I lived in Miami in 1972. Although I was very young, I do remember that the year was pretty historic for our community. It was because of the Miami Dolphins.
You’re probably chuckling, but back in the day, the Dolphins were the team to beat. But, in 1972, nobody did. They went undefeated—all the way through the Super Bowl. It was a memorable time.
I remember the electricity and excitement of that season and the thrill of winning the Super Bowl. In our neighborhood, after the game, people ran outside to celebrate. Most of them wearing Dolphins paraphernalia. Our neighbors were beeping car horns and celebrating loudly. My house, friends, community, and city celebrated triumphantly.
My wife and I have always chosen to bloom where we’ve been planted and supported the teams in the cities where we lived. That meant, when we moved to New Orleans in 1990, we supported the New Orleans Saints. Of course, in the ‘90’s, the Saints struggled. But it wasn’t about the team, it was about the community.
In 2001, we moved to Kansas City and instantly became Chiefs fans. We weren’t born in Kansas City, we were adopted. When I arrived at my office at KLJC radio, one of the gifts they presented me with was a Chiefs coffee cup. I was expected to be a Chief and I was proud to be part of the family.
The move to the Kansas City metro in 2001 was interesting. We had never lived in city that had a “border”. Working on the morning show at KLJC, I had to learn how to say strange phrases like, “the Kansas side” or “the Missouri side” and memorize two area codes, 816 and 913. It took a little getting used to.
In those early days, it was new and fun! When the kids were little and riding in the car, we loved to tell them, “We’re about to cross the state line!” It was a new experience for us.
Although most of the metro supported the Chiefs, one of the things that I found fascinating was that people had strong emotions about rival college teams. It became very clear to me early on that either you were a Tiger or a Jayhawk. I found out really quick that, to some, “Them was fightin’ words.”
Some people I met were alumni and had a dog in the fight. But others, just chose to support the team because of where they were located on an unseen boundary. Some lived in a house divided.
Although all Americans, it was a line that divided states, communities, and affections. For some, it just good fun. To others, it was very serious. It made me wonder, “What is it about boundaries and borders that unites or divides people? Why is it that some things bring us together and other things drive us apart?
I don’t support the Dolphins or the Saints any longer. I am a Chiefs fan and part of the kingdom. The year 2020 will go down as a remarkable year for our city.
Before the Super Bowl, it was exciting to drive around town. I would smile when I saw the promotional signs in people’s yards supporting the Chiefs. I enjoyed seeing people proudly display their red jerseys (most #15). Everybody was talking about the Chiefs road to the Super Bowl! This could be our year.
During the game, I’ve got to admit, I was one of the doubters. For most of the second half, I chose to accept the inevitable. I sat in a defeated, sullen state and uttered phrases like, “Well, we did well this season, but it just isn’t our year” and “We needed to experience this for next year.” It was the very reason I did not want to accept an invitation to watch the game at someone’s home. Although I try not to allow football games to control my emotions, sometimes, they do. I was glad to be home.
I wasn’t prepared for that unbelievable fourth quarter. In the back of my mind, I kept hearing Mahomes say, “Everyone knows KC’s on the rise, but what they don’t know is, we’re just getting started,” but I didn’t believe. I wanted to believe, but the evidence was overwhelming. I needed to protect my heart.
But then, something happened. A switch was turned on. In typical, Chiefs-like fashion, they did what they do best. The sleeping giant awakened, and the lion roared. The Chiefs believed, dug deep, and together, as one, they fought to win.
The crowd in Miami began to believe too. The sound of the tomahawk chop chant in Miami was thrilling and emotional. The people in the Power and Light District also believed and cheered their team to victory.
When the clock ticked to 00, my mouth was agape, and I was in unbelief. Phrases like, “We’re Super Bowl champs,” “We did it,” and “I can’t believe it” kept pouring from my mouth. The sound of fireworks outside was a wonderful crescendo to an emotional rollercoaster. The dried up well flowed with water once again. Some of the moisture found its way into Coach Reid’s eyes.
Having a Super Bowl champion team in Kansas City—again—ignited and unified our city. Putting aside our petty differences, we all celebrated being a part of the Chiefs Kingdom. We threw a huge party and even the kids were granted with a Red Snow Day in the Valley. The thrill of community is alive and well in Kansas City.
The experience reminded me of a greater, coming, eternal kingdom. It’s a kingdom that believers in Jesus have been waiting for for a very long time. But one day, the return of the King will usher in the establishment of His eternal kingdom where peace and righteousness will dwell.
I love one of the final pictures of the church in Revelation 7:9 which says that there will be, “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne.” The Lord is clear that in heaven, there are no barriers and no borders. We will all be one. And we all celebrate one color: red, the color of perfect sacrifice and selfless love.
It doesn’t matter where you were born, where you’ve lived, or what you’ve done. You’re invited to be part of this kingdom. And oh, there will be a party like you’ve never seen before.
Wayne Geiger is the Pastor of First Baptist Grain Valley, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Speech, and freelance writer.
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