Chiefs 2013 Season: Success or Failure?

It’s been 72 hours since the Chiefs spectacular loss in the playoffs to the Indianapolis Colts.  I’ve heard this game sliced and diced so many ways by pundits, fans, Sports Talk Radio Guys, Twitterati, and everything in between.  Through all that I’m just now deciding on how I should feel about it, other than it sucks.  My first thought was this game is a perfect example of why you should limit how much emotional energy you spend on a bunch of dudes you don’t know who play a game for a living, who don’t even live in the city they “represent”. 

I would like to take the stance that a year ago this team was 2-14 and was looking for new leadership; that I should just be happy with improvement.  I might feel that way except for two things.  We went down this path in 2010 and I was happy with improvements and taking steps forward.  Except instead of steps forward the organization turned into a clown show that lead to a lot of office cleaning in the Chiefs front office.  At least that infamous candy wrapper finally got picked up….I’m assuming.  The other reason I won’t just be satisfied with improvements is THEY WERE UP 28 POINTS IN THE 2nd HALF OF A PLAYOFF GAME AND LOST!  

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Sorry, I can’t excuse that.  Even though, if you follow my twitter feed you’d know I wasn’t buying in until the game went final, and it turns out, those fears were justified.  Granted injuries and bad bounces played a part in the loss.  However, it was the same old Chiefs doing the same old Chiefs things.  Poor play calling, lack of adjustments, and poor tackling adds another dreadful tale Chiefs and Royals fans can add to their tales of historical shittyness and amazing choke jobs.

Was this season a success or failure for the Chiefs?  I say this question remains unanswered.  If the front office can take steps forward next year with better players and better play calling; I think you can look back on this season as a success in that the improvements were a means to an end.  If this is a repeat of 2010 and it’s just luck and a weak schedule then it’s another failure by the organization.  And if that’s the case, maybe I should stop using emotional energy on an organization that I don’t have any personal connections, and the people within that organization aren’t even from the city they represent. 

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Books! My Top 5

I was asked on Facebook to list my five favorite books. I know this is off topic for what I want to be a sports blog; but I need the content, and I can’t just throw out a list like that without some explanations. If you ask me this same question next week I may give you three different titles. Only my top two would be constant. Here is the list, they are in order.

#5. Wingman #4: Thunder In The East by Mack Maloney

This book has no redeeming literary or moral value. It’s book #4 in the Wingman Series that I read when I was a teenager. The Wingman Series is about a guy who has the last remaining F-16 after America loses World War III and his attempt to bring the nation back together. It’s pure pulp, but it’s a fun little book that I’ve read several times. If that doesn’t convince you to read it, read it because the book starts in a place called Football City where a 24 hours football game takes place.

#4. Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger

Of course the only non-fiction book on my list is about High School Football. This book has influenced a movie and a TV Series. Bissinger makes it read like a novel. As a former mediocre high school football player I found a lot of things that I could identify with in this book. There were also a lot of other things just blew my mind.

#3. Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy

The more I think about this book the more reasons I find to admire it’s genius. It’s a long read, the copy I had was over 900 pages, and it’s much different than the movie with the same title. A part of the Jack Ryan Series; it’s a perfect blend of Cold War and domestic terrorist threat written at a time when one was transitioning to the other. This book was written 10 years before the proliferation of the internet, yet features a tense scene between Ryan and the Soviet President chatting through a computer.

#2. Centennial by James Michener

Believe it or not this is second time I have mentioned this book on this blog. One of the characters doesn’t like college football very much. Anyway, This is one of those that I wasn’t real sure about when I started it, but it grew on me as I read on. It’s about the part of Colorado no one goes to visit, take pictures of, or write songs about…the high plains. It starts 200 million years ago and ends in the 1970’s. If you want to have your perspective of the passage of time changed, and get deeper into the history of the plains…this is the book for you.

#1. Last of The Breed by Louis L’Amour

My favorite genres to read are Westerns and spy-techno-thrillers. Last of the Breed is a perfect combination of those two genres. A US Spy Plane is shot down over Siberia in the mid-1980’s. The pilot successfully ejects and finds himself in the vast Siberian wilderness. He’s also native American. It just so happens the KGB Colonel in charge of finding him is a descendant from a native tribe of Siberia. Their ancestors once battled each other and now these two will do battle again. It’s a classic man-vs-man, man-vs-environment story, and it’s awesome. In fact, the next time the Chiefs are in a playoff game I’ll read this book instead of watching.

