Saturday, August 11, 2012

chiefs! cards! where this hot as hell blogger deals with aging ...

"My guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect,
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect.
Good and bad, I define these terms,
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now ..."

-- "My Back Pages" by the Byrds.

--------------------------

I will admit up front: I am completely and totally full of myself.  Some of you (ok, fine, most of you ... ok, fine, all of you) would argue I'm totally full of something else, that a creative non-cursing person would call "bull manure" or "farm fertilizer" (and that the cursers among us (hey, that's me!) would call "bullshit"), but regardless, I am a very vain person, nowhere more so than in my ongoing desire to avoid the fact that I will be turning 36 (aka "over halfway to 40!") the week of the wildcard round of the playoffs.

I hate the fact that I'm aging.  I absolutely cannot stand it.  Some people, and for sh*ts and giggles, let's call this person "Dusty J", this "Dusty J" guy?  Has no problems whatsoever with dealing with a few gray hairs settling on top of his head.  ("boasheao" voice) a few?!?!

Me?  Upon discovering my first patch of gray hair back in March, I instantly shaved my head as short as I could get it, and have been shaving it every 4-5 days ever since, to avoid even the appearance of looking a day over 25.

My long-winded intro point being, I am very sensitive about my age, and have been ever since I turned 30, arguably the worst day of my life*.  So, on a day when the "Third Generation" made its debut at Arrowhead, a day when all three living generations of men in my immediate family was in attendance, you can only imagine how I felt when, upon reaching my seat (my dad used my second ticket last night, great to see him out there for once!), said father handed me his program, and asked "have you seen our roster?"

(*: it's that, or my 21st birthday, which saw the Chiefs crap out at home in the divisional round to, of all teams, the (homer simpson voice) denver broncos?!?!  Oh, and my 16th birthday?  Saw the Chiefs lose 17-0 at San Diego in a wildcard game.  (stevo checking the calendar) 2013 falls on a Thursday, so we're good!  Whew!)

I responded "nope", because after all, (gregg voice) ITS PRESEASON!  I mean, I hadn't been to a preseason game in four years prior to last night, because, again, ITS PRESEASON!  It's crappy football at full price!  What's NOT to hate?

After my "nope" response, my dad then dropped the bomb of a lifetime on me.

"According to this (roster card), every player on the Chiefs roster, is 30 or younger!"

Wait.  WHAT?!?!  Or as I responded,

"Are you f*cking serious?"

Yes, peoples and peepettes, not only did I drop a f bomb in front of the old man (which wasn't the first time, nor probably the last) ... he was right!  The oldest player on our roster is 30 years old!

Talk about a buzz kill!  (And I had one helluva buzz going, thanks to some potent vodka and Gatorades in the pregame tailgate.)  Every damned player we'll be going to war with on September 9th, is AT LEAST five years younger than me!

Having noted up front the negative, let's hit on a brief recap, if only to round me into preseason form for 2012 ...

* Only four of us rode out yesterday, so we took the Blazer instead of the Bus.  Also, when Russ and I went up to the Bus to grab some chairs, it's, uuh, hell it's not even in preseason form.  It's in "just woke up after an all night boozefest, and I don't know the chick next to me, and oh sweet Jesus she's got a mustache!" mode.  Uum, not that two of the three descriptions in that last sentence have ever occurred to me one unforgettable night in January.  (The incorrect descriptive: I knew who said chick was.  Which makes the story even worse than it is ...)

* We got there a little bit before four.  Our normal spot had nobody in it, so we grabbed it, then set out chairs to start saving spots.  You know, like we always do.  Only it's a helluva lot easier to do it at 4 in the afternoon, than 8 in the morning.

* Same parking guy as last year, an (about) 25 year old guy who doesn't give a sh*t what you do, so long as you don't get him in trouble.  Also, two beers may or may not have exchanged hands in order to allow four cars without red reserved lot passes to park in said red reserved lot.

