Sunday, February 3, 2008

Who Gets to Happy Dance?

It’s the big day for professional football fans. I must admit, of late my love of the game is pretty fickle. Some seasons I watch all the games. Others I do not. I think a big part of my interest, at this point in my life, comes in how well our local team is doing. The Kansas City Chiefs are not glowing at the end of a successful season this year, nor were they in the last few. They have had sad rides home at the end of many recent seasons. In seasons like this, I of course watch the pre-games and all of the rival games (Broncos and Raiders, for sure). Coming out of the pre-games to the real season without a win leaves a spectator a little skeptical. This year has been especially tough for coach Edwards and all of his players. The NFL is getting bigger and stronger players as each decade passes.

My first memory of the Chiefs goes back to days when I was very young. Dad watched both college and professional football regularly. It only mattered what the local television station broadcasted as to what games were watched. Sometimes Dad would have a brother in law in the room, one of my uncles hanging out on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, playing a series of games of chess or card games, drinking an untold number of cups of coffee, discussing the games as they unfolded. We, including siblings and cousins, knew better than to create any interfering noises nearby. My dad loved Lenny Dawson. He was a part of the Chiefs initial team that won the Super Bowl in its early days, and I have loved the Chiefs since. I do not have memories of the first Super Bowl game as I was much too young to have even understood what was going on, but my dad later shared his enthusiasm and hope of better successes as the Chiefs made it as the best of the AFL, but did not beat the National League’s best of the year, that power house, Green Bay. I have never lost respect for that team.

On that day in January long past, we were huddled by the television, sitting Indian style. My cousin John quietly commenting on plays before the commentators did. He was much more knowledgeable of the game than me, and was also the leader when we played football in the backyard for hours during the cool autumn and cold winter afternoons for many years to come. “First down” and “fumble” were words I knew. They meant a good thing for the Chiefs. They were really good on this day. We were elated the whole game, as our team never fell behind. I loved that celebratory feeling. I have felt the elation many times after with varying degrees of intensity, but this was the first.

There was a period in the 1980’s were I thought KC might rally to a trip to the big bowl game again. After having the experience of the Royals winning the World Series in 1985, I held on to the illusion that my football team could do it too. I was ready to do another happy dance. When Joe Montana joined KC in the early 90’s, I continued the rally to watch every game. My husband, never a football fan, became one for several seasons to follow. KC made it to the playoffs, but no Bowl prize.

This year I am indifferent as to who will win tonight’s Bowl game. If the Patriot’s do they will have proven themselves the best…undefeated throughout the season, playoffs and winners of a bowl game. If the Giants win, we will have another team that turned it all around to play with the big dogs. I like those types of wins too. But since neither team is a favorite for me, I will just say have fun and enjoy the game. Someone else will get to do the happy dance.

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