Some things are driven into your soul, usually by parents who don’t realize the impact they are having on their children’s mental makeup as they grow older. It’s clear that our behavior as adults was driven by how our parents raised us. Otherwise we wouldn’t repeat the same inane dialogue our parents used; the same phrases and verbiage that would make us gag and roll our eyes.
When it comes to sports, however, it is absolutely necessary and a parental duty to make sure your children root for “your” teams. These are the same teams that invoke strong adult memories of how great it used to be. When you would pore over the box scores in the newspaper because the game was still on the radio when you went to bed. In Kansas City, this creates a bit of a conundrum. You want your kids to be fans of the Royals and the Chiefs, and a lot of us are old enough to remember the “Glory Years”, when Mr. Kauffman gave us a team that infiltrated our very beings. And we remember Mr. Hunt, who in his later years finally decided to “go for it” and try to bring back a winner to this town.
But for our children, generations have gone by where they have never experienced a winner. This mostly applies to baseball, since the Chiefs have at least made some noise in the past 20 years. As parents, our local teams make it really difficult to foster the same loyalties that we created back in the 70′s and 80′s.
In some households, fathers insist on blind loyalty. In other homes, fathers have given up, and ESPN has chosen what teams and players kids now follow. As time goes on, that chasm between the hometown team and expectations widens so much that generations of fans have never seen success nor expect it.
Hopefully, the Royals and the Chiefs can breathe some life into the sporting lungs of our cities youths. Because apathy is knocking on the gates of the Truman Sports Complex, and sooner or later the parking lots will be filled not with barbecue grills, but the fading memories of a lot of fathers and sons.