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The Pit Stop

I haven’t updated this site in almost six months. The reasons are many. One of those reasons is I have been using the little writing time I get to try my hand at writing fiction. Below is my first crack at a short story. I hope you enjoy it.

“Maddawg” Mike McDowell walked into a sports bar called The Penalty Box in Clayton, NM. He paused just inside the door to let his eyes adjust to the darkness after being out in the bright sunlight. The place was deserted, there were more televisions playing a football game between the Minnesota Norwegians and the New Orleans Padres than there were people. The only souls in the place were the bartender and a waitress. It was just after noon on a Sunday in November. Maddawg, as he liked to call himself, was a little surprised. Back home a bar would be packed with rabid Chicago Grizzlies fans about this time.

Maddawg took a seat at the bar. After a few moments the bartender with a receding hair line and a pony tail moved down the bar to Maddawg’s location. While putting a cardboard Miller Lite coaster down on the bar he asked; “What can I get you?”

“Got anything on special?” Maddawg answered with a question.

“Depends on how long you’re staying?” the bartender said.

“How does that work?” Maddawg asked,

“Well, right now all draft beers are $1.50 and they stay that way until the late game is over. They go up to full price, $3, during Football Night in America, and back down to a $1 when Sunday Night Football starts. We close after that. It’s Sunday you know?” The bartender explained.

“That’s a little complex, do you charge a personal seat license, too?” Maddawg asked.

“Now you’re giving me ideas. $1 for a barstool, $5 for a table.” The bartender said while he winked and smiled at his only customer. The banter referring to professional and college sports teams charging money to season ticket holders just to maintain their seat in the stadium or arena, before they even charge for the actual tickets. Maddawg smiled and rolled his eyes.

“I guess I’ll take a Bud Light.” Maddawg said.

“Great, I’ll get that for you. Will you be eating too?” the bartender asked while grabbing a menu from underneath the bar. Maddawg nodded yes and the bartender handed him the menu and moved away to pour the beer.

After a few minutes the bartender brought his beer and Maddawg decided on twenty wings and a second beer. “Say, do you have NFL Sunday Ticket here? I’d like to watch the Grizzlies.” Maddawg asked.

The bartender’s face developed a sour expression for a split second before he grabbed the remote and changed the game over to the Grizzlies playing the Tampa Bay Pirates at Soldier Field in Chicago. “I take it you’re a Grizzlies Fan?” The bartender asked.

“Yes, been that way since I knew what a football was. I used to have season tickets until I started travelling a lot for my business.” Maddawg said.

“hmm, that’s unfortunate. You’ve had a rough go of it lately. At least no one can accuse you of being a bandwagon fan.” The bartender said.

“Indeed, it didn’t used to be like that though. It was great until the son of bitch Stacy Luke threw that interception in the Super Bowl against the Warriors.” Maddawg said as he got a little excited.

During the 2002 Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXXVII; the Chicago Grizzlies were down by four against the Kansas City Warriors during the closing minutes of the game. The Grizzlies were on the Warrior’s six yard line with nine seconds to go. Grizzlies quarterback Stacy Luke threw to a receiver in the corner of the end zone only to be intercepted by a Warriors Safety who ran the ball out of the end zone. Once the Safety noticed there were zeros on the clock he ran out of bounds and sealed the victory for the Warriors.

Describing this game as heartbreak for the Grizzlies and their fans was an understatement. The Grizzlies went 14-2 that season and were the overwhelming favorites to win the Super Bowl going into the playoffs. Stacy Luke had authored a spectacular season, passing for over 4000 yards in a time when that was unheard of. The Kansas City Warriors on the other hand had a regular season record of 9-7, and snuck into the playoffs as a Wild Card via an obscure tie breaker. No one outside of Kansas City thought the Warriors should have been in the playoffs, and they most certainly didn’t want them in the Super Bowl. But Warriors walked away with a Lombardi Trophy and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Grizzlies Fans took the loss pretty hard. Despite being one of the leagues best quarterbacks Stacy Luke was harassed unmercifully by Grizzlies Fans, egged on by some in Chicago sports radio. While the majority of the fans understood that it was just a game a vocal minority made their voices heard. It even went so far as to put For Sale signs in Luke’s front yard. One fan even followed his wife to the grocery. An event that spurred National debate about how far was too far for fans to go in their fandom. By Wednesday after the Super Bowl Stacy Luke had had enough and he walked away from football and left $25 million dollars and two years remaining on a contract. Despite the proliferation of social media during the ten years since then; neither Stacy nor his family has been heard from since.

