Good evening, Addicts.
We are right smack in the middle of my favorite time of the year, 4th of July season. I love everything about it, from shooting and watching fireworks, to taking the boat out on the lake for some fishing, and of course just time with family. I’ve been out camping since Sunday morning with minimal service and have been enjoying the lack of responsibility. However, like always, my mind has been on the Chiefs. Instead of counting down every hour until training camp, though, I’ve reminisced about some of my favorite Chiefs memories from my past.
Being out with extended family leads to those awkward conversations about other family gatherings from years past, those being the only time you’ve been around this specific third cousin and their children. Talking about all those years ago led me back to childhood, and from the aspect of a Chiefs fan it was a glorious childhood. I was blessed to go the multiple games a year for many years, and as a child it felt like every game I went to was an important one. Specifically, I remember going to the game in which the late Derrick Thomas was honored, and also the game against the Giants after the 9/11 tragedy.
As a young first grader, the look on my parents’ faces during the moment of silence will live with me forever, even if I couldn’t fully comprehend the gravity of the situation. I was lucky enough to witness Dante Hall take a return back for a touchdown, right at the end zone I was sitting at. My tiny little “X Factor” sign was drowned out by all the taller adults, but nevertheless I made sure all the people sitting even remotely close to me knew that I had worn my lucky Dante Hall jersey, and that was probably why he was able to score. Throughout all of those games, however, my favorite game to be a part of was the last game of the 2005-2006 season, which was also the last game of Dick Vermeil’s coaching career.
In and of itself, the game wasn’t that extraordinary. Just another regular season game against an AFC opponent, in this case the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs ran away with the game, pulling out a 37-3 win. However, it was the setting of the game that cements it in my memory. I grew up worshiping Dick Vermeil. His high powered offenses were great to watch, and he had won one Super Bowl already, so why couldn’t he win for us too? Besides that, although we had struggled throughout the season, we still had a shot at the playoffs. All we had to do coming into the game was win and have the Lions pull out a win against the Steelers. Going into the game, I was already excited as we had scored great seats, my parents sitting a few rows back behind me while I had a front row seat right behind the end zone. At that point in my life, I couldn’t think of a single thing better than getting a front row seat to a Chiefs game. I screamed my heart out the entire game. I remember going crazy when Larry Johnson, the young running back prodigy (ugh, I hated typing that) scored each one of his three touchdowns for the day. He also rushed for over 200 yards, and Trent Green threw for over 300. That loud mouth Chad Johnson (not OchoCinco yet) was effectively shut down, not even having 60 receiving yards.
Throughout the game, I was boisterous and loud and had one of the best times of my life. One person next to me had a cell phone that could get online and check the scores of the Steelers-Lions game, and I glued myself next to him. Even when I had realized that we wouldn’t be making the playoffs, my spirits didn’t waver at all. Even without the opportunity for our season to continue into the post season, I shouted as loud as I could manage for the remainder of the game. And one important moment I doubt I’ll ever forget is that last chant. “One More Year” rang out throughout all of Arrowhead, our last symbol of respect for Vermeil as he ended his journey through the coaching ranks.
During this time of year where families tend to get together and reminisce, I couldn’t help but remember back to all my favorite memories with my other family: all of Chiefs Nation. Because at the end of the day, the Sea of Red is just a large, loud family. So, Addicts, while getting ready for barbecues and good times, what are some of your favorite memories of a place where barbecues and good times happen nearly weekly? Happy 4th of July and stay safe!