Tag Archive: Kansas City


For a variety of reasons, the past few years I’ve only been in two cities: Los Angeles and Kansas City.  The ‘Reclaiming My Damn Life World Tour’ finally gets back on track in about a month or so.  Even if it begins in a place I’ve been too often, I still haven’t made that four hour road trip in way too long.

Think I can finish my last ‘writing’ in the next four weeks.  So this is mood music in a number of ways.



Baseball is back, and for the first time in 30 years, the hometown team is defending the AL pennant.

Let’s not make it another 30 years, gentlemen.


Be Royal



No politics or anything overly serious today.

As I’ve commiserated with some of my friends who can relate, this is going to be one of those weeks when it would have been nice to be home.

Monday night, Chiefs at Arrowhead. Tuesday night, Royals hosting a playoff game.

In the words of the great Shannon Sharpe, ‘utterly ridiculous.’

In my lifetime (and quite possibly, maybe never) have the Chiefs and the Royals been in the postseason in the same calendar year.

We’re not talking about championships now; just being in the dance to fight for the title.

(taking a moment for my sports fan friends to shake their heads in pity…)

So yeah, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Minnesota get their well deserved ‘doomed sports city’ props, but being a Kansas City native is rarely peaches and cream, let me tell you.

The 1985 World Series, if I’m being honest, is definitely a memory, but one of those cloudy ones that’s more useful to me to haze my St. Louis friends than to reflect on in great detail.

I spent my fair share of nights in Kauffman/Royals Stadium growing up.  I’m not even sure why it’s here in California, but I have in front of me the picture of when my name was put on the Royals Jumbotron in middle school for making the honor roll. (And that’s definitely a Kansas City type of thing; I’m willing to take the odds that the New Yorks and the L.A.s just have way too many kids to do that specific type of hands on, community building stunts.)

I’ve referenced on how my love for wrestling was in part built on watching the Nature Boy Ric Flair with my grandfather down South as a child.  You know what else Superstation TBS showed all the time during the summer?  That’s right, Atlanta Braves baseball games.  My grandfather loved baseball.  I was too young to figure out why; it was just one of those things that I knew.  And the only time I know of that he came to Kansas City to visit, guess what was the highlight of the trip?  That’s right, the whole clan going to Kauffman to watch a game.  My grandfather wasn’t a natural smiler (remind you of anyone?), but my memory of that night was of him enjoying himself.  And I appreciated it at the time, don’t get me wrong, but now that I’m firmly in the middle generation of the family tree (and he and some of my aunts and uncles are no longer with us), that memory is really, really special and vivid now.  More so than any World Series if I’m being completely honest.

So while the Dodgers are my National League team (and Dodger Stadium is obviously really historical and a special experience of its own), my attachment to my hometown team and stadium is quite strong.  Now let’s hope it’s not another 30 years before we can take some kind of pride in them.

I believe the current marketing slogans respectively are: Be Royal. Chiefs Kingdom.

Should be a fun week.



As this Ramadan ends, I thought I would have a lot to say.  But maybe not as much as I first thought.

Fasting has an interesting effect on the body and the mind.  I can only truly speak for myself, but I know of what it does to me and others: violent mood swings, fatigue comes extremely quickly, your discipline and stamina are stretched to its limits.  And inevitably, the sun sets and you can replenish yourself, you spend time with loved ones.  Even with the Holy Month, this is a luxury that is sometimes taken for granted.

In particular, being born and raised in the richest country on the planet, in a middle class lifestyle on my worst days, I’ve never truly had to worry about food or shelter.  I’ve always had several options on the two most basic human needs.  In terms of community, and being a part of a group, in that regard too, I have never really known of a time where there wasn’t someone I could call ‘family’, whether that was by blood relation or friendship.  I certainly take pride in being the Dark Knight, and my big brother gene enjoys poking people with a stick from time to time just for fun, but anyone paying any kind of attention knows that I have a deep affection for the Jayhawks, and Kansas City, and black women and all things in between if at the same time my actions show you that I’m not really the man who’s interested in ‘carrying the flag’ and wearing the ‘number one fan’ cap (more often than not because I see others who WANT to carry that flag, and desire goes a long way in the roles we play in life).

In this month, we try to wipe our slates clean from the sins we’ve committed. If I have done wrong to you, or done wrong by you, I sincerely apologize.  As arrogant as I know I am, and as much of a perfectionist as I know I am, I recognize that I’ll never be perfect, and in some form or fashion, I will always be dependent on others.  That’s what makes me (and you) human.

