Sunday, February 12, 2023

Super Sunday, Super Fan


In 1970, Jim and I lived in Manhattan, Kansas, while he finished his three-year commitment to Uncle Sam. We lived in an apartment on Humboldt Street a block off Poyntz Avenue. Every Sunday during football season, Jim turned on our small black and white TV and tuned into the football games, preferably to watch the Chiefs.

Jim came from a family that never watched sports so for the first few games he was a little puzzled about the rules of the games. “Why do the ‘downs’ start all over after a few plays?” he mumbled. Jim was a smart guy, and it wasn’t long before he had everything figured out and he was hooked on football. Jim became a Super Fan and every year, he cheered them on to victory, keeping the faith that they would play in the Super Bowl.

Lenny Dawson had just led the Chief’s to Super Bowl IV victory in January 1970 while Jim was in Vietnam. Jim was well aware of that win and had a personal interest in the Chiefs because Lenny Dawson volunteered at the Boy’s Club where Jim boxed.

When our kids were little and we still had our tiny black and white TV with three channels. The movie of the week was on Monday nights, but so was football. I would complain, but most of the time we watched football.

Eventually, I learned enough about the game to enjoy it, but the Chiefs were the only team I cared to watch. Whether the Chiefs’ had a down year or an up year, Jim never wavered. They were his favorite team.

After spending our summer vacations in Colorado, the Denver Broncos became his second favorite team. When the Broncos played the Chiefs, we always rooted for the Chiefs. One game we watched, the Chiefs were leading 19-6 with five minutes to play. As the game neared the two-minute warning, the Denver fans left Mile High Stadium in droves. In the last two minutes of play, John Elway threw two touchdown passes for a 20-19 win. Needless to say, the Denver fans were not happy to miss the excitement and we were not happy with the outcome.

Jim only went to Arrowhead Stadium one time to watch the Chiefs play. His friend Bill Wiser treated him to a game. The freezing rain didn’t interfere at all with the excitement of being in Arrowhead. I don’t remember whether the Chiefs won that game, but I know Jim was loud and proud of his Chiefs.

When Jim was in the nursing home, the staff always turned his TV to the football games. His eyes would be on the game, but he never reacted. Gone were the days when he outwardly cheered his Chiefs to victory, but I’m sure that inwardly, he was following the game.

I always hoped that the Chiefs would make it to the Super Bowl again during Jim’s lifetime, but it didn’t happen. Finally, it was on my bucket list that the Chiefs would make it to the Super Bowl during my lifetime. Now, here it is again, another Super Bowl with the Chiefs playing. I can hardly wait. Today, I’m wearing a Chiefs shirt that once belonged to Jim, the Super Fan. The lettering is a little cracked, but the colors are bright.

Jim proudly wore his Chiefs’ shirts no matter what kind of season they were having. In his heart, the Chiefs always won.

Copyright © February 2023 by L.S. Fisher


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