Background - In 1962, during a 17-7 Missouri Football win over Arizona, highway patrolmen located Dr. Avery sitting in the stands of Faurot Field and escorted him 24 miles to a Catholic hospital in Boonville for a life-threatening baby delivery. Surviving what, at the time, was considered a miracle birth of a severely premature baby to a young mother battling toxemia poisoning and convulsions, I was given no choice by the Doctors and praying nuns but to be a life-long Mizzou fanatic.
Then soon after, my first major league baseball game was Stan Musial's last. And I remember grandpa Deo starting my love for Kansas City and St. Louis sports through his continual stories of the Cardinals, A's, Monarchs, Hawks, Chiefs, and Royals. Along the way, the Rams, Blues, Wizards, and Sporting KC were welcomed into my "everything Missouri" rooting rituals and mechanisms. Tom Watson, Carl Edwards, Payne Stewart, and the Spinks brothers garnered similar blind devotion. Special seasons for SMSU (MSU), SLU, CMSU or NWMS had at least one more member on the bandwagon. Even the likes of Cheryl Crow, Jon Hamm, Nelly, and Sara Evans found special endearment, simply because of where they were birthed, were schooled, or became prominent.
Thesis - For all sports-loving souls who espouse "All Things Missouri", are we now among the best combination of moments that can be deemed the best ever?
I thought that perhaps November 24th, 2013 at around 1:20pm might have been the pinnacle, because immediately after this moment the Chiefs blew a 14-3 lead, lost 2 critical defensive players, and started a losing streak that slowed their incredible turnaround season and story. But upon further reflection I have come to remind myself that there are so many moments to consider and appreciate in this time of great Show Me rejoicing. And perhaps there isn't a specific and exact peak of a moment to contemplate and scrutinize. Maybe, just maybe, it is best to say that we are experiencing the best "times" to be a sports fan of everything Missouri.
During various moments in and around 1969, the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, MU Football finished 9-2 and ranked #6 in the nation with an Orange Bowl appearance, the StL Blues reached 2 straight Stanley Cup Finals, the baseball Cardinals had won 2 of 3 World Series they'd appeared in over the previous 6 seasons, and KC had just received a brand new baseball franchise. The periods around 1960, 1985, 2007, and 2011 would seem to be next in line in some order after the 1969 period. But when taking everything into consideration - boy, this is quite a run we are experiencing right now.
As of December 6th, 2013, just the amount of significant upcoming weekend events alone is pretty incredible. The inventors of the DVR had to be sports fans, right? But on the wider view, after taking a step back and taking in the entire picture...wow, how good is all of this right now? All my good Missouri and Missourah brothers and sisters, can I get an AMEN?!!! Let's consider & savor:
* The University of Missouri programs moving to the SEC has not only caused a renewed excitement within the state and alumni, but has also fostered a commitment to work collectively to raise all levels of support, funding, branding, goal-setting, dedication, expectations and performance. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that looks to be the catalyst for finally "awakening the sleeping giant". Even if the results on the fields and courts had not been immediate, there has been a feeling created that our already really good collection of programs were, and are, destined to move to different level. Of particular current noting:
* MU Football has been among the most consistently good teams in the country since 2007 (only 11 teams from the power 5 conferences have more wins). But playing for the championship of a conference that has won 7 national championships is topped only by playing for a national championship. Perhaps no program in the country has had so much success finding under-ranked players and developing them.
* The MU volleyball team is the only undefeated team in the country, the only SEC team to ever finish a regular season undefeated. Currently ranked #4 in the country.
* The MU men's basketball team is currently the only SEC team to be undefeated. The program is averaging 26 wins per season over the last 5 seasons and is very well respected across the country. The women's basketball team is currently 8-1 and looks to be on the upswing.
* The MU softball team has been one of the top programs in the country in recent years and MU teams in baseball, wrestling, & gymnastics have had recent standout seasons.
* The St. Louis Cardinals just came off their 2nd World Series in 3 years, has been recently evaluated as having the best combination for continued success, and is neck and neck with Boston for team of the millenium.
* You could make a very good argument that the Kansas City Royals franchise is in the best position it has been in since 1985.
* You could also make the argument that the Kansas City Chiefs are in the best position they've been in since they averaged almost 10 wins a season from '03-'06.
* And with their youth, talent, and upcoming draft picks, the St. Louis Rams look to be in the best position they've been in since their Super Bowl win and subsequent playoff runs between 1999-2004.
* The St. Louis Blues have the 2nd best record in the NHL (based on points per game played) and look to be regular Stanley Cup contenders in the near future.
* And Sporting KC is hosting the 2013 MLS Cup Championship after winning the U.S. Open Cup last season.
From this very point, and surely from this very weekend, the individual teams from this list can significantly add to, or conversely subtract from, the wonderful feelings of accomplishment and pride that true sons and daughters of our noble land have at this moment. So I will not try to pinpoint the exact moment of time when the absolute pinnacle was reached. For that calls for me to believe that the best is in the past. But in summing up what these feelings should represent to all of us while we are going through it, I would borrow and paraphrase only from the beginning of Dickens' classic soliloquy - "It is the best of times..."
From the blog - http://kcthinktanking.blogspot.com/
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