Game day is every day

Football in stadium (Photo: Marcus Millo/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
Football in stadium (Photo: Marcus Millo/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
Football in stadium (Photo: Marcus Millo/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
Photo: Marcus Millo/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl last night. I’m still in disbelief. The gas station and the grocery store were both sold out of the Kansas City Star. I better submit this column soon so I can go find a copy …

I have a strange relationship with the Chiefs. My dad introduced me to the NFL when he’d take me to the Hawk’s Nest at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., for his fantasy football drafts. Dad would bring me to that smoky bar as his sidekick and tell me to announce his picks to the room as if they were just called in from the front office or something. Back then, they tracked scores with pen and paper, checking stats in the Monday edition of the Wichita Eagle-Beacon.

We rooted for the Bears and the Lions — the Bears because Dad was from northwest Indiana, the Lions because they had Barry Sanders, a product of Wichita South High School. It didn’t matter much to me who won or lost in the NFL, as long as Dad’s fantasy team was winning.

In high school, I took a job waiting tables. The Chiefs mattered to me then because they ruined business. A Chiefs game guaranteed no one came to the restaurant. With a new Camaro to pay for, I would cuss the Chiefs every game day for hurting my wallet.

Then college came along, I moved closer to Kansas City, and all my roommates were rabid Chiefs fans. Slowly I learned to love them. I also learned not to take a job at a restaurant without a full bar and televised Chiefs games.

Now, over the last 20 or so years as a real working stiff, I’ve watched the Chiefs with great enjoyment. I’d attend a game every now and then, scoring tickets to a suite a few times. I also got to play Top Golf at Arrowhead Stadium when the game came around, so I’ve hit a few 7 irons from the second deck. I once used my job as an excuse to visit the head groundskeeper and see the inner workings of the field. But mostly I’d watch from home, with the family milling about in the background.

When the Chiefs won, somehow that meant I won, even though I did nothing to affect the game in any way. This is just how fandom works for some people and what makes it fun. If your team wins, you feel like a winner. And if they lose? The fun comes in questioning the decision making of the coach and the performance of the players. Why wouldn’t they run the ball in that situation? Why did they go for it on fourth down there? If it were up to me, I’d cut the kicker today!

It’s easy and fun to do this because we, the fans, had no say in the game. We’re armchair quarterbacks.

The opposite is true in our day-to-day lives, in the businesses we run, the companies we work for. We’re the starting quarterback, the head coach and the general manager all rolled into one. A bad coaching decision could lead to lost income, an injury or worse. A mistake at our work won’t make SportsCenter, but it could affect the lives of the people who depend on us. The stress is real because the consequences are real.

The Super Bowl only comes around once a season, and if you’re a Chiefs fan, depending on your age, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But in our businesses, every day is a regular-season game to be won or lost. Every fiscal year is a Super Bowl to be won or lost.

So, I’ll allow myself a few minutes to enjoy this win, then it’s back to work. Because last night’s Super Bowl victory is sweet, but today is a new game to win or lose. Every day is a game day.

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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