Monday, January 20, 2020

Once I Was...

Once I was 10 years old.  No this isn't a Lukas Graham song, but I was thinking about something earlier.  Last night the Kansas City Chiefs made it to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years.  I've never seen the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, and this will make this Super Bowl the best one ever (well, unless they lose, then the 2003 Buccaneers win will be the best ever).  I thought about my nephews and how they will be 19 and 17 this year and they've experienced an amazing run of Missouri teams with success.

I forget the year, but I was around 10 or 11.

I brought up being 10 once because I use it as a jumping off point of sorts.  I remember stuff from before I was 10, but it was really around the age of 10 that I really got into sports.  Being born in 1982, I was alive for the Royals and Cardinals World Series victories, but I don't remember them.  So in the 90's I was stuck with two baseball teams that had odd decades.  The Royals were going through a phase where a new owner was needed after Ewing Kauffman passed, and they weren't willing to spend money until a new owner took over (which would be David Glass around 2000).  The only year they had decent success was 1994, where they might have had a shot at the World Series, but its not like it was a sure thing.  George Brett retired in 1993, so the team was looking for a new face of the franchise.  Aside from a standout year from Bob Hamelin, nobody got much of the spotlight nationally until the turn of the century where three outfielders started to turn heads: Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, and Johnny Damon.  Knowing the team couldn't retain them, all three would be traded and eventually all win a World Series ring elsewhere.  Over on the other side of the state, the Cardinals had moderate success but weren't really contenders, just more consistently towards the top.  Much like Kansas City, their face of the team was starting to wind down his career, but Ozzie Smith still has many memorable moments.  While nowhere near flailing, the weren't a champion caliber team like they were in the 80's.  Things changed at the end of the decade when Tony LaRussa came to town and shortly after Mark McGwire.  With McGwire hitting home runs, fans got over The Wizard retiring, and seemed content with a home run record over a World Series.  Things turned better after the turn of the century with Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina joining the team, but we'll get to that in a bit.

Dad loved that Chiefs shirt.

So did I.  I still have it today and wear it often.  I'm pictured with my sister who is an avid reader.

In other sports, Missouri had no NBA teams, and St. Louis was still without an NFL team when the football Cardinals left for Phoenix in the mid 80's.  That changed when the Rams came to town.  It wasn't an overnight success, as it would take a couple years for the team to employ a former bag boy from Iowa as their starting QB, which would lead to the Greatest Show on Turf.  By the turn of the century, you wondered if the Rams were going to become a dynasty.  We'd find out later they wouldn't.

My nephews posing at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield.  Around the ages of 8 and 6.

I'm not sure their age here, as I wasn't with them on this trip.  I found it while going through photos.

In Kansas City, things actually looked bright.  After a decade of more or less horrible teams, in 1989 the Chiefs started to make moves to start a serious run.  The era of Martyball entered the NFL lead by head coach Marty Schottenheimer and on the field perfected by the duo of Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith.  In 1993 the Chiefs had Joe Montana and Marcus Allen on offense and seemed unstoppable.  With a 13-3 record they were ready for a return to the Super Bowl.  However at the time, Buffalo and Houston (Oilers, not Texans- they are yet to come) proved to be very talented as well.  As the decade progressed, the light was dimming, and before long Martyball was over, Montana and Allen retired, and Neil Smith did the unthinkable- he went to Denver to win a ring (which he did).  The time was up when driving to a playoff game to see the Rams, Derrick Thomas crashed his car and would pass away a short time later.  The team still had flashes of greatness, but nowhere near the level they had in Martyball.

My high school days, I was preparing a speech for a FHA event.  I really liked that jersey.

Elsewhere in Kansas City, talk of possibly landing an NHL team or an NBA team was so constant it put more emphasis on the state motto SHOW ME! Neither happened but hey, they have a new arena for when WWE or Elton John comes to town.  However a new league began in the mid 90's called MLS.  Major League Soccer was helped in the early years by Lamar Hunt who even let the Kansas City Wizards play home games at his NFL teams stadium- Arrowhead Stadium.  The Wizards didn't have much success, but still brought excitement to soccer fans in the state.

On the other side of the state, St. Louis DID have an NHL team.  A moderately successful one at that.  Well, I mean they made the playoffs every year, but forgot how to advance past the first round.  The Checkerdome was replaced by the arena with more name changes than Prince and it seemed like they were destined for mediocrity.  However with stars like Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph, and Brendan Shanahan, the team brought hope.  Then they all went elsewhere.  Fortunately the team found a player with some name value to draw in fans.  Wayne Gretzsky brought in the fans, but never brought home the cup.

My nephews taking in a St. Louis Cardinals game.  I believe it was 2011, when they were 10 and 8.

From the age of 10 until the age of 17, sports in Missouri was filled with mostly heartache.  Even the Missouri Tigers brought their share.  The Fifth Down (which I was 9, but I'll allow it), the Flea Kicker, and a field so bad the Rolling Stones had to play a concert so they could replace the turf.  Those were the highlights of the Tigers football team in the early to mid 90s.  Luck started to change when Larry Smith took over and had a QB named Corby Jones and a running back nicknamed "Brocky".  They lead the Tigers to their first good team in years and first bowl appearance in almost 20.  After Brock and Corby left, the magic seemed to run out.  Well, for a while, but I'll get to that later.

In basketball, the Tigers team actually had promise.  Norm Stewart was the steady man that was there forever as coach, and he recruited and created many future NBA players.  They even went undefeated in the Big 8 (which would become the Big 12 a couple years later) and a run for the NCAA Title!  Then freaking Tyus Edney happened, and with that, the bottom fell out.  Norm would retire and it would be a lot of misery and headache for many years before they made noise again.