* Allow me to vent for a moment.  I hate, and I mean I HATE, these toolish "corporate tailgates" that are springing up all over Arrowhead, most of them in Lot H (right across from us).  Yesterday's toolish tailgate?  Was for some new radio station broadcasting on 107.9 FM.  It is a religious station.

Now, please, I am fully aware I have little to no use for religion, and one of my 53 rules in life is that "religion is the cause of 95% of the world's problems, and the solution to none of them".  So please, don't take this bitch as an anti-religion rant, because it's not.

It's a rant against someone buying up, and broadcasting on, 107.9.  Why, you ask, do I care about that?  Because it's the damned frequency we tune the iPod to for tailgating!  My FM tuner (our radio doesn't have an auxiliary option, sadly) allows the iPod to broadcast on any station in the 88's or 107's.  The 88's are no good, since three of the five options are in use.  But the 107's?  Up until yesterday, there was nothing above 107.3, so 107.9 broadcast as clear as a bell*!  Now?  I have no idea what we're going to do, because I couldn't get the iPod to clearly pound out sound to save my life.  Add that to the list of things to figure out in the next 29 days, along with "Mixologist's Season Opening Drink Concoction" and "Who'll Use The "F*ck Me, I'm Stuck Next to Stevo!" seat** for the rest of the season.

(*: your obligatory "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" reference of the post.)

(**: my dad used it yesterday.  "The Crush" has it for Atlanta.  Every other game is up for negotiation.  And trust me -- you have not LIVED until you have witnessed a game against the "evil empire" sitting next to me.  I apologize four months in advance to whoever gets the "privilege" of watching us play "those people" on November 25th.)

Back to the recap.

* Dusty and "Boasheao" were the next to arrive.  Clueless Stevo (hey, that's me!) got a text from them about 4:40 "are you in your usual spot?"  Again, being clueless, I replied "yeah, you all here", never figuring out until about 40 seconds later that "of COURSE they're here, that's why they sent the text dummy!"  So I go sprinting out just as they're pulling into the intersection, I let our parking nazi know they're with us, and beer number one may or may not have exchanged hands.

* Not even ten minutes later, my dad arrived.  Beer two may or may not have exchanged hands.  In true dad fashion, he overshot our tailgating location, missed the next island as well, and somehow wound up all the way down next to Roger and his crew almost half of Lot G away.  I fear we're rapidly approaching the "take the keys away" moment.

* Funniest moment of the tailgate -- when "Boasheao" notices my dad now drives a Nitro, compliments him on it, and my dad goes "yeah, it's my drug running car!"  Brought the house down.  (Search for the Nebraskapalooza recaps from last August for why that's so funny, I think it's in part I, but might be in the intro to part II.)

* No sooner do I manage to walk my dad back up half a parking lot to where he should have parked (and a shout out to Roger for letting us steal one of his saved spots), then Gregg and Cory walk up.  Not quite as memorable as the last time the two of them arrived (and an explanation of what a dugout is had to be done), but still, I hadn't seen my "Voice of Reason" in three months.  Which probably explains why this summer has seemed so freaking weird.

* Next up, the moment I was highly anticipating (although, for once, while not high) -- "My Special Little Guy's" Arrowhead debut!  He didn't know Grandpa was going to be there, so that was a neat surprise for him.  And yes, as much as I have no desire to marry and/or have children (I'll let you figure out which one I'm willing to cave on, and here's a hint: it ain't the latter), there is still no moment in life that makes me as happy as when the A-man sees his "Unca Teve", and runs up and bear hugs my leg.

* Also, from the "creepy friend" department, I should have noted a few paragraphs ago, the lovely "boasheao" looked beyond lovely yesterday.  If you want to wear that gorgeous Chiefs red top come November 25th, I can think of one blogger who'll appreciate it*!

