This time of year is typically a visual feast for the average sports fan. Our television sets are filled with playoff hockey, late season basketball that will determine which teams get into the playoffs and early season baseball that will help fans begin to determine how high or low their expectations. Just remember, Royals fans, there are so many games in a given baseball season that even the potential eventual defending world champions of baseball are going to have cold and hot streaks.
So I must be a bad sports fan, or at least one with too narrow of a scope, because I’m sitting here anxiously awaiting the NFL draft and wishing for football to come back. Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs started out the season looking like they were going to provide another disappointing season in Kansas City sports history. They rallied and won 10 games in a row to finish the regular season and secured a wild card spot in the playoffs. They shut out the Houston Texans in Houston to the tune of 30 to nothing to secure their first playoff win in more than two decades but ultimately were eliminated from the playoffs by the New England Patriots. As if Chiefs fans needed more reason to loathe the Patriots.
Most fans are probably expecting similar results for the upcoming football season. Maybe a wild card, maybe an AFC West championship, but mostly just a season of hard fought games. Things started to look bad when star Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston, a major piece of the fierce Kansas City defense, had knee surgery in mid-February. But a recent Instagram post let the fans and everybody else know he’s ahead of schedule with his rehab and might be able to salvage most if not all of his regular season.
If Kansas City had a professional basketball team it might make me care a little more about the NBA. I know the owners and managers of venues like The Silverstein Eye Centers Arena and the Sprint Center are always trying to lure in teams to use their facilities. The Sprint Center has hosted preseason basketball and is frequently mentioned as one of the nicest venues in the country that doesn’t host an NBA team full-time. Kansas City sports fans are nothing if not loyal, even when the going gets tough.
Many of my friends jumped onto the Oklahoma City Thunder bandwagon when the Seattle Supersonics changed their name and moved within 400 miles of Kansas City. Of course they probably didn’t realize that if your starting point is Sedalia then the Memphis Grizzlies have actually been the closest NBA team since they moved from Vancouver to Tennessee in 2001. But I guess the “new” team is always going to draw new fans.
Hockey is significantly less boring than baseball. Of course, just about any televised event is less boring than baseball. I will never understand how anyone sits through a whole game of non-playoff baseball on their television. It’s slightly better in person, but only if you’ve been enjoying America’s beverage while watching America’s pastime.
As far as the St. Louis Blues go, it is definitely interesting to see they’ve drawn the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs and that the Chicago-St. Louis sports rivalry continues to burn white hot. I guess they’re my team by default, but despite the fact that I should like hockey I just can’t. Maybe some day.
There was at least one person in my life that had serious hopes that a Royals championship run would ignite my passion for baseball, like every Missourian is a natural baseball fan that just needs the right spark to embark on their baseball fan career. That didn’t happen. I might be a bad Royals fan, because I think I hate the St. Louis Cardinals more than I like the Royals. Win another World Series this year and we’ll talk.
Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.