do with that, but I digress.
The reason I find myself in a more contemplative mood this time around? Tyson Jackson, Branden Albert, and now Brandon Flowers are all no longer Chiefs. And for lack of a better term ... that feels pretty weird.
Full coverage: Brandon Flowers released
See, I can trace my fanhood turning into fanaticism to those three players. It was around the 2009 draft that I joined Arrowhead Pride. It was because of Tyson Jackson that I first started watching film for myself, and it was watching his tape (and getting advice from people with more football knowledge than me) that I learned what to watch for when observing defensive linemen. The same can be said for Branden Albert and the offensive line.
I was a fan before those guys got here (probably a pretty serious fan compared to the casual guy). But it was during their time in Kansas City I morphed into a full-fledged lunatic ("fanatic" doesn't do the trick. Doesn't sound quite crazy enough).
And, of course, Brandon Flowers. Flowers was the dream in my opinion. That young player who flashes potential then ACTUALLY LIVES UP TO IT. The second round pick that was going to go down as a steal in a draft full of steals (Brandon Carr and Jamaal Charles being a part of that phenomenal draft as well). He was the undersized, just-a-little-too-slow player who made up for it with incredible instincts, guts, and good ol' fashioned "does it the right way."
Flowers was one of my favorite Chiefs for the entirety of his time with Kansas City. I love the way he plays.I mean, is there a better highlight film of anyone anywhere than this one? (H/T to Clay Wendler)
People can say what they want, and Brandon Flowers did struggle at times last year. But the man's a very, very good cornerback. Anyone saying anything else is just flat-out wrong. The Chiefs will likely feel the impact of his loss this next year (barring Marcus Cooper taking a big step forward, which I'm not ruling out).
But as of this moment I'm not even thinking much about the results on the field. I'm more thinking about the players who will be out there. Eric Fisher will be at left tackle. Allen Bailey or Vance Walker will beat LDE. Marcus Cooper will be at CB. The Chiefs will look almost entirely different from what they looked like just a few years ago. Seriously, remember when the secondary was "set for years" with Carr, Flowers, Lewis, and Berry? Now only one remains.
Very soon, in what will feel like a day or two, Derrick Johnson will be gone (MAN I hope he retires a Chief). Jamaal Charles will be a memory. My oldest son will move out. My daughter is going to bring home some tool who will expect me to shake his hand and respect him despite him being 16 and an idiot (because we all were idiots at 16. I assume this kid will be no exception). More friends will pass away, and careers will do what they will.
And through those changes, I'll keep cheering for the Chiefs, caring way too much about whether they win and the players wearing red and gold. I guess SOME things don't change, at least.
Best of luck down the road, B-Flo.