“You know, the Grizzlies haven’t had a quarterback better than Luke since you guys ran him out of town.” The bartender pointed out after pondering for a moment.

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right. But that whole things still makes me mad. What kind of name is Stacy for a guy anyway?” Maddawg said.

“If a guy was a quarterback in the NFL, he can call himself whatever he wants to be called. What makes you mad? The interception, the fact that Luke quit football, or the reason Luke quit football?” the bartender asked.

“All of it I guess? That Super Bowl was there for the Grizzlies and they blew it. It’s the last time any of us have had anything to cheer about.” Maddawg said.

“Yes, I’m sure been tough for all of you. But that’s what fans do. They stick with their team right?” the bartender said.

“Damn, straight!” Maddawg said.

“Look guy, I got to get your wings going, I’ll be right back.” The bartender said. Maddawg nodded in acknowledgement and the bartender left.

Maddawg sat and watched the Grizzlies game evolve into a defensive struggle. He got out his cell phone and checked Twitter. He followed many Grizzlies fans like himself and he wanted to see what they were saying about the game against the Pirates. The mood among the Grizzlies Fans was foul in the twittersphere like it had been since there were enough Grizzly fans on Twitter for the group to take on a life of its own. Maddawg couldn’t think of anything to original to say. Instead of actually commenting on the game he thumbed out a tweet from his handle @Grizdawg85: This is all Stacy Luke’s Fault. #grizzlies

The wings and second beer arrived and Maddawg put his phone away. It was hard to tweet and eat wings at the same time. Grease and wings sauce would cover the phone other wise. As much as Maddawg wanted to stay in the bar, drink, and watch football all day he needed to get to Sante Fe for a Sports Memorabilia Trade Show. He finished his meal and requested his check. “leaving so soon?” the bartender asked.

“Yeah, I need to get to Santa Fe and get set up. Got a trade show this week.” Maddawg answered.

“Well, good luck. Next time you’re in Clayton. Stop by.” The bartender said.

“No problem.” And with that Maddawg got up and left the bar.

Maddawg realized he had a big problem when he got to his Suburban parked on Main Street right in front of the bar. He had locked his keys inside. Maddawg broke out into a light sweat as he tried all the doors in the fading hopes that the electronic locks had failed to lock one of them. No such luck. Not sure what to do, he went back inside the bar. Looking like a lost puppy Maddawg explained the situation to the bartender wondering if he knew anyone in town who could help him. “You’re in luck son. This thing happens quite a bit to our bar patrons. I bought the stuff the professionals use and I keep them right here under the bar.” The bartender said as he bent down to retrieve his tools.

The bartender grabbed what looked like blood pressure pump attached to a balloon, and an oblong pole that had rubber wrapped around it. Outside in the mid afternoon sun, the bartender slid the flat balloon between the door and the frame of the car and began pumping it up. The balloon separated the door from the frame and allowed him to thread the oblong pole through the opening and hit the unlock button on the door. The bartender opened the door, removed the balloon and tool, grabbed Maddawg’s keys, and tossed them to him. The entire operation took forty five seconds. “Bingo!” The bartender said.

“Thanks a bunch. Do I owe you anything?” Maddawg asked.

“Nope just a courtesy service of The Penalty Box.” The bartender answered.

“Well, thank you again, I didn’t catch your name. I’m Maddawg Mike McDowell.” Maddawg said while offering his hand to the bartender.

“My name is Stacy Luke. Maddawg. But there is one thing you can do for me. Don’t care more about football than the players do.” Stacy said as he shook Maddawg’s hand. After the hand shake Stacy Luke turned around with his Unlocking Kit, and walked into his sports bar that he had owned for the past ten years.

After climbing into his Suburban and buckling in; Maddawg thumbed out a tweet: @Grizdawg85: Stacy Luke is greatest QB in the history of the #NFL. I’ll fight you if you disagree. Upon sending the tweet Mike McDowell turned off the scratchy ESPN Radio feed on a faint AM Station and headed toward Sante Fe in silence.

