Tuesday, September 13, 2016

chiefs! chargers! where the significance of my old buddy 13, finally hits home ...

“All my days are spent;
All my cards are dealt.
Oh, the desolation grows!

Every entry filled
As my heart is pierced.
Oh, my soul is now exposed!

In the oceans deep?
In the canyons steep?
Walls of granite?  Here I stand.

All my desperate calls?
Echo off the walls.
Back and forth, then back again.

To believe I walk alone?
Is a lie that
I’ve been told.

So let your heart hold fast –
For this soon shall pass!
Like the high tide?  Takes the sand! …”


“F*ck yeah!  F*ck yeah!  (Massive fist pumps!)”

OK, pop quiz time, readers and readettes.  Who reacted like that at 3:48pm CT on Sunday, September 11, 2016?  Was it:

a: Me, in stunned disbelief at the Chiefs 33-27 overtime victory over the San Diego “Super” Chargers
b: “House of Wings”, in stunned disbelief at Secretary Clinton collapsing during the 9/11 memorial in New York, turning an already bat sh*t crazy election even more bat sh*t crazy, a mere eight weeks out from Election Day?
c: Joel Goldberg enduring yet another Salvy Splash after a Royals victory
d: Alex Smith’s reaction to his game-winning touchdown being upheld by the booth?

The answer is d … although to be fair, b might be true as well.

But the one I can confirm is d, and I gotta admit, as that moment unfolded, as Alex Smith capped the greatest comeback in Chiefs history by punching it in the corner of the end zone I sit in, as he fist pumped his way around the lower bowl shouting “f*ck yeah!”?

I’ve rarely if ever been prouder of the leader, of the Right Fifty Three.


The Bus departed for the game at 6:10am exactly.  I know this, because I was there, along with Russ the Bus Man, Mona, Anthony, Jaimmie, Miranda, and “Tony and Lisa”, who came in from Omaha for the opener.

We got in the early in line at a little after 6:20am.  The line was already backed up out of Gate Seven, back onto Stadium Drive in both directions – back past Gate Six to the west, almost back to the new bridge over The Dred (aka I-70) to the east.  I headed down, unsure of what to expect.  My “highly placed confidential source”, the artist known as “Rufus”, had promised their edict for Sunday was to enforce the new tailgating regulations within the lots – namely, keep the aisles clear.  He assured me we would be left alone. 

I am happy to report that as usual, he was 100% right.

Here’s how improved the new setup is – we not only didn’t have to move one of the barriers out of the way to get The Bus onto Chiefs Way?

The side entrance to Lot G was unlocked!  We didn’t even have to move a cone and turn around!

We were set up and going by 6:45 yesterday morning.  And for the record, Lot G was filled in, front to where we tailgate at the back, by 8:50am.  Arrowhead Nation showed up en masse and in force for yesterday’s opener, and why wouldn’t we?  A perfect 80ish sunny day, not a cloud in the sky.

Exactly like Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was.

So, if I’m going to rip the Chiefs a new one for everything they do wrong (and don’t worry, we’ll get to a gigantic gaffe so impressive and indefensible, even Joe Biden * would be embarrassed), allow me to sing their praises when they nail it.

Job well done Chiefs.  You have fixed the parking disaster Steve Schneider unleashed on us fifteen years ago, and that you and the fine folks at the Jackson County Sports Authority have made worse every year since.  You have finally come up with a sane, competent layout that works well.  At least as far as my tailgating group is concerned.


(*: I have been saying since last summer that Joseph Robinette Biden will be the forty fifth President of the United States.  Sunday, if anything, has definitely put that prediction well in play yet again.  Also, Stevo’s Site Numero Dos (and it’s writer) sends well wishes for a quick and speedy recovery to Secretary Clinton.  In the interest of full disclosure, Stevo’s Site Numero Dos – and Stevo – have strongly endorsed Secretary Clinton to be the next President of the United States.  But in the interest of fairness, even if “House of Wings” was ill, I’d at least send well wishes and positive thoughts.  Seems the morally right thing to do, irregardless of which side you support.)


The first Brian Griffin Memorial “What the Hell?!?!?!” moment of the season: about 7am, we get the beer pong table out.

Me and Anthony versus Jaimmie and Miranda.

