Saturday, September 5, 2015

a perfect end to summer, part uno (of tres)

"I knew I'd see her around.
I'd be at some party,
She'd show up,
And I'd be walking out.

Or across some parking lot,
Hiding behind her sister,
In that white Maxima,
With the sticker on the back.

I'd act like I didn't see her!
We'd pay at the same pumps,
Flip through the same stations,
Slow down for the same curves.

Run around with the same crowds?
We just needed some time!
She could get on with her life,
And I'd get on with mine.

I thought I would be fine!
Yeah, but maybe not.
I knew she'd find a way to get over me,
But I never thought ...

That she would get down,
With somebody I know!
I guess that's just how it goes,
When you break up in a small town!

I see our friends?
And they put on a show!
Like they don't want me to know!
So they give me the go-around.

But there's only so many streets,
So many lights;
I swear,
I can't even leave my house!

I should've known all along --
You gotta move or move on,
When you break up
In a small town ..."

-- "Break Up In a Small Town" by Sam Hunt.


I always pick the theme to each post for a reason.  And I suspect you'll read the opening lyrics and think "holy sh*t, Stevo finally scored a girlfriend for the summer!  Good for him!"

Yeah, didn't happen*.

I picked the lyrics because one week ago today, I spent a solid three hours at one of the coolest things I've ever seen -- the Gridiron Glory exhibit of the NFL Hall of Fame at Union Station.

What, you ask, does a song by Sam Hunt (whose "Montevallo" cd I am completely and ridiculously digging the hell out of right now) have to do with an exhibit honoring the Kansas City Chiefs greatest moments and players and figures ... and the other thirty one franchise that exist for us to use as our own personal urinal**?

True story -- Sam Hunt was on the Chiefs preseason roster, in 2007.  The "Hard Knocks" season that infamously concluded with Carl Peterson literally handing the keys of the franchise over to Herm Edwards at dinner.  (And if that wasn't the "jump the shark" moment of the Peterson era, only God can figure out what else it possibly could have been.)

So I picked my second favorite song off that cd, for the lyrics.

Below is my thoughts, impressions, and some visual evidence, of the coolest exhibit I've ever been honored enough, to witness in person.  Enjoy?


(*: I have been receiving daily emails from multiple divorce attorneys, offering their legal advice and help, for a solid three weeks now.  I could not figure out why for the better part of two weeks.  I mean, I've never been married.  I've never even been engaged.  Hell, I haven't had a relationship reach Night Tres in nearly five years.  Finally, I figured it out.  "Reputable Singles Site" that I am a member of, is owned by the same company that owns Ashley Madison.  If I'm getting unsolicited divorce emails due to being a member of one semi-reputable (and semi-successful, at least for me) hookup site?  I can only imagine what emails must be arriving in a former friend's inbox at this point!)

(**: I'm merely quoting the great Clark Judge, formerly of, in describing the Chiefs / Steelers debacle in 2006, when he noted that "the Steelers used us as their own personal urinal" in that 45-7 defeat.  I have always loved that quote.  Nothing says "you done got your ass whipped" like "you were used as a urinal".  I just hope it was the trough kind, you so rarely see anymore at any place other than the Brooksider.)


This is what you see as you arrive at Union Station, to enter the walk into the exhibit:

(all image credits: me, via my iPhone 6c.  The dude in front of me at the bottom of the steps, is my buddy Andrew, who came in for the Chiefs game last weekend.  Riding down the escalator on the right are Nicole, Russ, Mona, and Tom, who also took the tour.  Also, I cleared with security that it was acceptable by NFL Properties and the Pro Football Hall of Fame to not just record any images I desired, but to post, so long as credit was given.  So all the images you are about to see, are the intellectual and physical property of NFL Properties and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with all copyrights and rights reserved.  I figured I'd get the appropriate copyright credits out of the way right away, to avoid retyping this fifty times.  You're welcome?)

Once you descend and enter the exhibit to the right, you enter a virtual locker room, with the nine Chiefs Hall of Fame players.  It's impossible to get them all in one shot, but one stood out to me above all others:

It's really been fifteen years and nine months, since that god-awful January Sunday, that for all intents and purposes, we lost 58.  God, I'm getting old.

Once you get through the virtual locker room (and it took me nearly twenty minutes to do so), you can choose the next hallway to walk through.  Go right, and you see the tribute to Lamar Hunt:

Uuh, it's probably good you didn't live to see the Scott Pioli error, sir.  And there's no probably about that.  Mr. Pioli's idea of "family" would have destroyed you.

Had you gone left instead?  We'll come back to that.  Because it's my second or third favorite part, of this exhibit.


The next section, is the walk down a hallway, to actually get to the part of the exhibit you pay to see.  Yeah, let that sink in -- the tribute to every member of this franchise who is in the Hall of Fame, doesn't cost you $0.01 to see.  That's damned cool.

And the descent down one more hallway?  Is also damned cool.  On the right wall, is a running history of the greatest of the greats in the Red and Gold's history, and it's literally one long running bench.  Again, impossible to get in one camera shot ... but this time you're getting them in running order:

(A brief sidebar for true story time -- I'm actively involved in "company I work for"'s charity efforts with the Make A Wish Foundation.  I got "nominated" to co-chair our floor's efforts this year.  Which is cool.  But last year, when we reached out to the Chiefs for a charitable donation, they sent us an autographed poster of Gary Barbaro.  I had to spent a solid ten minutes explaining to everyone else who Mr. Barbaro was / is.  Nobody else on said committee, had ever heard of the Ring of Honor inductee.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- the Jim Schaff / Jack Steadman error everyone!  The honor was all ours!  No, really -- it was!)

