Aug 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader performs before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 27-17. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Arrowhead Survivor!

You have watched the show. A team of willing participant thrown into hostile environments, represented to be ill equipped for the season long adventures ahead. I watched it for awhile and eventually lost interest.

But it reminded me of  adventures long ago.

We didn’t call it “Survivor” back then. We didn’t really have a name for it at all. We just kind of showed up  and did it.

The rules were fairly simple.

1. No food. None. Nada. No food since lunch the day before. Beer was fine though. It was the weekend after all.

2. No money .  No plastic.  Nothing to use for bartering purposes either.

3. One ticket to Arrowhead Stadium

The game was simple.  Hook up with some tailgaters, score free food and hooch, then enjoy an afternoon of Kansas City Chiefs football. All for the price of a ticket and 1/6 of the price of a parking pass.

The idea was to show up as early as they would let us in the damn place, after all we were starving youth. We parked, scattered after  high fives, war chants, and a sketchy plan of meeting back at the vehicle sometime that evening. (None of our seats were ever together, they were cheaper that way).

This may sound like a risky plan to anyone who has never experienced tailgating at Arrowhead. But Arrowhead Adventurers know that relying on the kindness of strangers is no risk at all in the greatest NFL stadium in the world.

Some of us developed elaborate schemes. Schemes that were usually abandoned pretty quickly as the players found out how easy it was to score.

A guy might spend the whole morning with one bunch, or move from group to group. Swapping stories,  football talk, and scamming on the long legged ladies.  Stretched out under the warm, clear , fall, northwest Missouri skies we could not imagine life being better.

Beer, BBQ, Bratwurst.

Escape  from our class schedules and eventual nine to fives.

Just being free.

My Arrowhead Survivor Days are long gone. As are my class schedules and single days. Times I look back on fondly, but wouldn’t go back to.

Thanks to Arrowhead , for the most part, I don’t have to.

For eight Sundays a year those same tailgaters gather .

Eight Sundays a year I can smell that indescribable smell of grilling meats and hickory smokes.

My ticket to the stadium lets me in to see the game, but my parking pass gives me license , if only for an afternoon, to be that  college student that showed up all those years ago without a care in the world . Full of hope for a fresh start in both the season and our lives.

It has been said that a person “can’t go home”.

True for the most part. With one exception.

You can always go home to Arrowhead Stadium.





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