We put the Bud Light in our cups.  (And no, just because it’s in a Chiefs can, does not mean Bud Light is drinkable, likable, refreshing, and / or anything other than the worst beer ever made that doesn’t rhyme with “Mamm’s”.)

The girls put … water.  (brian griffin voice) What the hell?!?!?!  Their rationale: “we don’t really drink beer”.

Well fine then – give me what I’ve asked for, for (hang on, carry the nine) ten years now.  Let’s do vodka tonic pong!  Sh*t, let’s do mimosa pong!  I was slamming those bad boys yesterday ** for God’s sake!

Nope.  We had to slam the Bud Lights – win or lose; they got water.

Anthony and I won all three games against them.


(**: should have opened with this: Russ and I made a liquor run to the HyVee on 350 on Saturday night.  I was told to “buy OJ and cheap champagne!”  (Hey, it is my one duty for tailgating, save for the music.  And yeah, we’ll get to that next.)

But anyway, after grabbing what counts (the whiskey), I head for the champagne section, and find something I have never seen before: 1.75ml bottles of champagne!

The cost?  $8.99 / apiece.

Given that OJ was on sale for $.88 / small bottle (is it a half gallon?  I never check.  I just know it wasn’t the gallon size), I made it out with essentially five bottles of cheap champagne, four thingies of OJ, and I barely pulled out two twenty's, to pay with.

That’s so indefensibly awesome, I honestly said “that’s shawsome!”, walking out the door, to describe that liquor purchasing experience.)


So let’s address the Captain Oats in the room: the new speaker setup.

Because frankly, I owe each and every person there on Sunday, not just a personal, face-to-face, “dude I f*cked up, and I’m sorry” apology, but a public one as well.

Readers?  I f*cked up.  Royally.  And I cannot possibly apologize enough.

Because the one thing I didn’t test?

Was how loud the new speaker setup would be … with about twenty other speakers in range, of said speaker setup.

This change, quite frankly, was a screw up the likes of which the United States – if not the entire world – has not seen, since New Coke thirty years ago.

So just like Coke executives choked down the debacle and brought back the Classic formula?

I’m choking down the sound debacle, and bringing back the Classic (speakers).

Major thanks to my buddy “derek carr’s doppleganger”, for saving my ass with his portable Bose speaker.  It made the music almost listenable.

I truly, humbly, and profoundly apologize, for thinking I could improve, on what wasn’t broken.

And you have my promise: I will spend whatever it costs, to find a f*cking FM adaptor, and bring Classic (speakers) back, for the Jets game, and every game thereafter.


Third funniest moment of the day – and remember folks: if you cannot laugh at yourself?  You have to brace for everyone else, laughing at you … because they’re going to anyway.

(And I should note up front: that this is only the third funniest moment of the GameDay experience?  Especially when you read numero dos below?  Is truly frightening.)

Recall the home opener against “those people” last year, there was a blonde chick who approached me, saw me opening a bottle of champagne, asked if she could have a glass, and given how freaking hot she was, I immediately ran onto The Bus, grabbed a cup, and poured her one?  And recall how she promised to return later in the season?  And recall how she noted “you’re so cute”?

Well, she returned on Sunday.  It turns out, her name is Lacey.  (Because of course smoking hot blonde girls are named Lacey.  (phil voice) Damned right they are Stevo!) 

She once again approached as I was cracking open one of those ridiculous sized bottles of champagne I purchased Saturday evening.  And the following ensued:

(lacey) Hi!  You’re Steve, right?
(stevo) Yeah.  (A rare moment of sanity – I know my name!)  Hey, I remember you!
(lacey) Yeah!  Funny we meet again in the exact same situation!
(stevo) Yeah, it is!  Coincidence, huh!
(stevo) (thinking privately “f*ck no it’s not”)
(lacey) Will you pour me a glass?
(stevo) Sure!
(stevo) (pours glass)
(lacey) Thanks!  (Obvious flirting move)  You’re still cute!  And you’re still nice! 
(stevo) (awkward) Thanks, but … I’m … kind of taken by a great girl I met this summer?
(lacey) (actually sounding legitimately … something) Really?  You’re taken by a girl? 
(stevo) Yeah, a really cool chick.  I even call her The Chica!  (Pause.)  Why?
(lacey) (yelling to her friend about ten feet away) You were right!
(stevo) (confused) Right about what?
(lacey) Oh, I thought you were gay.  (Her friend) thought you were straight.
(stevo) (speechless)
(stevo) (recovers) Well, did you at least wager on (my being gay or straight)?

