I Am #ChiefsKingdom
Fall is my favorite time of the year for many reasons, but the primary reason is the return of one thing: Football.
Anyone who knows my family knows that we are diehard Kansas City Chiefs fans, and that we have been for a hella long time. Some of my first memories are in Chiefs clothes. There’s one particular video of Royce’s birthday of him dancing in a baby Chiefs jersey somewhere around here — Mom still thinks it’s precious.
I went to my first Chiefs game somewhere around the age of 6, though I don’t have much memory of it — or any at all that isn’t stories I’ve been told. Regardless, I grew up knowing that the Chiefs were important, even if I couldn’t fully appreciate it as a child. My parents went to games frequently and always came home having great stories to tell about the games. The Chiefs didn’t always win, but that hardly mattered. Pride was what was important. I was a member of the Chiefs Kids Club, or whatever it was called. I had a Chiefs Cheerleader outfit. I have pictures with KC Wolf.
Basically, I grew up a Chiefs fan. And because of that, I’ve always known one thing for certain about my team and my Chiefs Kingdom:
Arrowhead is the loudest stadium in the NFL — and proud of it.
I started actively going to games in 201o. I went to two games that year. One against the 49ers, and one against the Bills. My parents took me that year after the renovation of the stadium, and it was the first games I’d been to that I really remember. I loved it. The atmosphere, the game, the tradition. It’s incredible. I’d been told stories since I was little about the power of Arrowhead Stadium, but it’s nothing like experiencing it yourself.
I didn’t go to any games in 2011 or 2012, but when the subject came up in 2013 to go to games, I leapt at the opportunity. We bought our tickets in July for two games: the home opener against the Dallas Cowboys and an October game against the Oakland Raiders. It was somewhere around this time that the one thing I knew to be certain started to be challenged. Seattle wanted to take our title of loudest stadium for their own. That’s around the time that the Guinness Book of World Records came in. Some stadium in India had the record before, and Seattle ended up breaking it, officially claiming the title of Loudest Stadium in the World.
And my family, like most of the Chiefs Kingdom, said that this wasn’t okay.
So at the October 13th game against the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs fans decided to go for the record themselves. And after one of the most amazing games I’ve witnessed at Arrowhead, we did it with an ear shattering 137.5 decibels. And that felt loud to me. For the year that’s followed, my ears ring occasionally and there’s actual pain with loud noises. 137 decibels is almost the equivalent of standing 100ft away from a jet engine. Crazy loud.
Easily the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of.
Or at least, it was, until Seattle took the record back a few weeks later with a roar of 137.6 decibels, only slightly above our record. And in my family, the news was devastating. And like most Chiefs fans, we’ve argued for a year that Seattle’s quasi-domed roof isn’t technically an open air stadium. Now don’t get me wrong: I totally respect the Seattle fans because it’s incredibly hard to get that loud. I just don’t agree that we should be in the same category of stadium for the record. But whatever, for the most part we let it go. Not having a world record did not mean that we weren’t incredibly loud that day, or that we as Chiefs fans were any less passionate.
So life goes on, and in the 2014 Football season we decide to go to two games. The home opener against the Titans and the Monday Night Game against New England. As it turned out, this season would have two firsts for me. My first loss, and my first Monday Night Game. The Titans game was devastating. I’d had a winning record at Arrowhead until that point, and it was crushing to walk out of that stadium in defeat and make a nearly four hour drive home. Regardless, I was still so excited to go to the Monday Night Game. I’d been told for years that Arrowhead is simply magical at night and I couldn’t wait to see it.
The Monday Night Game was special not only for being my first night game, but I’d also convinced my best friends to attend their first NFL game as well. I was ecstatic about it. I talked about it frequently. For the weeks leading up to the game, I told anyone that would listen about my excitement to go to my first night game. To go with my best friends and my family.
So of course, you can imagine my excitement when the Chiefs announced that we were going for the world record again that night. Again, we’d be attempting to do something that was incredibly cool. And again, I would be in attendance.
When I got to the game last night, I could barely handle how excited I was about the world record. Mom, in one of her pregame questions, asked the family which we wanted most: a Chiefs win or the world record. I sheepishly had replied that I wanted the record more, though I’d settle with a win. But I really, really, really wanted that record and I was going to scream as loud as I could in the hopes that we’d get it. I wanted it this time even more than I’d wanted it last time.
As it turns out, my parents were right. Monday Night Games are magical. There was something different about stadium after dark. I’d grown up hearing and experiencing the power of Chiefs fans, but it was really nothing like last night. Everyone — and I mean everyone — was on their feet screaming their lungs out. Mom, Malissie, and I had drank our water bottles early and thrown a few pennies in each one as noisemakers. All of us were screaming. All of us wanted it.
During a few plays in the first quarter, I remember Mom and Malissie leaning over to me and saying that they saw 140-something decibels on the scoreboard. And it was loud. Louder than last time, and more constant. It was crazy. In the second quarter, right as Malissie and I were coming out of the bathroom, I happened to look out one of the sections as we were going back to our seats to see the official announcement that we’d gotten the record. Not by a measly .1 decibels either. We’d broken the record. 142.4 Decibels.
I have never been more proud.
For the rest of the game, all I could think about is how proud I was. This is what it’s like to be a Chiefs fan. It’s yelling and screaming and being loud and being proud of your team. It’s jumping up and down and getting excited and loving your team no matter what. My parents talk all the time about their Arrowhead of the 90s and how loud it was, but I think this is better. This is my Arrowhead. It’s loud and it’s proud and it’s the best place in the world.
And it’s not the loudest stadium in the NFL. It’s the loudest stadium in the world.
I like to think this is what my parents prepared me for. This is the magic that they told me about. Because it is magical. It’s amazing. It’s home, and I can’t wait to go back.