Aug 26, 2011; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders perform during a time out in the first half of the game against the St. Louis Rams at Arrowhead Stadium. The Rams won 14-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Not All Who Wander Are Lost


Preseason is around the corner. A much ignored, little respected time of the year for many NFL fans.

But not this one.

Your Arrowhead Adventurer is one of the few fans that looks forward to the preseason.

Sure, it’s a way to stick it to the season ticket holder. Preseason tickets cost as much as regular season tickets, and to be a season ticket holder you are required to buy the damn things.

Trying to resell them is fruitless– you’re lucky to get ten bucks for an eighty dollar ticket.

So while many give them away or leave them in the drawer, your Arrowhead Adventurer makes the trek to Arrowhead year after year to witness these glorified training sessions.

And I have fun.

The first home preseason game usually falls around the week of my birthday, so my girlfriend and I make a weekend of it in Kansas City. (I’ve mentioned before that Arrowhead and I share the same birthday, so we celebrate together.)

Most of the time, the second one is an event I tackle on my own.

By this time the excitement of the appearance of football at Arrowhead has worn off, and the reality of what the fan witnesses comes to light.

I like to go to this game by myself to explore Arrowhead. Nobody to entertain, no football to miss, no parking mess. Just me and my favorite place on earth.

A wise man once said “Not all who wander are lost.”  A fine theme, I think for my second preseason adventure.

I’ll get there early and wander around the parking lot. If someone is cooking something good I’ll ask them for a taste and they will happily oblige. I’ll sit for awhile if it’s good and share my thoughts on the upcoming season.

As a tailgating expert, I’ll provide them with an honest assessment of their culinary skills and move on.

If Warpaint and that pretty girl that rides her is walking around, I’ll wander over and chat. I’ll remind them both that we chatted at the draft party. They won’t remember but at least the pretty girl will pretend she did.

Priest Holmes might be there, in the ATT Cellular booth signing autographs. I’ll walk around the line amidst scowls and tell him I remember seeing the last play he ever made at Arrowhead.

He will smile that million dollar Priest Holmes smile and I will move on.

During the game I’ll walk around to nearly every part of Arrowhead. I’ll walk around the museum displays and trade stories with fans from around the country and the world.

I’ll go to that section that is right behind the players and make suggestions for the upcoming season to Romeo himself. He will hear me but pretend he doesn’t and some of the players will smile.

I’ll wander around the concessions checking the menus to see if there will be any new offerings for the 2012 season. I’ll ask if I can sample some of it.  Sometimes I’ll get at taste and sometimes I won’t.

I’ll make my yearly trek to the farthest, highest corner of Arrowhead, then I will lean over the wall and look out on the lights of Kansas City.

I’ll leave the game early, a perfect time to wander around the outside of Arrowhead before I hit the road. I’ve got a long drive home.

I’ll look for curious doors and ask security where they go. I’ll ask them how long they have worked here and if there is anything secret they can share about the place. Sometimes I’ll get little tidbits, sometimes I won’t.

Then I’ll check out grill setups as they are left to cool.

I’ll wander back to my car and head home eventually, I’ll glance in the rear view and watch Arrowhead get smaller and smaller as I leave her behind.

I don’t know for sure, but I believe I will have a lot more optimism that in past years as I head out on I-70.

How about you?