Another cool thing about the walk in through this portion of the exhibit?  The players who had visited the exhibit?  Signed their names on the wall:


As you approach the entrance to the part you pay to see (and it is the best $9.50 I've spent this summer that didn't involve a member of the opposite sex), there's a video montage of a decent chunk of the franchise's biggest moments playing, with the play-by-play call of the Chiefs broadcasters:

There were other moments I tried to snap and missed -- Montana to Davis to slay the demon that is the denver broncos in 1994.  Montana to Barnett to tie the playoff game against Pittsburgh, on 4th and goal, in 1993.  Andre Rison burning al davis' house down in 1997.  A few others I'm forgetting.

And two I'm intentionally skipping, because they'll be up momentarily.

And yes, they're the two moments (jim valvano voice) my emotions were moved to tears.


I spent a solid ten, fifteen minutes just watching that video montage.  A helpful employee came up eventually and stood next to me.  This conversation occurred:

(employee) This never gets old.
(stevo) (doesn't say anything).
(employee) (sees the t-shirt I was wearing).
(employee) You a fan (of person said t-shirt honors)?
(stevo) he'll always be the greatest.
(employee) (are you a) Chiefs fan?
(stevo) die hard season ticket holder, sir.
(employee) then do yourself a favor.  
(stevo) yes, sir?
(employee) when you enter (this exhibit), there's one room you will rather puke than enter.  Don't go with your impulse.  You WANT to enter that room.  Trust me on this.
(stevo) yes, sir.


When you first enter the exhibit, it's a tribute to the record holders of the sport.  Like, for example, the second best running back of the 1980s:

(Eric Dickerson was the first pro football player I had a pathetic man crush on.  Sad yet true story.)

Or to whom some argue was the greatest wide receiver ever:

(Most undeserving Hall of Famer ever.)

Or this guy:

(AKA, the losing quarterback in the greatest NFL game ever, at least of my lifetime: 49ers 30, Packers 27, 1998 NFC Wild Card Game, played on my 22nd birthday.  "Owens!  Owens!  He caught it!  He caught it!  Hello, Atlanta!!!!!!")

Or this guy, the second best 58 ever:


One of two moments that made me laugh out loud:

First, let's acknowledge Captain Oats up front: Ozzie Newsome is one of -- if not the -- greatest tight ends in NFL history.  And he is one of -- if not the -- best general managers in the history of the sport as well.  (Here's a hint of what's coming later this week: Stevo's Site Numero Dos really, really, really likes Mr. Newsome's Ravens chances this season, of attaining a greatness the Chiefs never have in my lifetime.)

Why, then, is this particular display funny?

Because (a) the Cleveland Browns will NEVER make a Super Bowl, and (b) the Super Bowl referee honored above?  Is Mike Carey.  No, really, zone in on the flag.  It's Mike Bleeping Carey, a man mocked by everyone for being dead wrong on every replay call in his "expert role" on the CBS broadcasts.  (Since, you know, the NFL kicked him to the curb for grouse incompetence in refereeing.)


Then you hit the Chiefs franchise history section.  Some cool items on display:

* The Original Plans for the Truman Sports Complex:

OK, I don't care that it's a 50 year old design, that still looks cool today.  People in the 1960s / early 1970s had so much more creativity and ingenuity, than people of today.

* The Tribute to my personal favorite Chiefs season ever:

(I still can't listen to "Free As A Bird" to this day.  It's the only Beatles song I won't listen to.)

* The Tribute to Memorial Stadium:

* The Tribute to Tailgating:

* And the moment that almost moved me to tears: the Tribute to the late, great Mr. Tony DiParto and the late, great TD Pack Band:

Until the day I'm buried six feet under, I will maintain doing away with the TD Pack Band after the 2008 season is the single most indefensible, morally reprehensible decision in franchise history.  And I am fully aware Jovan Belcher happened.


Oh, and one more moment, for my co-workers in Seattle:

(chica in "the help" voice) eat my sh*t, Seahawks fan.  

(Also, how epically awesome is it, that destroying the world's loudest moment record?  Was without a doubt topped not even thirty hours later, in the same damned complex?


I choose to close down Part Uno, with one every Chiefs fan will find damned cool:

In my tailgating group, depending on what year and time period you're referencing, we've called as ours folks arriving from Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio.

I'm damned proud to be a member of this Kingdom.

I'm guessing every Chiefs fan reading this?

Shares that sentiment.


Coming up in Part Dos (coming later this weekend):

* at least one of the two moments that made me cry.
* the second moment that made me laugh out loud -- and it is damned funny.
* the payoff of that conversation with me and employee, a few pages ago.
* and said payoff, is going to make one great friend think the room is a lot dusty.

And most epic of all?  A showdown years of shouting, bullsh*tting, and pontificating on my intelligence when it comes to the sport of football, in the making.

Oh yes, peoples and peepettes, it's time.

* Stevo Versus the Replay Booth!!!!!

Was I successful?

You tell me -- is this the face of success and/or competence?

In the words of my high school history teacher: "stay tuned" ...

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