(*: kellie voice) not a chance in hell Steve!  (cue the "stare of death" that would make Charlie Manson crap his pants)  And stop picking on my team!  I'm showing up in blue and orange, and I'm bringing reinforcements this year!  We're going to beat your asses and you're gonna have to take it from not just me, but my entire family!  And I'm gonna really enjoy seeing you eat it when we beat you guys November 25th!!!  You want to boo every broncos fan you see that day, like you always do?  My brother and my dad will let you know exactly what they think about that!  You plan on booing me again?  I'm gonna slap you into the middle of December!!!  And if you're dumb enough to even THINK about dragging out the lynched, speared with Arrowheads donkey again this year?  Just WAIT until my mom finishes with you!  (angry, mean grizzley bear voice) Stop!  Ripping!  My!  denver!  broncos!!!  (politest, kindest person in the world voice) Thanks, Steve!)

(And yes, that is pretty much how an argument with the nicest chica I know goes -- she gives you the death stare, verbally puts you in your place, then thanks you for the opportunity to do so.  I gotta admit -- I admire it!  No wonder DJ lets her fly the donkeys flag on GameDay.  I'd surrender too.)

(And sorry, but (sheriff in "hoosiers" voice) the lynched donkey stays.)

* After some pictures with my Special Little Guy (which are up on Facebook), it was time to head in.  I opted to not bring in anything, preferring to see how this ridiculous hand-held metal detector crap would work.  To my pleasant surprise?  It's as big a joke as KU Football security, which has admitted me as a "youth / senior" since I was 20, and ignored the pint of vodka bulging out of my pocket since I was 18 (rimshot!)  A plastic flask or bottle will easily avoid detection.  Whew.

* A neat feature as you headed in: they were handing out ice cream sandwiches!  I didn't have one, but let's just say, Ayden may have had more than his alloted share.

* It's preseason, so I'm not gonna lie and pretend I paid attention to anything after the first team offense was pulled late in the first quarter.  Hell, my dad and I wandered off to tour the Hall of Honor for the entire second quarter.  (I still think the coolest feature is the "every player in Chiefs history" feature, but I'm geeky like that.  Ooh, Stan Petry!  Wow, William Bartee!  Holy sh*t Batman, Bracey Walker!!!)  Which did lead to this funny exchange:

(my dad) (sees Steve Bono staring at him)
(my dad) (turns Bono photo away in a mean manner)
(stevo) what'd you do that for, pop?
(my dad) (pure rage in his voice) I hate that guy.
(stevo) why?  That guy paid for every Christmas gift I gave in 1996*!
(my dad) exactly.  (pause)  I think I'm still paying that bill off.

(*: for those of you who don't know ... I am the one, and arguably the only, defender of Steve Bono in the KC Metro area.  When Marty benched Bono after a disasterous home loss to San Diego in week 13 1996 (which dropped the Chiefs to 8-4, safely in as a wildcard at that point ... but also all but clinched the division for denver) for "Dick" Gannon, my dad called to note "at least now we have a real quarterback".  I replied "we'll miss the playoffs because of this".

So, of course, we make a wager, that the loser has to pay for $200 (or, as wound up being the case, much, much more) of the winner's Christmas gifts tab.  The Chiefs lose their last three, and miss the playoffs, thanks to that collapse, and Morten Andersen somehow missing a 19 yard field goal attempt in Jacksonville as time expired.  (pause).  You're damned right I went on a spending spree that may or may not have included gifts to myself.

Oh, and my reason why I defend Bono?  21.  8.  His record in games that count as a Chiefs starter in 1995-1996 before he was benched.  Really?  You're benching a guy who wins 3 out of every 4 starts?  That's ridiculous.  The Chiefs deserved the collapse they endured that year.)

* But the first quarter ... wow.  Literally, wow.  I've argued all offseason that the single best move any team made over the last eight months was the Chiefs upgrading at the offensive coordinator position by hiring Brian Daboll.  A man who turned crap that stinks worse than two week old garbage such as Derek Anderson, flotsam and jetsum such as Matt Moore, and washed up afterthoughts like Reggie Bush and Peyton Hillis into legitimate Pro Bowlers (aka "not a replacement, but an actual first ballot selection Pro Bowler"), well, imagine what he can do with Jamaal Charles, the Three B's at wideout, and the Fourth B at tight end!

