The thing about being a baseball “widow” is that the season lasts almost all year. Spring training begins in February and the World Series often doesn’t conclude until the last gasps of October, sometimes even early November.
Most of our favorite Missouri teams’ games are televised, which means six or more months of sitting in front of the television watching a game that moves along at a snail’s pace. Not that I’m really complaining – as you know, I’ve been a Royals fan for decades and followed their explosive season almost non-stop last year.
Football season, of course, doesn’t last nearly as long, and not all local games are televised. If I get lucky, the Chiefs are on television only once a week, although the NFL has been making money for several years on Monday and Thursday nights, too. This week, the Chiefs played and were televised both Sunday and Thursday. I was too busy Sunday to watch the game, but Thursday night is almost a weekend night for me. I take my mother to various appointments most Fridays, leaving Saturday as my only real day off. So I was able to watch the game.
Max and I started cooking dinner Thursday when the NFL started its pre-Chiefs-game blather. I marvel at how long the talking heads can continue yapping about absolutely nothing and say so little. But over the past year or so, I pay a little more attention to the talking heads – generally because Tony Gonzalez is now one of them.
Tony Gonzalez retired as an Atlanta Falcon, but as far as I’m concerned, he is and will forever be a Kansas City Chief. Wikipedia – and I never use Wikipedia as a source, but how can they mess this up? – says this: “ … He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft. Gonzalez, a 14-time Pro Bowl selection, currently holds the NFL records for receptions (1,325), touchdown receptions (111) and total receiving yards (15,127) by a tight end. Gonzalez was also known for his durability, missing only two games in his seventeen-year career… ” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Gonzalez_[American_football]).
Not only that, he is drop-dead gorgeous.
I know this last piece because I saw him, up close and personal, when I was with Emily on the Kansas City Country Club Plaza for some reason. Perhaps we were shopping for something – shoes? – but I really don’t remember. She was 14 or so, that age when whatever I said was wrong and incredibly embarrassing.
We had just crossed 47th Street when a black Cadillac Escalade pulled up to a parking spot. I was concentrating on getting across the street without getting hit, and Emily, ever the observant artist, said, “Mom, that’s Tony Gonzalez.” I looked, and she was right. Tony Gonzalez was driving the car.
If I’ve learned one thing in these past 62 years, it’s this: if you don’t ask for something, you’re probably not going to get it. I decided that I was going to get Tony Gonzalez’s autograph. So I turned on my heel and sprinted back across 47th Street, dodging traffic, with Emily dragging at my leg, yelling, “Mom! Stop! Mom! Stop!” She was horrified.
I didn’t really care that I was embarrassing my child. I was going to get Tony Gonzalez’s autograph.
I approached the car and saw that the driver’s window was down. I said, “Mr. Gonzalez, my daughter, who loves you, will love me forever if I can give her your autograph.” Emily, right behind me, was hanging her head, moaning, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!”
He grinned and laughed, and then turned to one of the two women in the car and asked for a pen. He signed a piece of paper, and then he thanked me for asking. One of the women said, “How cute that she wants his autograph!” By this time, they could see Emily, who had lifted her head a little and was looking hopeful.
They waved and were on their way. Emily and I strolled back across 47th Street, and she said, “Mom, that was great!”
I needed nothing else.
Deborah Mitchell is a a local attorney and a Municipal Court Judge.