Friday, September 26, 2008

Devotion to Bad Teams Borders on Enabling a Bad Relationship

The Attraction
My love affair with the Chiefs began in 1989 when our high school football coach took us to a game in Arrowhead stadium. It was October 22nd, 1989 against the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Potts and one of his assistants were Cowboys fans so we heard all about the Cowboys on the way up. I had a passing interest in the Chiefs in the 80s but up to this point they didn't really ever stand out. Well the Chiefs under first year coach Marty Schottenheimer won that game 36-28 and my love for the Chiefs was born.

The Marriage
All through high school I followed the Kansas City Chiefs led by Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, Dale Carter, Joe Montana, and Marcus Allen. I remember the game in Houston and the playoff win and the subsequent heart-breaking loss in Buffalo the following week. I have watched nearly every game since 1989 the Chiefs have played. Through great wins and heart-breaking playoff losses I watched. I started to assume with Marty at the helm that the playoffs were just something the Chiefs did every year. I took it for granted in the same way I'm sure Atlanta Braves or Yankees fans did when their team went to the playoffs year after year. They were commonly the bridesmaids but never the bride, but I was passionate about them all the same.

Now twenty years after Marty Schottenheimer's first season coaching the Chiefs we are sitting on a twelve consecutive game losing streak. It's the kind of losing I just don't remember from the Chiefs. They were one of the winningest teams in the 90s. They were at least respectable in parts of the 2000s but here we are back to Jack Steadman's Chiefs. Part of me wants it to hit 16 games so that it's a nice even full season.

Everyone knows someone or was/is personally involved in a terrible relationship. The relationship started well but you could always see problems. It's like that significant other that turned out to be an alcoholic or an insecure control freak. When you first met them they were cute, had a good laugh and looked like they were going somewhere. You hooked up and then realized they only have a good laugh when they were drinking. They had serious character flaws like a nasty temper or a penchant for being irreresponsible. You stayed faithful hoping that if you loved them enough they would reward you in turn. You constantly wanted to write them off but then you would convince yourself that it's being unfaithful and they really weren't 'that" bad. I mean there were worse people (teams) out there right? You start coming up with the good things about them trying to convince yourself you see progress.

Jealousy and Anger
There is jealousy in the relationship as you looked around and saw other happy relationships. "Why can't we be happy like that?" you think to yourself. You see long suffering Patriots fans strike it rich with Tom Brady and lucky calls in the snow known as the "tuck" rule. Why can't we get those lucky breaks? I mean instead we get offensive pass interference called on Tony Gonzalez in a playoff game. We get Priest Holmes fumbling in that same Colts game after breaking off a 40 yard run. You see flash in the pan teams like the Falcons do the Dirty Bird and go to the Super Bowl with Jamal Anderson.

You start to question the decisions of your affection. Why didn't they ever develop a quarterback? Why don't they pick up some good defensive players? Why don't they ever do the dishes or keep the hair off the soap?

The Reconciliation
Inevitably you take them back hoping for better days. As a sports fan I get angry at fair weather fans for constantly switching their favorite teams with the direction of the wind. But sometimes I envy them. How do they let go of something so easily? How do they do that and have no remorse? If I give up on the relationship and they go on and win the Super Bowl after I've denounced them then I'll feel like a foolish traitor. However, if I stick with them and watch them I'm rewarding the team with good TV ratings for bad behavior. It's like your significant other does something bad and you tell them they are sleeping on the couch only to let them back in the bed after an hour or two. Will they ever learn that way?

I know, I know I'm being over-dramatic but keep in mind as a Kansas City Chiefs and Royals fan I haven't seen a win in the playoffs since 1993. I was a senior in high school. I haven't seen the Royals GO to the playoffs since 1985. The Chiefs were the one part of the Kansas City sports scene that I looked forward to. Now my weekend is filled with dread of not if we are going to lose but by how much.

Someone tell me when it is healthy to let go of the relationship and move on.

1 comment:

Bishwa said...

"Someone tell me when it is healthy to let go of the relationship and move on."

You could go with 3 different teams.

Mature Team- The good ole team that is always in competition, when a part of the team starts looking old they perk it up with a bit of youth.

Budding Youth Team- The team that is just coming into form, all new parts and will be in good shape for a wile.

F.I.L.F (Franchise I like Favorably- That team that has everything perfect, everything is in the right place and works in perfect harmony with each other.