Jared Lankford: Chiefs fans caught the car, now what?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Growing up, we had a black chow dog that my sister affectionately named Prince.

The dog was a car chasing fool. While not much bigger than a beagle, Prince thought he was as macho as a full grown Saint Bernard and as fast as a greyhound.

If you came into our yard, he’d bark like there was no tomorrow. Cars that would pass our house would see his chocolate frame barreling after them with a full barking yelp ensuing, even though his short stubby legs were no match for the speed of the vehicle.

While one can never be sure what motivates dogs to want to chase cars, it is almost like it is built in their DNA. No matter how much we yelled at him to stop or any disciplinary action we took, Prince was bound and determined to catch one of those metal boxes passing our house.

On one occasion, as we were getting ready to leave, we saw the unmistakable dust cloud that signaled a car was coming down our road. Prince assumed his position at his self-appointed starting line and geared up for his pursuit.

Just as the car reached our property line, he began to run. Only this time, the car slowed and then stopped. The dog nearly tumbled head over heels. He didn’t know what to do. His foe had all of sudden presented itself and was attainable. Normally Prince would bark his head off, but on this occasion, he just looked at the car and waited, not knowing how to respond.

On Sunday, millions of Kansas City Chiefs fans, along with myself, experienced a tiny portion of that same confusion.

For 50 years, Kansas City and its fans have chased the car that contained the dream of a Super Bowl berth.

We ran, howled, barked and failed time after heartbreaking time to see that nirvana fulfilled. Fans were left with a hollowness and settling for being the bridesmaid and never the bride, but always reloaded for the chase the following year.

However, on Sunday, the car stopped and fans came face to face with that dream. Wile E. Coyote finally had caught the silly Road Runner of the Super Bowl berth.

So now what? What were fans to do? How were they to feel?

My Facebook feed lit up with red arrowheads. Friends began posting about the struggle of finally getting to the big game and the joy of finally reaching the plateau.

Jim Stuart, a government teacher of mine from 22 years ago, sent me a message congratulating the Chiefs. It was all just surreal.

Chiefs fans everywhere experienced the same thing. Monday was a day of posts by both friends on social media and national news stories remind fans that “Yes, it is real and yes, your team is in the Super Bowl.”

So now what? The car has been captured. What are the next steps for the fans?

Let Andy Reid, Kansas City coach, be the guide.

Reid took the podium to receive the Lamar Hunt Trophy and reminded the fans that there is still one more game left to go.

Asked at his weekly press conference on Monday how he celebrated the AFC title, he responded, “I had a cheeseburger and went to bed.”

His players have followed suit. Feb. 2 cannot get here soon enough. Chief fans are some of the most long-suffering individuals around. They need to hang on to the car as long as possible.

While Prince was dazed and confused by the one time he caught his car, he was ready to give chase when the next opportunity arose.

For Kansas City fans, they hope that catching the car does indeed become the new normal and Lombardi Trophies begin to rack up.

Jared Lankford is the sports editor of the Cassville Democrat. He may be reached at 417-847-2610 or at sports@cassville-democrat.com.

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