Newsletter Posts

The Kansas City Chiefs

February 16, 2024

When I was a kid, growing up on the North Shore of Long Island, Shea Stadium was the nearest sports facility. It was built at the same time as the 1964 World’s Fair. Some of my earliest memories are visiting that World’s Fair and going to ballgames at Shea. Back then, New York was home to an array of teams – the Bronx and Manhattan had the Yankees, the Giants, the Knicks, and the Rangers; Queens and Long Island had the Jets, the Mets, the Nets, and the Islanders.

I saw Willie Mays play his final year as a ballplayer. I got to see the 1969 Mets with Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, and Bud Harrelson. A team that went from near last to World Series champs, urged on by the Sign Guy, who encouraged Mets crowds with such signs as “You Gotta Believe.” I wonder sometimes whether that message was etched in my psyche from watching the Miracle Mets.

I remember falling hard for Joe Namath. Even when you’re 7 or 8 years old, you understand cool. In 1968, Broadway Joe wore his hair long, taped his shoes white, threw passes downfield, and guaranteed us a Super Bowl. 55 years later, I’m still waiting for a return trip.
If you’re a sports fan, you might still follow the team of your youth. You might now live in a different town or state, but there’s nothing like your first sports love.

It’s like imprinting – as a young fan, you first gain a sense of identity. That’s your team, forever, and rooting for them makes you feel like a kid again. I was born in Washington, DC, and have spent most of my life here, yet I never rooted for the Redskins. During my imprinting period, I lived in New York. The Jets had Joe Namath. At 8 years old, I became — and still am — a Jets fan.

The Jets currently have the longest active streak in all professional sports of failing to reach the playoffs. So, each season I’ve had to adopt a team in which to have a rooting interest during the NFL playoffs. When Randy and I moved Conexon’s headquarters to Kansas City in 2019, my playoff team naturally became the Chiefs. Three times since then, they’ve held a Super Bowl parade.

Our Kansas City office overlooks the parade route.

But this year, new images will stick with me.

More than 20 shot and wounded, including 11 children; 1 dead.

On Wednesday evening, I watched an interview with Paul Contreras from Nebraska who had traveled to Kansas City to join the parade celebrations. Unarmed, he chased and tackled one of the shooters, then held him down with others until the police arrived. Think of how many lives his instinctive, selfless act saved.
Every Friday evening during services at my synagogue, before saying Kaddish, the congregation reads aloud the names of those killed by violence the previous week in our community. Together, we say their names, their ages, and where they lived.

Tonight, I will say the name of Lisa Lopez-Galvan, 44, from Johnson County, Missouri; she was a disc jockey for a community radio station and a mother of two. I will light a candle.

May her memory be for a blessing.

To pray that one’s memory be for a blessing is a bit different than saying we are fortunate to have known her. The phrase refers to the continued blessing that the person leaves us, from her good works, good deeds, teachings, her example – from a life so well lived that the goodness should continue to flow, to inspire and bless the living.