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They're Passionate

And Man, They Can Tailgate

Henry Lake
April 06, 2017 - 12:33 pm

What I’ve learned in 4 years from Kansas City Sports fans

Man it’s so crazy, but as the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun.” I moved to Kansas City from Minneapolis, Minnesota in April of 2013.  It’s been exactly 4 years and boy has it been a journey.  As a native Minnesotan, I was looking forward to something new, fresh.  A city that I could explore and meet new people.  More than anything, enjoy a new opportunity to live in a city that I’d heard about but didn’t know all that much about.  As a kid growing up, you develop pride in where you’re from.  We all do.  It’s your identity.  I didn’t want to change my identity, I wanted to expand my identity and grow my life experiences.  So Kansas City, here I come!!

My first thought about moving to Kansas City wasn’t about the barbecue.  That was second. The first thing that came to mind when I thought of the possibilities is how cool it will be with so many Division 1 schools in close proximity to me when it comes to covering college basketball and football.  That was so appealing to me. The University of Minnesota is the only division 1 school in both those sports.  So knowing that I would get the opportunity to cover Kansas University, Kansas State University, University of Missouri and Wichita State University, it made me immediately excited. 

With that excitement about checking out the college front, was also doubled when I knew that was headed to the radio home of the Kansas City Royals.  And joining a group of guys that love covering the beloved Kansas City Chiefs.  Add in that I had never been to a MLS soccer match or a NASCAR race, it was clear to me that there were endless possibilities.

I bring up all of this to talk about the Kansas City sports fan.  Kansas City sports fans are pretty amazing.  There is a passion for sports here unlike I’ve seen before.  I had heard before moving here that tailgating at Arrowhead Stadium was a bucket list thing to do for any sports fan.  And they were not lying!! Sports fandom in Kansas City is different than other places I’ve been.  It’s  unreal.  Other than Minneapolis, I’d spent 5 years in Atlanta, Georgia.  And everybody knows that Atlanta is one of the biggest cities in the country, with many colleges and professional sports teams.  But between those two cities, the way the towns and fans of the teams interact with each other, the anticipation and love for sports here is unrivaled.

Atlanta and Minneapolis have a ton of citizens who don’t ever pay attention to what is going on with their sports teams, until they are on the verge of some major accomplishment.  They’ll checkout, and be honest with you about it.  The fandom is rather bandwagon if you ask me.  Hey, I’m not ripping the fans that are bandwagon, just giving an honest assessment.  Citizens from both the Missouri side and Kansas side are in tune to what is going on.  Every car that passes you on the roadways has some sort of decal from a local college or pro sports team.  Is it because there are more things to do in bigger cities?  Maybe.  But it doesn’t explain the synergy that teams have with their fanbases.  It’s more than a per capita situation to me.

I love it.  The good vibes when the team wins.  Even a bad attitude when your team loses.  Why?  Cause you care.  You care deeply about the teams you invest in emotionally.  I cannot tell you what it felt like to be around this town when the Royals won the World Series in 2015 to when I was a senior at Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1995 when the Atlanta Braves won the World Series.  It doesn’t compare.  At all.

I think when it comes to sports, the residents of Kansas City should be really proud of this fact.  That we love our teams so much.  That the investment that you have gets passed down to your kids and it’s in your blood.  I don’t doubt that most other cities don’t have that, but it’s something that since I’ve been here I could never question.  There are diehards all across the globe.  Kansas City can hang our hats on the fact that we can hang with the best of them.  And it’s real, not fake.

You can hear me Henry Lake daily on The Day Shift daily between 10-2


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