There’s funny.  There’s damned funny.  And then there’s the “Stevo having the Seinfeld Memorial “not that there’s anything wrong with that” Misunderstanding Moment hysterical.

(She’ll be back for the raiders and “those people” games, at least.  This ought to be entertaining, at least, if not awesome.  Or shawsome.  (Pause).  Sh*t, five pages in Word in, and I’ve dropped shawsome twice!)


The menu was red-wine soaked Charger chicken, burnt ends from Gates, stuffed mushrooms left over from the pre-party the night before, a boatload of beer, a crapload of champagne, a healthy helping of vodka, and a lil’ thing I like to call the piece de resistance: jalapeno poppers.

I hope you enjoyed them.  I not only picked each and every one of those bastardos, and I not only sliced, diced, and cleaned each and every one of those bastardos (and there were over 150 of them), but I stuffed each and every one of those bastardos.  (Except for the 12-15 that were made OT Style; I had nothing to do with the creation of those.  That was all Nicole’s handiwork from two weeks ago.)

And it was in making those that the funniest moment of the weekend occurred, because like a blithering idiot, once I was done slicing, dicing, stuffing and mounting all those jalapenos, the frosty cold Coors Lights I was consuming during the process caught up to me.  So I went to use the facilities.

Before washing my hands.

Sweet merciful Lord Jesus.  So for all you kids out there, let Uncle Stevo teach you a valuable lesson.  Do not – I repeat, do NOT – hold anything in your crotchal region if you’ve just sliced up a ton of jalapenos.  Because your crotchal region will burn like a mo’ fo’ for at least the next six hours.

Needless to say, a lot of laughs were had at my expense.  And the best part?  My “secret ingredient” in the filling I make?

Crab meat.

(Cue the STD jokes in four, three …)


I really liked the folks from St. Louis who parked and tailgated next to us.  Nice people.  A dad, an uncle, and two what I thought were college aged kids.  Wound up throwing a few games of cornhole with them, before the two younger ones challenged us to beer pong.  Never one to back down from a challenge, I headed over to the table, started filling the cups, and the dad comes over and, well, this occurred:

(the dad) You do realize (my kid) is 16, right?
(stevo) (in genuine stunned disbelief) Really?  He looks like he’s 20!
(the dad) Nope, 16.
(stevo) (pauses) It’s still OK if he plays, right?
(the dad) Sure, why not.  Just be careful with him.  He’s new at (drinking).

I’ll let you people judge, who was the worser influence.

Oh, and don’t worry – The Kid isn’t finished appearing in this recap yet.


And after reading the post in its finalized version, I realized the funniest moment of the weekend, which involved The Kid, wasn't included ... because the ending of this post was too f*cking personal.

I emerged from "The Ending", goofy grinned faced, smiling like a kid who just got laid for the first time, and headed to The Bus.  I proudly shouted "I only want two things right now", which has always meant (a) "Dancing on the Ceiling" to be played, and (b) a cold beer in my hand.

The Kid?

Handed me a beer, then asked "hey, you smoke?", as he showed me a dugout.

Folks?  I'm done.

How the hell do we draft a sixteen year old to tailgate with us all year?  Because I want this kid back, stat!


The rest of the tailgate was pretty laid back.  Food was consumed.  Adult beverages were ponged, chugged, and yes, Drinko made its 2016 debut.  I dropped into Bud Light.  I think I now have yet another, in this year of never’s:


God that crap is, uuh, God awful.

All told, we had about 25 people flow through at one point or another, including the McFadden’s folks, who once again gave us a $200 gift card to use for a road game at their fine establishment.  I’m voting Steelers … but I’m betting Panthers.  As always, stay tuned.

We broke down a little bit after 11, after having the celebratory toast to the season to come.  Had a fun conversation with the ‘Bulance folks (Phil and his crew) headed in, and another celebratory toast to the season to come.  The lines to enter the HyVee Gate were, if anything, less slow than I expected.  The lines to purchase a beer once you got inside were, if anything, indefensible.