Copyright Lee West 2013

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The Football Conundrum

My family and I just got back from vacation, which is why I’m giving myself an excuse for not updating this website weekly like I promised. Our family camps for our vacations which make them a little more complicated than “just” booking everything. We have to go over gear lists, acquire said gear if we don’t have it, and finally make sure it all fits in whatever car we are taking. I’ve considered doing a post about all this; because you know; those are sporting goods and this is a sports website. But, I will save that for another day. Anyway, most of my mental energy was tied up by vacation before going on vacation. But now that vacation is over I find myself doing a mental reset: What did I miss while I was gone, what is going on now, and what is coming up in the next few weeks in months.

Footbaw!

Footbaw!

It’s no secret that my favorite sport is baseball, but my close second favorite sport is football, and football is most defiantly coming up in the next few weeks and months. In fact, the Chiefs start training camp in 12 days; twelve! Exhibition games will start in less than 30 days, and the regular season will be under way in less than 60. And that’s not even counting the college and high school seasons that I like to follow. This is part of the reason I took my first look at ProFootballTalk today for the first time since the Monday after the Super Bowl.

I know the prevailing wisdom in sports media is that there is no off-season in football. I beg to differ. With today’s al-a-cart media where I can pick and choose my content, there most certainly is a Football Off-season. Granted there have been some big stories like Aaron Hernandez’s legal trouble, and Todd Helton teaching the Denver Bronco’s front office how to drive; but for the most part I don’t care about the combine. I don’t care about the draft. I don’t care about OTA’s, and I only somewhat care about free agency.

You see, the NFL plays 254 games a year, of which my favorite team, the Chiefs, only play in 16. To me there just isn’t enough snaps of meaningful football to account for a 365 day/24 hour news cycle for just football. Games, roster moves, and schedules can only be discussed so much without an actual play happening. There is not that much actual football substance to create that much “news”. There’s barely enough substance in the entire sports world. But then again, the proliferation of 24 hour sports channels and other media content tell me I’m in the minority.

Yet, as I think about why I view the football off-season the way I do another point becomes clear. After all, I can listen to 8 hours of sports radio at work and not think much of it. So it can’t be the endless banter about nothing and everything in the sports media world. I think the biggest issue is that football means fall, and while I love the fall and everything that comes with it. Fall means that winter is right around the corner. I spend all winter pining for these dog days of summer where it’s hot and the only sports action is a nightly 15 game MLB slate. I’m not about to wish away these days that I spend all winter waiting for. This is why I’m torn when it’s time to start thinking about football. I really don’t want it to be time for football because that means the end of summer, baseball, swimming, warm weather, and a bunch of other things I really enjoy. But it’s football, and I really enjoy football too.

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sportsdrenched’s Top 10 Summer Songs

We’ve been in summer mode for a few weeks. However, summer doesn’t actually begin until Friday. Summer is my favorite season. It’s a fleeting time of year. It’s the only time it’s hot enough to swim and do other things with water. It also makes other outdoor activities easier to facilitate. During it’s peak with lows in the 70’s you don’t even need socks during all hours of the day.

A lot of things go with summer, but there’s no denying that one of those things is music. Even when you narrow music down to “summer music” there’s still a lot to consider. A lot of songs were popular in the summer and are remembered as summer songs. There are summer concerts, and then there songs that actually talk about things that go on during the summer.

I’ve spent a few days coming up with a list of my Top 10 favorite Summer Songs. Most of the songs below were already in my “summer playlist”. I asked some friends, asked my wife who is a music teacher, and googled “summer play lists” to find there are a lot more summer songs than I thought there were. Then I used my family, generational, and general tastes in music to narrow down the list into something manageable. No, Hot Time Summer In The City by the Lovin Spoonful didn’t make it. Finally, I tried to focus on songs that actually talked about summer, or summer experiences and left out the songs that were only popular during the summer.

10. The Greatest – Kenny Rogers: Since this is a sports blog I figured I had to work in at least one tune about sports, and if it’s summer, that sport is baseball. I know I spent countless hours as a boy in the summer tossing the ball and attempting to hit it. I’m sure I’m not alone. There’s some classic baseball footage in this video too.

These next two are videos about the fleeting nature of summer time girlfriends/boyfriends. Whether they were at camps or you were visiting relatives for a few weeks. Either way, you knew once you want back home, fall sports or school started, that those relationships would change, and most likely be over.

