This weekend was one I’d been looking forward to for some time, Addicts.
My friend Lance was flying in from Chicago and we were going to see what kind of trouble we could get into for the weekend. Arrowhead is a great way to keep in touch with old pals and this was an old pal I hadn’t seen in ten years.
The weather Sunday had been predicted to be in the 30’s but it had miraculously warmed up into the mid-seventies, perfect game weather. We found our seats, and without much delay the cheerleaders I’ve mentioned before worked their way up to our aisle and took their usual seats to my left.
I’d gotten to know the very cute blonde and our eyes met and we smiled. She told me she was glad to see me and I had to admit I felt the same way.
She grabbed my hand and I felt the warm sun on my face. Lance handed me a nice fresh beer and I felt an indescribable contentment. Though Arrowhead was about my favorite place on earth, so much of a great weekend has to do with the people you enjoy it with.
“It doesnt get any better than this” I told Lance, but soon found out that it indeed could when I felt soft lips whisper something indecipherable in my ear. I turned to my left and the breathless blonde cheerleaders lips gently touched mine.
She shyly pulled away, smiled again, then let go of her inhibitions and came in for another.
I felt myself falling hard.
A good two feet I figured, as I picked myself off the floor and crawled back into bed at the Hilton Garden Inn in KC.
Maybe it hadn’t all been a dream this time, maybe the cheerleader was here? But as I surveyed the room, just Lance in the other bed and no cheerleader in mine. Dreams can be like a great party, fun while you’re there. Oh well, time to blow this taco stand and onto Arthur Bryant’s.
I’ll always argue that Arthur Bryant’s is the best BBQ joint in the world. Hundreds of fans on game day regularly gather to eat in or take out as they say.
Lance was ready for some football on the parking lot until they opened, what a surprise when we finally arrived. The parking lot was empty.
“Hundreds?” he said.
Lance laughed, and I laughed with him but the deeper truth was that it hurt to see what game day at Arthur Bryant’s had become.
We played some catch and marveled that we didn’t need coats, the sun was shining and the temps were in the mid-sixties. It’s never like that this time of year in Chicago. We set up chairs on the lot and eventually a van stopped with Chiefs fans and we all talked and played catch until AB’s finally opened the doors.
We spoke to some Bolts fans. Some were from San Diego, some weren’t but all were more excited about the “Arrowhead Experience” than the game itself. You could see the excitement and expectations in their eyes as they spoke of the crowds, the music, the food and the fun.
I wanted to tell them not to go. This is no longer the Arrowhead of legend.
The warm temps were fading, so we set up our table and chairs and my portable heater on Arrowhead’s parking lot and relaxed until game time. I surveyed the crowd and you could feel Arrowheads lack of excitement.
People grill but no real laughter. They play catch but with no real interest. No more music. No more dancing. No more joy.
We weren’t able to buy beer that early in the morning so Lance went next door and asked if he could buy one from the group across the aisle. They refused to take his money and told him to help himself. He grabbed one but they quickly took it back and gave him one that was cold.
As he drank his beer the cook of that group trotted next door and asked for some lighter fluid. They tossed him a fresh bottle with barely a glance, and the tradition of giving went on.
At least the Arrowhead generosity is still there. It reminds you of the good in the world, and that is something you can’t put a price on.
We found my old familiar seats and soon a cute group of four female Bolts fans made their way to the aisle behind us.
I have always found Charger fans to be like Saints fans, a true pleasure to have in your section and this game was no different. They politely cheered when the Bolts made a play, and we returned the favor when the Chiefs scored.
I surveyed the stadium and it was more than half empty at half time. I have never seen that before.
Lance didn’t say anything about that but once again I felt that growingly familiar hurt.
Nobody that I spoke to felt like giving me the usual “Arrowhead Opinions” they were cold and miserable
even though the team was playing well.
The game was going great but the temperature was dropping fast and by the middle of the third quarter
we were freezing our butts off, the temperature had fallen almost 40 degrees so we worked our way to the
bottom deck to warm up.
We watched from the sidelines until the two-minute warning satisfied that the game was won. Lance needed to get back to the airport. Back at the car I was comforted to see that the portable heater I had left to cool by the car was still there as were many other expensive grills and other equipment left out by the other fans.
Arrowheaders are a trustingworthy lot.
On the way to drop Lance off at the airport we were shocked when we turned on the radio and heard about the loss.
In Herm’s post game interview he was asked “With an empty stadium and a loss like this, do you fear for your job?” “You suck it up and prepare for the next game” he said. or something like that. It was something I’d heard ad nauseum so many times before. But the difference was the abruptness the question was presented.. I hadn’t heard that before.
Maybe that’s how Herm does it but I can’t do it anymore.
We shook hands and Lance has promised to come back for a December game next year, as has every single person that has attended a game with me this season, I’ve been to I think twelve in all. These Chiefs fans are still loyal and so am I.
My nephew is flying in from Seattle and we plan on going up for the Miami game. He has never been to Arrowhead and is excited about the prospect of it, he’s heard all the great stories and wants to experience it for himself.
I have to tell you, Addicts, I don’t want him to go.
The reason has nothing to do with a team that’s rebuilding or a loss today that’s unpardonable.
It has to do with a phenomenon born in the sixties that’s lasted forty years. A phenomenon that’s fading away.
Arrowhead has become something to do instead of the thing to do.
For years people came to Arrowhead because of the stories and the parties and the food and the people.
They came because of the stories they were told and the articles that they read and the pictures that they saw.
And it might be just be for those very reasons they will stop. No wait CARL GOT FIRED!!!