i’m kansas city born and raised. i have an unbelievable amount of pride for my home town. i currently live thousands of miles away in seattle but i represent hardcore for my sports teams and my city week after week. tonight, as we lick our wounds and cry our tears of sadness at losing the world series, i’m reminded of all the things i learned this season.
when you grow up in kansas city, you learn early to deal with disappointment. our sports teams consistently let us down. we’ve had some of the longest championship droughts in the history of sports. year after year, we pack the stadiums, sporting our team proud on our heads and bodies, only to finish last. we’ve gotten used to it. so when our teams enjoy a winning streak, we’re a little apprehensive even as we cheer them on in victory. it’s a lot like the half hand raise when you’re unsure of your answer in class but no one else spoke up. maybe we’re excited, but not too excited.
when you think about it, that’s a sucky way to live. i prefer to live in a state of pure awesomeness and so i’m going to share my lessons learned from this season of royals baseball.
loyalty isn’t predicated on winning
when you think about diehard fans, you think of those who show up at the games when it’s 10 below zero (yes, that happens in kansas city) naked with body paint to cheer for the home team. you might also think about the fans who continue to buy season tickets even when we have a string of losing seasons. these are the people you see on tv as you’re half watching the game, half doing laundry from the comforts of your living room. they’re loyal. also, a little crazy, but definitely loyal. see, a loyal person doesn’t require you to win, or make them happy all the time. they are there for you simply because they are connected to you. we all need loyal people in our lives. whether they agree with our decisions or life choices or not, we need people who will be there for us when things fall apart, when we have big wins, or when we have no idea what to do next. as i took notice of the amazing season the royals were having this year, i’m thankful for the loyal fans who kept me updated all season long with each win and loss. it is because of the loyal fans i knew to start paying attention. the loyal fans are often unsung. i encourage you to take a look around you and notice your loyal fans. celebrate them. show some gratitude. you couldn’t survive without them.
celebrate every victory
when you make it to the world series it’s easy to get caught up in the glory of taking the crown. the crown is the ultimate prize and of course you want to be the top dog. but the reality is, you have to have a lot of victories along the way as you journey to the big dance. the royals had some phenomenal victories this season. our wild card game is the stuff of legends. if we fail to celebrate those amazing victories because we didn’t win the crown, we rob ourselves of some seriously joyful moments. life is a series of victories and defeats. some seasons will be more defeat than victory. and others it will feel like all you do is win. regardless of the season you find yourself in, take time to celebrate – passing a test, paying all your bills on time, knocking out that presentation at work, or winning the american league championship. you did a great job and you need to recognize that greatness with a celebration.
everyone on your team matters
whether it was pitching, outfield catching, short-stop throwing, or base coaching, the royals showed us what team work means. every single person on our roster showed up and showed out game after game. there are always superstars in our midst. they get the big hits, make the flashy plays, and sell the most jerseys, but they are nothing without their team. baseball is a team sport. life is a team sport. the american mythology of billionaires pulling themselves up by their bootstraps is exactly that, myth. everyone needs people. and if you’re trying to live life in isolation, you definitely need more people. but you don’t need people just to hang around. you need people to help you succeed. i’m talking about the catcher who can anticipate your pitch, or the short-stop who finds himself in the right place at the right time, or even the left fielder who can fill in the gaps when stuff gets passed you. we all need a team, and everyone on your team matters, so treat them like the superstars they are in your life.
stay royal no matter the outcome
there will be things you want so badly in life you can taste them. i’m talking about that crown that has eluded you for 29 years. and when you get so close it’s in your reach, it’s easy to fall apart when the crown escapes your grasp. i know it hurts. i mean gut-wrenching pain. but how you respond in those moments of great loss, say more about your character than how you respond in moments of victory. in in the cases when you do win, still, show some class. be a gracious winner. we’ve all heard of the sore loser, but there are also sore winners. in our chase to take the crown, i was thrilled to be remained over and over and over to #beroyal. why? because your character is who you are in all situations. we should strive to be good people with good character no matter what is happening around us. a devastating loss is hard to take. right now my heart aches for our loss, and the idea that we were so close. but you know what? i could not be prouder of the way we played, the way we stood together, and the way we made kansas city look like a world-class place to live. for that, i will always be royal.
i want to send a very sincere thank you to the 2014 american league baseball champs, my kansas city royals, for showing us what it means to be loyal, victorious, team players, and in the end, true royalty. my hats off to you. and i can’t wait to see what next season brings! you are loved!