2011 was the year my other sister Andrea was diagnosed with cervical cancer.  This was on a building across from the hospital on one of her first trips to St. Louis for chemo during the 2011 Playoffs.

Counting the Rams winning the Super Bowl in 2000, and the Wizards claiming the MLS cup in 2000, my teenage years weren't the best as a sports fan.  But things turned around.  Since this is long, I'll shorten it a bit.  The Cardinals started making it to the World Series again and actually won a few.  And the other teams played.

In 2001, my oldest nephew was born.  From his birth to age 10, Cardinals won a World Series and appeared in another, but I don't count it because like my first 10 years, I'm sure he doesn't remember it.  The other sports didn't field any contenders.  However in 2011, things started to turn.  The Cardinals made another World Series run, and won.  in 2013, they would go back, but would fall to the Red Sox.  The next year the Royals were 90 feet away from possibly winning the series but fell to the Giants.  In 2015 though, they would win it all against the Mets.  So while I was alive for the 1985 World Series, I didn't remember it.  When my nephew was 14, he got to see the Royals win it all and his uncle be so excited.

This was a 2015 game I atteneded which a rain delay lasted long enough that my friend and I left.  They ended up winning the game that started about 30 minutes after we left.

Not all was lost, as we explored the Royals Hall of Fame and got to see many great items.

In MLS the team formerly known as the Wizards were now Sporting Kansas City.  While they relocated to Kansas City, Kansas, many fans in Missouri still claimed them.  In 2013 they won the MLS Cup.  If they won when I was 12, I'd be really excited (though they didn't form until I was 14 so there's that).  While the Rams were going through the motions and the Chiefs started the 2010's with a coach who didn't know why he ran plays and a player who would kill his girlfriend then kill himself at the Stadium in front of staff.  So the only team he might have cheered for was the team his grandma rooted for- the Packers.  When he was 10, the Packers won the Super Bowl (well, he was about 2 months shy of 10 but still).  We'll fast forward to now in a bit.

As for Mizzou, they moved to the SEC and actually played in back to back SEC championships (where they didn't fare well) but he got to see the team succeed.  The basketball team had times of brilliance, but have pretty much stumbled throughout the decade.  There was promise when they hired a former assistant under Norm Stewart who had just won the D-II title.  Kim Anderson was a nice guy, but he couldn't keep up with the SEC and was replaced.  Then Cuonzo Martin came in and the Porter brothers were recruited.  Then Michael got hurt and never played a game.  Then his brother got hurt and decided to go pro and went undrafted.  Now they are no better off then when they had Kim.  On the women's side they've had pretty good success and even had a player make it to the WNBA.  Sophie Cunningham is no longer here, but the Women's team are still putting up a fight with nationally ranked teams.

in the 2010's I attended many Mizzou Football games, and then sold programs for a couple years.  I had a lot of fun.

The St. Louis Blues stayed consistent.  They made the playoffs and forgot to advance.  That all changed last year when they finally won a Stanley Cup title.  Something I never seen in my lifetime, but my nephew got to see before he turned 20.

Now last night the Kansas City Chiefs did something they haven't done in 50 years.  Make it to the Super Bowl.  Something I've never seen in my lifetime, but my nephew got to see before he turns 20.

I guess what I'm saying is, my nephews are either good luck charms, or I'm a bit upset my teenage years wasn't as successful in terms of sports as theirs are.  Hey if the Chiefs can win it all, I can deal with that.

Overall, since 2013 every professional sports team from Missouri has made it to the title game of their sport.  With exception to the Rams who moved a a few years ago, but actually DID make it to the Super Bowl last year.  So I can't really complain.  A part of me does like it better this way because maybe I can savor it a little more then I would have in my teenage years.  I should also mention I have two nieces who are a few years younger, so hopefully their teenage years will be filled with more success for Missouri teams.  Maybe at some point the Missouri Tigers can join in with the winning besides just winning in wrestling and track and field.

My excitement for the Chiefs making it to the Super Bowl is much more calmer then when the Royals went to the World Series, but I am pretty excited.  I started blogging at just the right time when the Royals were hot, and it made blogging much more fun.  I know I don't take much time to write these days, but maybe this will spark me to get out my Chiefs cards and do a few posts before the game.  The past decade I went to two Chiefs games, both preseason, and the first two I've ever seen live.  The first NFL game I saw live?  The Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers.  Let's hope the end result will be different than that game.

A photo I took of the 2011 game I saw between the Chiefs and the 49ers.  San Francisco won with a late comeback when all the backups came in.  I'm pretty sure the QB in this photo for San Fran is Colin Kaepernick who I also saw play in college.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.  Also, sorry for the lack of card related content, but I do have some in the works and I need to catch up on some Savvy Loot posts.  Maybe the Chiefs are the spark I need to start writing more.  We'll see.


  1. Lots and lots of Chiefs talk on ESPN radio today. After a while I starting to wonder if they didn't already win the Super Bowl. LOL
    Good luck to your team two weekends from now!

    1. Yeah I've tried to avoid coverage this week, I always hate two weeks of hype. Though next week I'll be all over it and with the Roku will be watching the Kansas City local news.

  2. I can't comment too much on the history of Missouri sports portion of the post, but I love all of the personal history that was shared, especially the photos :)

    1. Sometimes I just like to write in pretty much a rambling style. It also helped that I was sorting my picture folder at the time so I had a few good ones to choose. These type of posts may not get the viewers but I hope the ones that read it enjoy it, I'm glad you did.