I did not notice the block letter “c” “h” “i” “e” “f” “s” in the east end zone for the pregame.  If they were there, then I totally either missed them, or arrived too late to see them.  I know for sure there were no balloons launched, and that infuriates me.  I can live with tradition being defecated on.  I mean, I look at seats where the legendary Tony DiPardo and the TD Pack Band played for decades, and write it off to “progress”.  I have to listen to whatever the hell The Rumble is disrupt tailgate after tailgate with their pointless and dumb ass drumming, and I write it off to (joe pesci voice) courting the utes amongst us.  I even accept that a Season Ticket Member sticker is not available this year because “the demand wasn’t there”, per my STM representative.  (The hell it wasn’t, Zach.  The hell it wasn’t.)

But once you screw with the balloon launch out of the little kid alphabet blocks, you cross a line, Chiefs.  I mean, Indy may not be able to offer “our good friend, Mr. Jim Nabors!” anymore, but not even Tony George is stupid enough to f*ck with launching more balloons than the Confederates launched cannons at Fort Sumter, when “I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash” hits the PA at about 10:52am on RaceDay morning.  That’d be as stupid as speaking through “Taps”.  Not even Colin Kaepernick would be that stupid.  (I think.)

I hated not seeing the balloon launch … and there’s no way it happened.  There was no wind whatsoever out there on Sunday; they would have hovered over the stadium, like the fireworks and smoke from the smoke thingies at the players entrance did.  Plus I was in my seat at 11:45ish.  The balloons would have launched about 11:50, 11:51, to keep the traditional schedule intact. 

Let’s hope the Chiefs are saving the balloon launch for the Jets game.  Or the raiders “Color Rush” game.  Or the game against “those people” on Christmas Night.  But please, Chiefs – give us a balloon launch.

Even the Royals stole how epic that thing is, to open their season, five months ago.


“This is the worst first quarter I’ve ever seen” – Anthony, in a text to me and Jaimmie, 12:42pm.
“Shittacular” – me, to Anthony and Jaimmie, in response to that text.
“I love that word!” – Jaimmie, in response to my response.
“I hate that word perfectly sums the last hour up” – Anthony, in response to that response.


So apparently, the computer system inside Arrowhead died at some point in the first quarter on Sunday.

I know, because after the Chargers punched their second score in to go up 14-3, I headed to my Chiefs Bar, to get a Coors Light.  Five possible checkout lines.  Only two were open.  And the guy in my line, kept heading over to the other register, to pay the tabs run up in his.

If you wanted to pay by anything but cash and/or sexual favors, you were screwed.  (And if you wanted to pay by sexual favors, you were screwed too (rimshot!))

I opened the game sitting in the seat I pay for, 339 / 11 / 1.  I actually don’t mind it; it’s pretty much right as you emerge from the tunnel, right above where I used to sit (and still do for most of the game, most of the games, 132 / 26 / 14.  This will factor into the finale, I swear.)  There’s a bathroom next to the tunnel, and a Chiefs Bar between the tunnels leading to 339 and 340.  It’s a perfect spot, right as you exit the spiral ramp up.

The Chiefs Bar didn’t have a working computer.  And neither did either food stand on the opposite side of the concourse.

I mean, are you kidding me? 

Or as Phil (the ‘Bulance guy, who sits two rows in front of my actual seat, and was in line with me) noted: “Hey!  How about you quit p*ssing away your money on parking sh*t, and fix your godd*mned computers!  How’s that for an idea, huh?”

I’d have worked a f-bomb in there … but that about summed up my thoughts.


“Please fix the score of your game!!  WTF is going on down there!??  I got $$$ on you guys!!  Still early I know!!” – Rudy, 1:14pm, to me via text message.


During the twenty five minutes I was in line to pay $9.25 for a beer that was barely cold? the Chargers scored again, to make it 21-3.


“Person in your seat just left, said “f*ck this sh*t”!  Come down and be miserable with us!” – Mona, 1:26pm, to me via text message.


So, I did what any good son would do – I headed down.  Go figure – the computer glitches in the upper deck?  Didn’t exist in the lower.  I purchased the second frosty cold Coors Light of the game and … you know what, God bless.  If I praise parking, then I gotta praise this too.

