Anna Gonzalez ‘16 (@NDBlogGonzo)
I’m aware that I’m not Oprah, and my favorite things don’t actually matter, but whatever. I’m going to talk about this anyway.
It’s been a full week now since I got to go see Sporting Kansas City beat Toronto FC, 4-1 at Sporting Park, and I think I’m finally composed enough to talk about it. I should probably add that until last Saturday, I had never been to a major league sporting event of any kind. I’ve never been to an NFL game, I’ve never seen an MLB team play live, the NBA and NHL are foreign to me, and the PGA is something I only go to in my dreams. The MLS was my first, and I’m not disappointed.
My dad was born in Chicago but grew up outside of Kansas City, so generally speaking, we’re a Kansas City family. We pull for the Chiefs and the Royals in the NFL and MLB. When it comes to the NBA, we prefer college basketball over professional anyway. Dad doesn’t care too much about hockey at all, but he said if he were an NHL fan, the Blackhawks would be his team (Kansas City doesn’t have an NHL team). I just sort of follow in his footsteps with a few minor modifications and additions. My second favorite NFL team is the Green Bay Packers, which comes from my mom’s side of the family, and when it comes to the MLB, the Boston Red Sox are my #2 team. They have been for years and years (yes, I was a fan before they won the World Series in 2013), and I don’t know why or how it started, but there’s no point in questioning a good thing. I haven’t picked an NHL team to root for (yet). Another big addition I’ve made is Sporting Kansas City. Dad doesn’t care about soccer. I, in fact, love watching it, and I’m so glad my “home” team is the reigning MLS cup champs, had two World Cup players this year, and has a Notre Dame graduate on the team.
Toward the beginning of the summer, I pulled up the SKC schedule and looked to see if there were any games I could make it to, and there was just one. August 16 was the only day they’d be playing at home and I’d be around, so I texted my cousin who lives in Kansas City and is also an SKC fan to see if she’d want to go, and she did. YES. FINALLY.
This was the smoke after only two rounds of fireworks. They did two more after I took this. The field wasn’t completely clear until the 10th minute, and it was great.
Let me tell you, Sporting fans know how to do games right. The stadium atmosphere gave me chills. It’s one of those things that I don’t know how to explain. You just have to experience it. The combination of the pre-game fireworks, the Cauldron’s cheers, which is what the die-hard fan section is called, the air of Kansas City pride, and the beauty of the park made for a gameday experience like I’ve never seen before. They call it “The Blue Hell,” but it felt like heaven. I also got to interview Matt Besler (‘09) after the game, which was phenomenal. That article is on its way.
Leprechaun Legion, take notes. I wish we had that kind of pride at all Notre Dame sporting events. I know we have the threshold and resources for it, so I guess it’s up to us to make every stadium, field, and court on campus a heavenly Hell for everyone who visits.
Sorry. I couldn’t not take a selfie with the “Sporting” seats behind me, even though they only say “ortin” here.