Truth be told, I still have a lot on my mind. (smiling)  But whether it’s maturity, or peace of mind, or knowing I’m going to work out, and drink coffee, and eat lunch again tomorrow, for now I’m done talking and just want to ‘do’.

Free Palestine.

Detroit, give the people their water back.

Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim brothers and sisters spread all over the globe.

All praise is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.



Knowing how to where a suit (preferably custom tailored from Michael’s in Kansas City if possible).  The Aviator shades.  Yelling through the lisp.  Being a A plus ‘Hollywood jerk’ who is SO ridiculous and over the top with the trash talk he’s pretty much daring you not to laugh with him.

Yeah, that’s the template.





Funny how quickly things change.

The past couple years when I’ve worn my Chiefs hoodie around town, I’ve been straight clowned.  It let everyone know where I was from, and the real sports fans respected me for representing my team when we were, with no argument, one of the worst teams in the League.  Beyond that, I’ve heard every cow town and farm joke I need to hear for the rest of my life (not counting all the loser jokes).

So yeah, at the halfway point, things are different right now.  Respectful nods in the grocery store, people gauging if I’m the vengeful ‘That’s right! We’re the best team in the league’ battered kid, or I’m the cautiously optimistic ‘Yeah, we look good, it’s nice to be relevant again’ type.  (There’s your answer to that question).

Anyway, the first time(s) I heard today’s song were on the Sundays/Mondays we got to go to Arrowhead and cheer the team on.  I haven’t been back in a couple of years so I don’t know if they still use it.

Anyway, start the week off right.



In Defense of Chiefs Fans

I knew today would be ‘OverReaction Monday’, but I got enough texts and emails today to grind my gears.  So for the vast majority of you who only got a 10 second clip of Arrowhead cheering Cassel’s injury (and the all day talking down to we got from the national media), let me give you some much needed perspective from a lifelong Chiefs fan.

First, the obvious: no it’s not cool or acceptable to cheer for anyone to be injured.  With the ‘sound bite’ context (as well as Eric Winston’s well stated frustration), I can’t deny that it looked really terrible.  But was Arrowhead cheering simply because the team is 1 and 4?  No, not remotely that simple.

Listen, any Chiefs fan who’s halfway paying attention knows Matt Cassel is one of the good guys.  He organized workouts during the NFL lockout, he’s been visibly active in the rebuilding of Joplin, and for the most part his teammates stand up for him.  Nice guy or not though, most Chiefs fans (myself included) felt our team was an elite quarterback away from taking ‘the next step’ (which for us means regular trips to the playoffs). We have Pro Bowlers in our defense, we have one of the league’s best running backs, we have debatably the most winnable division in football.  Again, Matt Cassel seems like a nice enough guy.  But at best, he’s a game manager.  He’s not Peyton Manning, who wouldn’t even give us a sit down this offseason.

Which brings us to…

Who I (and most Chiefs fans) have frustration with most Sundays. Our GM, Scott Pioli, rolled into town hyped up as ‘the brains behind the Patriots dynasty’, and he’s brought in as many of his guys as humanly possible (including Coach Romeo and Cassel).  But the honeymoon period has ended and things are swiftly moving in the wrong direction.  Pioli of course never takes the field, never has to stand on the sideline.  But the guy who most symbolizes his tenure as GM has to go under center.  At least he did until he got his block knocked off…

I can’t tell you the hometown fans will do right by Cassel and give him polite applause whenever he resurfaces.  The man was booed during the MLB Celebrity All Star Game for heaven’s sake.  I’m not even saying it was right to cheer his concussion…

But I understand.

2012 MLB All Star Week

Joe Posnaski and Kent Babb have both written worthwhile pieces about what this week means to my hometown from the sports columnist point of view; but as someone who spent his childhood going to Royals (now Kauffman) Stadium, I felt like throwing in my two cents…

As best as I can remember, my grandfather only came to Kansas City once.  I don’t recall ever having any long conversations with him (part of my family’s tradition is clearly the men are all ‘strong and silent’ types), but I do know he loved baseball.  I have vivid memories of watching the Braves with him every summer when I would go down South, so if we did nothing else the one summer he came up to see us, we were going to see the Royals play.

