The Chiefs aren't just a playoff team, they're also Cupid
We’ve never had a guest post on this blog, but we’ve never had an e-mail like this one, either. This is from Rachel, who has exactly the kind of story I love, the kind that highlights the bigger meaning that sports and local teams have to all of us.
So, here’s Rachel:
I’m not sure how many e-mails that you actually read, but I wanted to go ahead and give it a shot. With the Chiefs finally in the playoffs, there have been many questions regarding the loyalty of Kansas City fans and whether those who say they are fans will still be around the next time the losses outnumber the wins.
That being said, I would like to share with you a story of learning that it really does pay to be a loyal fan. My father, John Wolf, has been a Chiefs’ season ticket holder since 1990. In 1993, when I was nine years old, my dad had an extra ticket and gave me the opportunity to go. I was a bit overwhelmed at first; I remember asking my dad, “How many people do you think are here? A thousand?” to which of course he laughed and momentarily thought his daughter would probably never have any real interest in football.
He could not have been more wrong. From that day forward, I have attended as many games as ticket availability would allow. In 1995(?) we upgraded from two seats to four, giving me my “own” ticket and the privilege of going to as many (or few) games as I desired. Throughout the years, football became my passion. If the Chiefs were home, I was at Arrowhead; I was glued to the television when they were on the road. I can remember a few instances that I actually missed a game through the next 15 years – college graduation, a reunion with college friends, and the dreadful case of the swine flu which kept me from the one home win in 2009 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I’m not sure how, but sometime in the 17 years I have been a fan, my dad instilled in my brain that you have to be a fan through the good and the bad. He would tell stories of when he would go to the games in the 80’s and the stands would be empty, lucky to have a few thousand (?) people. That being said, the last few years have been trying for Chiefs fans both old and new. I watched as the stadium that was once sold out without question had fans buying upper-level tickets for $15 and moving down to the front rows. I listened to fans (some close friends, some strangers) talk about how they were for sure giving up their seats after the 2009 season – the Chiefs were done. The low winning percentage didn’t keep our family from attending the games. Although we began tailgating at home for some of the brutally cold games, we still made the trek to Arrowhead week after week.
It was 2009 that we had an extra parking pass which we would give to a random car on our way into the stadium; our way of saying thanks for believing, even if we weren’t quite sure why. Other than the quick yet gracious “thank you”, we didn’t generally hear or see more from the recipients of the parking pass. The one exception came on December 6, 2009 – the Broncos game. After pre-gaming at home, we headed to the stadium and looked for a potential recipient of the bonus parking pass. You can’t give a fee parking pass to just anyone, you know. Finally, “those guys look cool”. My dad rolled down the window and shouted, “Hey! You guys have a parking pass?”He handed over the parking pass and drove on, figuring that much like those before, we would not hear from them again.
These guys were different though; they purposely followed us into the parking lot and parked in the space next to us. There were three of them, and I initially dubbed them Husker fan, Wisconsin fan and MU fan. One of the passengers (Husker fan) jumped out, thanked my dad again and offered him a beer. My dad, who does not drink, politely said, “No thank you, but my kids may want one”. This started typical pregame chatter. After the game, we drank away the sorrows of the Bronco beating and agreed that these guys were worthy of our additional parking pass for the game the following week. I exchanged numbers with the Husker fan and added him as “Jeff Chiefs” in my phone. We suffered through the rest of a dismal season, attending the rest of the home games together, proud to say that, “Hey, when the Chiefs are good again, we can say we were here through the bad times”.
Now, fast forward one year. The Chiefs are 10-6 and have made it to the playoffs, against all odds. In addition, I am proud to say the Jeff Chiefs and I got engaged on December 4, 2010, one day before the Chiefs-Broncos game. What more proof does one need that it pays to be a loyal fan?