• Jeff Fox: There's always something else to do

  • For the last several months I’ve been doing a little experiment. I’m happy to report the test subject – me – seems to have survived.

    I just said no to football, more or less.

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  • For the last several months I’ve been doing a little experiment. I’m happy to report the test subject – me – seems to have survived.
    I just said no to football, more or less.
    That’s a dicey thing to say in this town, which I have always taken to be more of a football town more than anything else, with baseball and college basketball tied for a distant second, NHL hockey sadly out of the picture and the arts, well, somewhere in the top 10, I hope. But hear me out on this.
    When the whole bounty scandal – guys getting paid to intentionally injure other guys and take them out of the game – came to light last spring, I said that’s it. I can acknowledge the inherent violence in football, hockey and other sports and even rationalize it on the basis that there are rules, limits and penalties to keep things in check.
    But this was too much. So who needs it?
    It gets complicated, of course, and quickly. I believe a fan is a fan, whether the team is winning, losing or being robbed by those lousy refs. I have suffered through more bad years than good with the Chiefs, but I have fond memories of Otis Taylor high-stepping in the end zone in Super Bowl IV, and those memories nudge you into coming back. (Yeah, do the math: I’m sort of old.)
    It’s not that I planned to entirely block out the Chiefs. It’s not that I’m not a fan. I live here, I read the papers, I hear the radio. You cannot avoid knowing in some general way how the Chiefs are doing without some extraordinary effort.
    And there’s this: It’s a lot easier to say you’re going to tune them out if – even for a total non-expert such as I – it was clear they were going to be somewhere between bad and really bad. Who knows how my high-toned stance might have shifted if they’d have headed into December at 8-4?
    But I didn’t go to a game. I caught a quarter on TV here or there, but I didn’t plan my Sunday afternoons around them. Actually, I was acutely aware that the Chiefs were even worse than projected, but what I really tuned out – and didn’t miss – was the other 31 teams. On a multiple-choice test, I might get pretty close on who made the playoffs, mostly because my son gives me constant, unsolicited updates and analysis, but don’t ask me for odds on the Super Bowl.
    And life went on. Did I spend that time reading Hemmingway? No. Did other sports-watching go up? No, but that might be because we’ve had another infernal hockey lockout up to now. No, it turns out that life is always full of other stuff to do. (There also are limits to “no.” I made time for Missouri Tiger football, and I even attended a William Chrisman game. We won!)
    Page 2 of 2 - The Chiefs have begun cleaning house. That was overdue. They will get better, at least in the sense that they could hardly get worse. My attitude will soften over time. Fans forget the last scandal as soon as the next one comes along, and maybe I will too.
    For now, basketball is in full swing. I’m not quite outraged enough about the hockey lockout to turn off the TV when the truncated season opens this weekend. For the first time in many, many years, the Royals head into the spring with realistic hopes of being competitive. The Chiefs? Well, they’re my team, and the NFL will work its way back into my good graces, for what that is worth.
    I don’t know if the experiment will be worth repeating, but there are always plenty of things to do on a pleasant Sunday afternoon in the fall.
    Follow Jeff Fox on Twitter @FoxEJC. Reach him at jeff.fox@examiner.net.

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