As I’m typing this, I just realized my favorite memory of my godmother is also part of this story.  See, this was also the summer of my very first job.  I was bagging groceries at the grocery store down the street from home.  I’ll never forget this; even after I explained that my grandfather was in town all the way from Louisiana, my boss told me I would be let go if I went to the game with my family.  So I told this to my godmother and WELLLLLLLL…. long story short, I went to the game with my family AND I still had that minimum wage job to go back to.  These were the good times.  I don’t even recall who the Royals played, or if they won or lost, the memory as you can see, is about family.

However brief the moment will last, it will be nice to see Kauffman as the center of the baseball universe for a couple of nights.  Hopefully the fountains are tuned up and ready to put on a show for a national audience.

Until next time…

So as of today, one of the 5 greatest quarterbacks of all time will be free to ‘attempt’ (a word that can’t be used strongly enough) to add a few more years to his first ballot Hall of Fame career.  My team, the Kansas City Chiefs, is one of the teams considered to have a realistic chance at giving Peyton Manning a couple more years to see if he still has it.  Young defense on the rise, solid above average skill players on offense, we definitely have more than some other teams to offer someone who wants to win now (which Peyton is obviously going to want to do.)  I’ve heard skepticism about if it’s in the Chiefs’ best interest to bring Peyton on for a couple of years.  My counter to that is simple: how quickly you forget…

In my lifetime as a Chiefs fan, the ‘good times’ are few and far between.  There have been no Super Bowl championships.  As a matter of fact, I’ve watched all three of my division rivals (the Raiders, the Broncos and the Chargers, THE CHARGERS!) at least make it to Super Bowl Sunday.  My memories are of Lin Elliott.  My memories are of Priest Holmes getting the Bo Jackson injury.  My memories are Herm Edwards screaming ‘WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!!!’ (OK that last one has provided plenty of amusement but you see my point…)

Now do you want to know what my single greatest memory as a Chiefs fan is?  It’s not one of those 2 or 3 playoff victories or that year we needed 8 dominoes to fall on the last day and they all fell and we snuck in the playoffs.  It was October of 94, Monday Night Football, Chiefs at Mile High.  The Original Denver Broncos Quarterback I Couldn’t Stand, John Elway had led his team down the field in the 4th Quarter as he always does, and it looked like I stayed up late for nothing (again).  But this time we had Joe Montana.   Well past his prime, his best days behind him, playing mostly to prove the San Francisco 49ers shouldn’t have pushed him out the door even though he was coming off an injury that everyone had a right to feel had ended his career.  When Joe took us down the field and got us the win in Denver (which we never did in those days), I think I was pumping my fist and yelling as loud as he was.  Going to school the next day and bragging about it to my friends who turned off the game early only made it sweeter (we didn’t have the internet in those days kids).

Joe took us to an AFC Championship Game too of course, but beating one of our worst rivals on their turf is the memory that I hold closest.  You get a chance to get a player who has ‘It’, and maybe gives you a 2 to 3 year window to get to the Super Bowl, you do it.  You just do it.  That’s how I feel.

In the absence of a high quality video of the Monday Night Miracle, I instead offer this clip, which in also one of the greatest moments of my childhood as a Kansas City Sports Fan:

Now Stick That In Your Pipe and Smoke It!


So if you’re like me, you’re probably still digesting your giblets.  Got an extra day off work.  If you’re really like me, you’re avoiding anything that remotely resembles a shopping center this weekend.  So what do you do hot shot, what do you do?

I’ll tell you what to do; you can catch “Lady In My Life’ on African-American Short Films!  This weekend,  the film plays in both my native and my adopted hometown:

Odessa-Midland  Station: KPEJ / FOX   Date: 12/02 Time: 4:00AM

Toledo  Station: WMNT/MYTV   Date: 11/25 Time: 2:00PM

Waco-Temple-Bryan  Station: KWKT/FOX   Date: 11/27 Time: 3:30AM

Waco-Temple-Bryan  Station: KYLE/MYNET   Date: 11/27 Time: 3:30AM

Kansas City  Station: KMBC / NBC   Date: 11/27 Time: 12:30PM

Jackson, MS  Station: WAPT / NBC   Date: 11/27 Time: 12:00PM

Los Angeles  Station: KCBS / KCAL   Date: 11/28 Time: 4:00AM

I know for a fact the Chiefs don’t play until Sunday night this weekend, all the more reason to get a little joy on the television this weekend before the bitterness and frustration kick in.

Hope everyone is having a nice Thanksgiving weekend!


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