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Image by Annie Spratt
  • Writer's pictureEthan Voss

Feels Like Home

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

It seems different this year. There is still a flag above my bed. There is still a flag above my desk and another next to my closet. A red pennant still hangs by two thumb tacks above my window. A four-foot poster of Travis Kelce is still fixed to my door reminding me to charge into each and every day as I leave my room. Two boxes of Mahomes Magic Crunch cereal still rest on my shelf and display the four letters in the middle of his jersey spelling out ‘HOME,’ a constant reminder of my roots in Kansas City. While all of these things have remained the same over the past three years, this Super Bowl feels different. Typically I will have recently enjoyed a thrilling series of games sitting in my living room with my parents screaming at every throw with seconds left on the clock. It fascinates me how a one-night television event can unite an entire region while the majority of the world could not care any less about it.

When I moved to Tennessee in 2020, I was still riding high on the victory the Chiefs delivered to my city in February before the entire world shut down only a month later. Football was truly the main thing that kept my highschool friend group intact as we texted and facetimed to discuss the highs and lows of each big game moment each following season. I long to be back at the golf club in Kansas City on that cool February night three years ago as we celebrated the first major win in fifty years with our families overlooking a full horizon of nonstop fireworks while laughing and screaming about being world champions. There is nothing I wish that I could do more than make the five minute drive to sit next to my grandfather and cheer on the Chiefs in his living room decorated with red blankets while drinking water out of tervis cups boasting the arrowhead emblem. Big games are meant to be watched together as fans are able to bring back the childhood excitement and energy they once felt surrounding the Super Bowl.

Deep in the heart of Titan territory I often find myself escaping on Sunday afternoons to watch games alone to avoid being heckled by fans of a team who was eliminated from playoff contention over a month ago. While I feel they have no room to talk, they continue to attempt to ruin my viewing experience while hunting for flaws about my hometown team. Even though I turn on every game to feel more at home each weekend, something seems different. The commercials of my favorite quarterback eating cereal at our local HyVee grocery are replaced with random legal offerings from Tennessee law firms along with cuts to random school board news in Jackson rather than getting to see the party going on in downtown Kansas City at the Power and Light District. Back home, as soon as the pregame coverage begins, every television turns on and the entire town shuts down for four hours.

One year ago when Kansas City beat Buffalo in overtime in one of the NFL's craziest games in history, I hid behind a blanket shaking as my heartrate broke 170 bpm with the fear that we could be eliminated with one failed play. My parents were screaming at the TV as we lost our minds together when Travis Kelce caught the game winning touchdown and ignited an hour of fireworks, dynamite, and every other type of explosive my neighbors could blow off in celebration. This past week as the Chiefs beat the Bengals to advance to the biggest event of the year, I was watching the game on my phone during a Lambda Chi meeting. I sat silent as my fraternity brothers roasted me with every dropped ball or foul called on the Chiefs as I felt like all the pressure was against me. When the field goal was good to send our team to Arizona, there was no one to hug, scream alongside, or fireworks to watch outside after the game. Rather than jumping in my living room in front of the television, I slid the video to the top of my screen to text my dad and grandpa as they filled me in on the excitement back home. I wish I was in Kansas City.

Just like the past few weeks, I will most likely watch the game from my couch in my dorm. While I wish I could watch the game with the only other diehard fan I know in Jackson, I recognize that our shared viewing of the game is a curse to Chiefs Kingdom as we have lost every single game we have watched together. You have to make sacrifices sometimes to win and I get to do my small part by not joining Mr. Scott in his Chiefs man cave until the confetti finally falls late Sunday night. I will have to go to school on Monday. There will be no parade in Jackson and my television will show the local WBBJ news after the game rather than FOX4 Kansas City showing an ecstatic fan base raising the banners at Union Station downtown. I do not have a spirit week at school and there is no Chiefs theme at the Union University basketball games this weekend. Even though I wish I could take in the viewing of the Super Bowl in front of the tv in my living room next to my parents more than anything in the world, I love living out the feeling of home through them as they keep me updated with all the festivities happening in KC. While my season ends on Sunday night around ten o’clock, I know my family will continue to celebrate for weeks. Even through this sad reality, I will do my part and wave my flag, eat my Mahomes cereal, and scream at my television by myself in hopes of bringing another ring home to Kansas City.

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