I spoke with "The Voice of Reason" earlier today, and he noted "have we ever seen a better offensive outing in a preseason game?"  And the answer, honestly, is no.  Look it, the Al Saunders years were incredible.  The 2002 Chiefs are the greatest offense ever assembled.  (And the worst defense ever to take the field, hence the 8-8 record).  But everything we did in preseason was vanilla.  The Paul Hackett years were underrated and under-appreciated in hindsight, but again, like Saunders, Hackett held back in preseason.

Daboll didn't really showcase much last night either ... but we absolutely lit up the Cardinals like a joint at a Ben Harper concert.  They couldn't stop the first team offense.  Two drives, both 70 plus yards, both less than 6 plays, both ending in touchdowns.  The last time I saw a start like that out of the Chiefs, honestly?  Was the season opener against the Jets in 2005, when we ran the EXACT SAME PLAY (offtackle right left) three straight times, for 78 yards and the touchdown.

The mark of a great offense, is when the defense knows exactly what's coming at them, and is powerless to stop it.  Brian Billick's Vikings offenses were like that in the mid to late 1990s.  Ditto shanarat's offense in the later elway years in denver, the Saunders years here in the early 2000s, and going back a ways, Norv Turner's offenses in Dallas to open the 1990s.  The Cardinals appeared to be well-defensed last night, and couldn't stop the first team offense.  That's a very promising sign.

* Also promising: I thought Quinn was decent.  I thought Stanzi was horrific.  I'm not gonna lie -- if Ricki Stanzi is on the field for a regular season game this fall, and said game is not being led by at least 36 points at the time he takes the field?  We're in deep deep trouble.  It's why I want Quinn to win the backup slot -- he's not great ... but he's not Tyler Palko, he's not Ricki Stanzi.  Brady Quinn can win you a game or two if he has to.  Ricki Stanzi can't. Glad to see the backup battle go for one night as I want it to wind up.

* We stuck it out until about 5 minutes to go.  The only memorable moment of the postgame was when I sprinted up on DJ and Kellie having a moment, spurring the "you always ruin our fun!" comeback.  Sorry, I forgot -- we do tailgate in Lot G, the "casual encounters" capital of Arrowhead Stadium.  I'll try to do better.

* I crashed in the most comfortable bed known to man last night, aka "the guest room" at Russ and Mona's. I'm telling you, that bed is beyond comfortable.  The mattress is so freaking soft, and the pillows so perfect ... put it this way.  I'm conditioned enough at this point, that I'm wide awake, no matter what day of the week it is, by 6:15am when I sleep in my bed.  It's habit*.  I literally could crawl into my bed at 4:30, and be wide awake two hours later, watching some "Law and Order" rerun on TNT.

(*: if you don't believe me, ask anyone who's ever been on a float trip with me.  I am WIDE AWAKE by 6:15am.  Last year, I was ordered outside by people who wanted to sleep, because I was laughing too hard at the "Family Guy" episode I had queued up on my iTunes while waiting for the fellow floaters to wake up.  Damned (joe biden voice) four letter word known as a "job".)

I went to bed last night a little bit after 11pm ... and the next thing I know, it's 10:30am, and my phone is blowing up with text messages from friends about Paul Ryan's nomination as the Veep on the Romney ticket.  And before you drop the "you were probably drunk" rebuttal, I would reply with "yes ... I'm ALWAYS going to bed drunk!"

* And with that, recap uno of the season draws to a close.  If it was rambling, incoherent, absolutely non-sensical at points?  ITS PRESEASON!  I've still got 29 days until these things count!  (johnny bristol voice) hang on in there baby!

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also, apologies on the layout ...

Something went bat sh*t crazy when I tried to upload the previous post.  I'll work on fixing it Tuesday.  I didn't change a thing; t...