KC Expatriates (not ex Patriots)
This is a bonus post from Big Matt. Enjoy. Also, be sure to turn in later today for Robert’s 2nd column.
As some of you know, I am not a Kansas City resident. I was born and raised in KC, but much like my esteemed colleague Mr. Allen, I currently hang my hat in The Big Apple. I live life in the fast lane (psych) and only dine at the finest restaurants (ate oatmeal twice today). But in terms of sports, my heart is in the heartland and it always will be.
When I first started blogging about the Chiefs, I conceitedly assumed I was a rarity. “Who else but me would be so loyal as to blog about a team he left behind?”, I smugly self-congratulated. “I really am a great fan; and thus, a cool guy.” As it turned out, all of those ill-informed sentiments were incorrect (especially the cool guy part). Ridiculously so. The KC sports blogosphere is littered with expats. And not just expats, but some who have never lived in KC.
There is no better example of this than here at AA. Not only are me and Paddy holdin’ down the east coast, but we’ve got Jeremy manning the west. Coast to coast Chiefs coverage! Arrowhead Pride founder Chris Thorman and his glorious mustache reside in Austin, the city Arrowhead Addict co-founder Adam Best also calls home.
And its not just Chiefs bloggers. There are Royals writers all over the place. Rany lives in Chicago, Royalscentricity’s Josh Duggan is also in Austin (sister city?), and Fangraphs’ Matt Klaassen and Jeff Zimmerman live in Toronto and Tuscon, respectively. Royals Review front man Will McDonald, my favorite Royals blogger, and probably my favorite blogger period, is a DC resident.
What am I getting at with all this name-dropping? Not much. I just think its cool that there are so many great writers all over the country writing about the teams I love. It got me thinking about the sports fan expat experience in general, and how different it is to root for your team when you’re behind enemy lines. Living in a city is the best way to learn about its fans. For my part, I can say that I identify much more with Jets fans than Giants fans. The Jets have more of a “lovable loser” vibe, and that’s pretty easy to get behind. We can commiserate. But its not just that. I’ve found Giants fans to be wanting in a number of ways. Arrogant (probably due to the recent Super Bowl win that the city as a whole really didn’t seem to care much about), fair weather, and often not that knowledgeable. I thought they had an interesting draft, so I’ve tried to bring it up in conversations several times. As soon as I mention the name Linval Joseph their eyes go blank. If we’d drafted Joseph I’d have a tracking device on him by now.
For the past two years, I’ve watched virtually every Chiefs game at the Red Star, a sports bar near my house. My neighborhood is full of people who moved to New York to pursue some sort of artistic endeavor, so there are always a wide variety of fans in attendance. This has given me the opportunity to make snap-judgments about several cities using only a handful of their inhabitants. Fair? No. Something I do? Most definitely. The following are my most notable results:
Chicago- Like I said, I’m at this bar every week. I’m always loud, I’m always dressed up, and by midseason I’m often alone. Everyone there knows I live and die with my Chiefs. Since the Chiefs have won 6 of 32 games since I’ve lived here, I am sometimes sent pity beers by fans of other teams. I’ve been hooked up twice by Bears fans, two different groups. The first time I looked over and they all raised their glasses to me. That felt pretty awesome. I was flyin’ solo that week. We lost 34-10.
Washington- You’d think fans of a team that’s always bad would have a little sympathy for Chiefs fans. My only encounter with Redskins fans was when a few of them sat behind me, noticed my Dale Carter jersey, and immediately one of them said, “The Chiefs have fans?”, and they all shared a good guffaw. Sure, we lost that week. But so did they. I don’t think fans of a team with Jason “Cam” Campbell at quarterback should be laughing at anyone.
You hear that, Raiders fans? Your quarterback is bad and boring. At least Jamarcus Russell was funny. Man, was he funny. I’d be in favor of bringing him in as a 3rd stringer just for the laughs. Imagine him sitting on the sideline with barbecue sauce all over his face. Tell me that image isn’t worth a roster spot.
New England- I’m certainly no fan of the Patriots, let me make that abundantly clear. I came here ready to hate on Pats fans. But the fact is I’ve had several positive experiences with them. They seem to be pulling for us a little. I guess that’s to be expected, what with the Chiefs being the Patriots’ little brother and all. I mean, I bet huge Sylvester Stallone fans have a soft spot for Frank Stallone, too. Whatever the reason, Pats fans have been cool to me. One time my group agreed to switch tables with some Pats fans (a move that was mutually beneficial) and they immediately sent us a round of shots. I needed them. It was during one of the games we lost to the Raiders.
Buffalo- I’ve always wanted to like Buffalo fans. I even feel sorry for them. The Bills are all they’ve got, and that must be hard. They don’t even have a terrible baseball team to offer succor in the summertime. Buffalo is also a small-market, and a city I’m vaguely interested in. Plus my boy Kawika Mitchell plays there. So yeah, that’s a team I’ve been inclined to root for.
Unfortunately, I‘ve been privy to some reprehensible behavior by Buffalo fans. They’ve been aggressive and disrespectful. When we played the Bills in 2008, I was sitting next to a group of about 10 of them. We got slaughtered that game. When we gave up the last touchdown, the screen flashed the message that the Chiefs had set a franchise record for most points allowed. I immediately stood up and started doing the chop. It was pretty obvious I was making fun of myself, but for some reason these people got pissed. When the game was over they all did the chop at me in mockery. It was weird. They must’ve been really dumb. I haven’t felt the same about Bills fans since.
San Diego– I’ve met numerous Chargers fans here, and they all seem mellow and friendly. I guess I would be too if I’d grown up around beautiful people and perfect weather. San Diego has had a good team for a while, too. But I’ll tell you what they don’t have: a bunch of players from LSU.
Denver- I once sidled up to a Broncos fan’s wings and devoured them while he and his girlfriend looked on. They told on me. I had to buy them a new order. I’d still like to think I won somehow.
I know we’ve got some Addicts far from the motherland, so what about you? How have you been received by your city’s fans? Any tip-of-the-caps or wag-of-the-fingers to hand out?