Thank you Chiefs, for offering something OTHER than Bud Light, or Stella Artois, or Miller Lite, or Heineken, in your Chiefs Bar’s this year.  THANK YOU!  Bud Light gives me the worst heartburn imaginable.  Stella Artois is the sh*ttiest beer this side of Hamm’s.  Miller Lite is worse than Keystone, and I wouldn’t pay $12.50 for a Heineken if it was the last beer on earth.  (OK, fine, that’s a lie – I would pay that price … if it was the last beer on earth.)  If you aren’t gonna offer the only beer in this life I truly love (Shiner Bock), then I can settle for the one beer in this life, that is a mass-produced domestic that doesn’t make me want to jump off a cliff: Coors Light.  Thank you, for adding those 16oz slop water cans of craptacular occasional enjoyment.

I got to my old seat exactly after Jeremy Maclin was stripped by a Chargers defensive back.  1:47pm CT, Sunday, September 11, 2016.

It led to a Chargers field goal, to extend the margin to 24-3, Chargers.  The Kansas City Chiefs, in over 900 games staged in franchise history, had never – not even once – in a game that counts (meaning non-preseason), had NEVER rallied from a three touchdown deficit. 

The only way the Chiefs were going to win that game, is to do something no Chiefs team, on any given Sunday, Monday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, or Wednesday, had ever done before.

Cue “The Text That Set Off The Comeback”.


I wish I was smart enough to know how to capture a screen shot of a text message.  Then again, I also wish I was wealthy enough to do whatever I want to do without working for it, so I guess I can wish in one hand and sh*t in the other, and you all can wager on which hand fills up first.

There was a suggestion made, after the Chargers field goal to extend the lead to 21, that it was time to leave, as at least 1/3 of the fans there on Sunday had already done.


I’ve been there, done that, watching an insurmountable lead in person.

Which is when I realized, I’d neglected the coozie, and the binoculars.

I did not stage this … and I defy you to believe in coincidence, after seeing this:

 (image credit: me via my iPhone 6.)

13 was disgusted, repulsed, absolutely offended at the notion of leaving this game early.  (Yeah, I know -- his arms are permanently extended, but work with it.  And if you doubt that's 13?  Look at his left sleeve.  That's dirt so bleeping earned, even Florida Georgia Line would have to respect it.)


"13 still has faith.  #rallytime". -- me, 1:48pm, across at least four different text messages, with the picture above attached.


Exactly two hours later, Alex Smith plunged into the end zone, in the corner I was sitting in, to deliver the greatest comeback in Chiefs franchise history to the record books.

Far better people than me have recapped the comeback.  I'll leave it to them to express their feelings over it, if only because I'm still trying to process mine.  The Chiefs took over possession of the ball with 11:08 to play trailing by seventeen points, 27-10.

They were tied barely ten minutes later, having never allowed a first down the rest of the way.

Every complaint about last year's playoff loss at New England?  Was answered with a "how you like them apples" response!  (Damned right that was chosen on purpose.)

The Chiefs take too long to score down multiple scores?  A barely two minute touchdown drive, to pull within ten.

The Chiefs don't understand game situation?  Settling for the field goal, to pull within seven.

The Chiefs cannot manage a two minute drill?  Not even ONE minute, possession of ball to end zone, to tie the game.

Andy Reid can't manage the clock?  A PERFECT handling of the clock entering the two minute warning (saving the last timeout, rather than burning it with 2:08 to play, to save eight seconds, because the timeout is more valuable than the eight seconds in that spot).

And the biggest complaint?

Was answered in overtime.

After this exchange occurred ...


“Oh Jesus!” – me, 3:10pm, via text message to The Chica.
“Sweet Jesus!!!!!!!” – me, 3:12pm, via text message to The Chica.
“What?” – The Chica, in response to me.
“Cheifs!” – me, 3:13pm, in response to The Chica. 
“That’s still on?  I turned that off at the half” – The Chica, in response.
“Turn it back on!  Now!” – me, channeling my inner late, great Randall Carlyle Wakefield, in response.

And after a minute or so’s pause …

“Holy sh*t!  How did this happen?” – The Chica, 3:16pm, via text message.


Alex Smith had never led a game winning touchdown drive as a Chiefs quarterback prior to Sunday.