9. Springsteen – Eric Church: Frankly, I’m not a big fan of Bruce Springsteen. I think his music is pretty blah to be considered rock music. Most of that is generational thing. But this song captures a lot of what summer is, and especially memories of past summer relationships which is why I went with it over some others. Honorable mentions for this spot: Kenny Chesney’s Anything But Mine, and Tim McGraw’s Somethin’ Like That


 

8. Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter: This song doesn’t need any introduction. Especially for the topic at hand: Her biggest fear was September.

 

7. Fishin In The Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: This has been one of my favorite songs since I was old enough to pay attention to music. It’s also a solid summer song.

 

6. When Will It Rain – Jackyl A change of pace. I listened to this song a lot as a teenager. And during the summer we often ask this question. Especially the last two summers.

 

 

5. Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole Released in 1963 this is the oldest song on the list and sets the table for the rest. A fun party song, things getting crazy, road trips, drive-ins, beaches, beer, you get the idea. This song was pioneer among summer songs.

 

 

4. Summer Nights – Van Halen One of my favorite summer time party songs

 

 

3. Water – Brad Paisley Brad Paisley has three other songs I considered putting on this list: Ticks, Mud on The Tires, & Catch All The Fish. And I’m probably forgetting a few. You can Brad loves him some summer time. But, if it’s summer, water wins out on most days.

 

 

2. Pontoon – Little Big Town Continuing with the water theme. I’m not a big boat person. But this song captures a lot of what I like about summer. Water, cooking, out, fun with friends, beers (not Coors, though), and sun.

 

 

1. Redneck Yacht Club – Craig Morgan Like Brad Paisley, Craig Morgan has a few other titles I considered for the list: Almost Home, & What I Love About Sunday. But in the end, nothing says summer to me more than Redneck Yacht Club. It’s similar to Pontoon in subject matter, just a little more up-beat, which makes it the #1 song on my summer play list.

 

Now that you’e read this post. You should turn off the internet. Load up your cooler, grab some SPF, and go find some water.

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Botched Clean-Up

When I started this blog two years ago one of my first posts was about the Nevin Shapiro Fiasco at the University of Miami. I got on my moral high horse and decried the whole incident and incidents like them in college football. I still believe most of what I wrote. If anything, events of the past two years have made it more clear that football and basketball at the Division I level need an earth shattering overhaul or need to be spun off from their educational institutions and form their own professional leagues. Not that I think cheating won’t continue; it will in some form; but at least we’ll be real about it and not act like these games are being played in the name of education.

This should happen; especially when the agency responsible for making sure everything is kosher within college sports is riddled with political agendas and has become a toothless kitten instead of the watch dog it’s supposed to be. As was outlined in this week’s Sports Illustrated. The NCAA has essentially gone FEMA and BP and botched the clean up of the hurricane damage.

I’m not going to jump up and down and say Mark Emmert should lose his job over a circus of his own creation. First, no one is going to listen to me. Second, I think Emmert is doing what the majority of the University Presidents want him to do; take the blame for anything that goes wrong while sports revenue keeps growing and everyone involved is happy. As long as the money is flowing Emmert is not going anywhere.

Let’s be clear, I’m not upset that some people are making money off college football and basketball. I enjoy those two things. I have parted with my money to enjoy them, and I probably will in the future. I would just like a little honesty with my college sports. I’m sure no one will blow up the NCAA anytime soon to form new sports leagues. However, can we at least have some separation between University Administrators and the group that’s supposed to enforce rules on said universities? That could be a start. Then there would be less political pressure on rules investigators and they could make their best effort to find some truth, instead of the truth that their bosses want them to tell them. This has to be addressed before discussions about rules changes can even be discussed. And there are a lot of those.

I would like to say I would like these changes to be made because of truth for it’s own sake. But really, all I want to do is watch college football with my friends and not have moral questions about what I’m actually watching. We’re a long way that situation being on the horizon, but right now, the NCAA and the Universities aren’t even moving in that direction.
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Reset Button

I just received the email that this domain name is getting close to renewal. Which reminded me that I even have this website in the first place. As you can tell if you’ve dropped by I haven’t written anything since Feburary and can count on one hand the number of posts since last summer.

So, let’s call this a reset. I spent part of today revamping the What Is Sportsdrenched page. You don’t have to go there. It says that I’m going to make an attempt to write more often, even if the subject matter is not sports related. Although most of it will be. However, I will probably add some outdoor adventure, fitness, beer, and maybe, this is a big maybe, some original works of fiction. We’ll see.

The main goal is to post something once a week. No promises. If I have to write a similar post to this next June. I will give up on blogging and take the website down.

Regards,

sd

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