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A True (Royal) Blue Fan MAG
For as long as I can remember, the Royals have always been the best team in baseball. Not because of their unbelievable one-time World Series win in 1985, not because I'm from Kansas City, and not because my dad adores them. Although all of those things are true, to me the Royals are more than a consistently losing, underappreciated Major League Baseball team. There's something special about them. And that's why I love them.
Going through high school I have realized that there are very few things you can depend on. As much as I hate quoting a movie about the Red Sox, the script writers for the 2005 movie “Fever Pitch,” got it right. When the hilarious Jimmy Fallon spoke about baseball, he summed up almost everything I feel for the Royals.
Troy: “Why do we inflict this on ourselves?” (Referring to watching the team lose.)
Ben: “Why? I'll tell you why, 'cause the Red Sox never let you down.”
Ben: “That's right. I mean – why? Because they haven't won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They're here. Every April, they're here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don't get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that's here for you.”
As a Royals fan, I completely understand. When my team is losing, all I want to do is hide my face in shame. But I don't. I support them until the last strike out, the last error, the last weak pop-out. If I can't be proud of my team's performance, I can at least take pride in the fact that I'm not a fair-weather fan. If the Royals are going to be there, April after April, year after year, then their fans should be too.
And maybe that's why I get so frustrated with my peers. It's hard to be a Royals fan, and I know that. But there really is nothing harder than being at school seeing kids I've grown up with giving up and moving on to the Yankees or Cardinals. I vow to never leave the Royals, just like they will never leave me.
If you've even been to Kauffman Stadium, you know how amazing the atmosphere is. The smell of ballpark hot dogs, spilled beer, kettle corn, and even the soil overtakes me. The biggest screen in stadium history creates a glow on my face even when it's sunny out. The fireworks go off not just on Firework Fridays, but when the legendary Denny Matthews announces the starting line-up and every time a homerun is hit. The stadium cheers pump up the fans, and unite the crowd. I love finding my seat in that concrete jungle, anticipating the players I look up to running onto the field as the K Crew wets it down. There's nothing like it.
This year I turned 16, and in addition to being given a “Royal” blue Hyundai Sonata – which I named George, after George Brett, of course – I started my first job at HyVee. My interviewer asked many questions that exposed my thoughts and morals. Yet the only question I remember answering was, What do you know about HyVee? I said: “I know that HyVee loves the Royals.” The manager laughed and responded, “Yes, and we also sponsor them.” Afterward, she told me that it was the best interview she'd ever done. I am certain it is because of the way my face lights up when I talk about the Kansas City Royals.
I have been working at HyVee since August, and I love it. Some of my co-workers speak almost robotically to customers, saying the same thing time after time: “How has your day been?” Not that there's anything wrong with that, but doesn't it get boring? Normally, I comment on the food they're buying. “Have you had this before? I think you'll like it.” Or “Do you recommend this brand of bologna?” But the real fun comes when the customer is purchasing Royals merchandise or wearing a Royals hat. This means that I have someone I can relate to. Someone who feels my pain and pride. “I love your shirt. It's good to see that there really are still fans out there,” I'll say.
“That's right. Keepin' the faith.”
“Who's your favorite player?”
“I'm gonna have to go with Mike Moustakas or Hosmer.”
“Me too!” The man talking to me sees that look in my eye that says I don't just like them for their ball-playing abilities. “I have a feeling we like them for different reasons,” he says with a chuckle.
“Have a great day, sir,” I respond with a smile.
It's true. I am not the normal teenage girl in many ways. Girls my age like to go to parties. My kind of party is sitting at home with my mom and dad watching the game on the deck, creating memories. Girls my age dream about marrying Justin Bieber, Taylor Laughtner, or Justin Timberlake. I dream about meeting any of the Royals players. Girls my age cry about their catty “best friend” gossiping about them. I cry about my favorite players being traded (most recently David DeJesus and Zack Greinke). Girls my age cover their bedroom walls and ceilings with posters of shirtless boys. I prefer a Royals flag and the Kansas City pennants.
When I was younger, before Joe Posnanski moved from the KC Star to Sports Illustrated, my dad and I would sit on the deck, on Sundays before church, and he would read Posnanski's articles to me with a steaming cup of Royal Blue Blend coffee by his side. Topics like salaries and injuries that I didn't understand really didn't matter, because the way Posnanski wrote was so passionate and crisp, it would bring tears to my daddy's eyes. Even if the Royals were bad, my dad and I still bonded. Posnanski still wrote. The Royals weren't going to quit.
Looking back on all of the amazing times the Royals and I have had, I still remember most fondly my twelfth birthday. My family, including my aunt, uncle, grandma, cousins, and I went out to breakfast. I opened lots of presents, but I only remember one – from my eight-year-old cousin. It was an autographed baseball from The Man himself, Mike Sweeney. Ethan had received it at a local baseball camp. I was awestruck and I didn't think I could accept it. He insisted. To this day, I have not forgotten how it felt to have someone care about me so much that they would give me such a special gift. I sound like I'm talking about him giving me one of his organs or something, but that's what it felt like. Even though he was just eight, he understood how much the baseball meant to me, and still does. (I love you, Ethan.)
Besides the fact that I played softball for seven years, I know a lot about baseball now. My grandpas, uncles, and Daddy always talked baseball every chance they got, and I picked up a lot from eavesdropping. Recently, after my grandpa got into a car accident, I held his hand tight. The only thing I could think of to talk to him about was the Royals. There wasn't much good to say, other than the fact that I would always be a fan because I had learned how from him. I told him I loved him before he was whisked away. That was the last time I saw him smile. And the next week when my mom and I were helping my grandma go through his things, I found a Royals ticket from their glory days. It symbolized so much more than an old piece of paper. My grandpa kept that ticket for a reason.
As the years go by, I know I will always find things to love about the Royals, if I can't love their win-to-loss ratio. And for those who question my love and dedication to the Kansas City Royals, I hope this article answers your questions.