He has now.

That entire fourth quarter rally, damned near most of the overtime, I kept pounding Seats 11, 12, and 13 in front of me.  

It's why I stuck around until nobody else who mattered to me or that I knew, was left standing in 132?  
To say what I said out loud, before I left the stadium.


"I've been pounding this bastardo today" -- me, 3:13pm, to Chris, via text message.
"Hey!  That's my seat!" -- Chris, in response.

(image credit: me, via my iPhone 6.)


I noted in the Texans playoff game recap, that 13 was an omen.

I first starting sitting in Section 132, when my seat number was 2.  The year was 2001.  I'd been moved back to Kansas City for pushing two years at that point, and up until that point, I'd been sitting with my buddy Jasson in 109 for the previous two years.  Then he met his significant other, who I got kicked to the curb for.  (Justifiably ... and dude, thanks for the advice and response, to the email I sent ya last week regarding The Chica.  I haven't replied yet ... but yours was the response, I most wanted to hear.)

I wound up in 132, next to Jasson's stepmom and dad, the late, great Randall Carlyle Wakefield, and the two folks who my parents would happily let adopt me if they simply asked, my Second Parents, Russ and Mona.  

I also wound up next to two other people who wound up adopting me in their own way (note: what is it about me that makes me so likable?  I haven't figured it out yet.  Please, feel free to express why I'm (barack obama to hillary voice) likable enough, in the comments, because I'll be damned if I get why I am.)

Those two people, are Chris and Greg.

(Note: if I can find the group picture from their wedding, Bye Week 2006, I'll post it here.  I have it on this laptop somewhere ...)


(OK, what stuns you more -- the binoculars are back on ... or the t-shirt never came off?  I lean t-shirt ... but I'm bribable.)

(image credit: me, via my iPhone 6.)


When I first starting sitting in 132, Greg and Chris were in 131.  The dividing line used to be between us.  Greg, Chris, Russ, and Mona were in 131; Randy, Nancy, and I were in 132.  Their seats used to be 25 and 26 in rows (again -- you believe in coincidence?  Because I don't) 25 and 26 ... and our were 1 (Randy) and 1 and 2 (Nancy and I).  I've detailed before the "last game of Chiefs games as they were"; I don't desire to turn this into a cry-cession that requires boxes of Kleenex.

Russ spent the fourth quarter and overtime pounding Seat 11, Section 132: Greg's former seat.  (Greg sadly passed away in October 2011, and God bless, do I miss him.)

Mona spent the fourth quarter and overtime pounding Seat 12, Section 132; Chris' former seat.  (And trust me girl -- you can sneak back in, when you return for the December games.)

I have to admit, I lied in my text to Chris -- yeah, I hit Seat 12 a bit ... but I was POUNDING Seat 13, Section 132.

Randy's old seat.


13 is an omen.

And I think it's a good one, Chiefs fans.

Because if you've ever seen "The West Wing" -- and if you haven't, you should -- one of my favorite episodes is from the last season, "Election Day".  You can pick which part you like better, uno or dos, but the end to Part Dos just does it for me:

(sk: I f*cked up the link.  Just hit the 36:00 mark, you'll get the point, when it pulls up.  God bless it, I can graduate from college in 3 1/2 years, and I cannot figure out a YouTube! embed link.)

Josh, overwhelmed by grief of what is gone, what is lost forever ... yet also overwhelmed by the possibilities to come, simply says the only two words that come to mind.

"Thanks, boss".

Which is why I said two words, leaving that stadium Sunday, I will never apologize for saying.

"Thanks, friends."

And then, I slapped Seat 11 (Formerly 25).  I really slapped Seat 12 (Formerly 26).

And I stopped ... 

... and cried, hugging Seat 13 (Former 26 1), for a solid minute.


Yeah, I cried on Sunday.  I know I got mocked for it on Facebook; I honestly don't care.

Because God help you, if you didn't cry, as a Chiefs fan, over what Sunday was.

The first step, in a long slow march, to something few if any people reading this, have ever witnessed before.

Greatness, out of the Red and Gold ...

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the third thursday thirteen ...

"So you're dancing on the ocean -- Running fast, along the sand. A spirit born, of earth and water -- Fire flying from your hand...