The Wichita sports scene sucks, we all know that. But if you grew up in Wichita or any one of the country-bumpkin towns in the surrounding area, the massive metropolis is an elongated and stretched-to-the-max heart-string that can easily be plucked.
I grew up all over the country so my favorite teams drape all the way from the Bay Area to Boston and Detroit to our lovely university in Orem. I love sports and I don’t care what it involves. I will watch old ladies playing shuffle board on a cruise ship floating off the coast of Florida if it’s on ESPN, but there is no comparison in excitement with the locals in the Windy City to Utah.
Tonight, literally an hour ago, I was in a cab driving from my hotel in downtown Chicago during the Notre Dame game against Pitt. The cabbie seemed nervous, at first I thought in some bizzaro world I was the one with B.O. and not the cab driver. But for a split second, he quickly turned on the meter and switched on the radio just as the score was tied up in the second overtime and then switched it off again.
I instantly recognized the agony and anxious nausea that passed over “Cabbie” as he realized his undefeated Fighting Irish were headed to a third overtime, putting their unblemished resume on the line as well as the nerves of millions of tormented fans. Just in case you missed it, Pitt kicked a field goal and Notre Dame came back with a touchdown to keep up the perfection.
As a sympathetic Red Sox torture victim that knows the highs and lows of fandom, I encouraged my new found friend to turn on the radio and turn it up. I asked for the run-down on what happened up to that point and faster than a Wichitonian could spit out a wad of chewin’ tabackie, his pain was my pain and our pain made it less painful for him as he drove me to my destination.
The closest I can relate to the big-time is athletics at BYU or Utah (sorry Utah St. you missed the cut), but I hate to break it to Cougar and Ute Nation, your fans are far to accepting and forgiving to your teams. Two words: Jake Heaps. Two more words: Riley Nelson. Being a fan of your team in the Windy City means you will curse-out and criticize them to no end, even when your on top. There is no such thing as lasting satisfaction for fans of big city teams, there is never enough.
For BYU football, 1984 and their reputation as the quarterback factory seems to be enough. And that’s just fine for them. As long as their name still rings a bell nationally, they don’t get arrested, the players still headline “Fireside-Night-Live” and they do their home teaching, fans are content to let future NFL players transfer and a glorified fullback take over the prestigious position of “The quarterback of Brigham Young University.
And Utah is just content to be number two. I mean we all know that they would have destroyed Alabama that year, right? What does this all mean for Wolverines stuck looking out the window at construction for what will be? It is what it is. That’s about it.
Enjoy our teams, enjoy the chance of watching something better than “old blue-haired shuffle board” or the World Series of Poker. We aren’t Chicago or New York, but at least we aren’t Wichita.