On February 9th, I published an article called Missing Property that spoke about the 2000 MLS Cup Trophy that was won by the Kansas City Wizards. The trophy does not reside in Kansas City, instead it is in possession of the Hunt Sports Group in Dallas. The groundswell that followed the publication was impressive, positive and passionate. Kansas City sports fans, and soccer fans around MLS seem to overwhelmingly support the return of the 2000 MLS Cup Trophy to Kansas City.
The following is an Open Letter that submitted to me by a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Sporting Kansas City. It strikes to the heart of this matter for me. We hope that Clark Hunt and/or Hunt Sports Group read this in the spirit it was written, with a genuine desire to approach this issue with the sensitivity, warmth and high regard that the Hunt name should be held in around MLS and within Kansas City.
Dear Mr. Hunt,
I am writing to ask a favor for the people of Kansas City. It may be a large ask, but I really appreciate you the taking time to read my story.
I am a 32-year old, lifelong Kansas Citian (except for the four years I was away at college). I have been a fan of Kansas City sports since I can remember. My family (immediate and extended) has had Chiefs season tickets for as long as it has been possible to have Chiefs season tickets. I’ve been told it goes all the way back to the old Municipal Stadium days. I also have Sporting Kansas City season tickets. I started getting them a few years ago. I would have started purchasing them sooner, but I wasn’t financially stable enough as a young 20-something to swing the yearly payment. But, I still went to almost every game I could afford.
When I was 20-years old, and still a college student, the Kansas City Wizards won the MLS Cup. I was ecstatic. It was the first time in my adult life that one of the teams I have any emotional stake in won a championship. While I couldn’t afford to make the trip to DC to watch the game, a group of us had our own little Chiefs/Raiders, Wizards/Fire watch party that Sunday afternoon. It was a blast. I remember thinking, “That trophy is gonna look good in Kansas City.”
At that point in my life, I had never seen the Chiefs’ Lombardi Trophy. I had only seen the Royals’ World Series Trophy that they have displayed in their stadium. Since 1985, every time we went to a Royals game, I made my dad take me to look at that trophy. The best way I can put it, it’s really cool. I was too young to really remember the Royals winning the World Series (I was 5 at the time), so seeing the trophy didn’t bring back any specific memories. But I still loved that it was there. Reminding me that even though I was too young to experience it, I knew that a team I loved, for that one season, was the best. Unlike a lot of other fans in other cities, we don’t have a lot of championships. So the ones we do have, we cherish.
At Arrowhead, my seats are in section 119. You can not understand the joy I felt my first time inside the New Arrowhead a few years ago when I found out that not only is the Hall of Honor right there at the top of section 119, but so is the Super Bowl trophy. That was the very first thing I took a photo of after I entered the newly renovated stadium. In fact, when I first saw it, I almost didn’t believe that was it. I pointed and said, “Dad, I think that’s the Super Bowl trophy.” My dad replied, “It can’t be.” The trophy sits in such a modest case with very little hoopla surrounding it. Many people even walked by without seeing it. But that adds to the mystique. It doesn’t need a giant shrine. It’s awesome all by itself. It’s the Lombardi Trophy.
My dad was very surprised when he saw it. He was 12-years old when the team won the Super Bowl and he had his own revelation at that moment citing, “I’ve never seen that trophy in person either.” We stood there and looked at for a few minutes before taking in the rest of the Hall of Honor. The funny thing was, as packed as it was with people, we were the only two that noticed it was there. It was like we were getting our own private tour of The Louvre and we were allowed to stand in front of the Mona Lisa uninterrupted for as long as we pleased.
As time has passed, more and more Chiefs fans are learning where the trophy is. Now, when I go to games, as I’m heading to my seat, there’s always a group around it, taking pictures and reminiscing about where they were when the team won it. Sons on fathers shoulders peering over the crowd as their dads tell them the story behind it. On occasion, when I can’t make it to a game and we give our tickets to friends, they often ask, “Where are your seats?” I always get a kick out of telling them, “Section 119. Go to the Super Bowl Trophy and take a left.”
The point of my letter is that as I understand it, our MLS Cup lives in Dallas at your company’s offices. While the people of Kansas City appreciate all the Hunts have done for this town, and how important you were in bringing that championship to KC, we still would love the chance to have it here. For us to see. To tell our kids the story of that game. While the MLS Cup doesn’t have the history and tradition of the Lombardi Trophy, or the World Series Commissioner’s Trophy, it will someday. I would love to see that trophy for the first time. I want to see the trophy that I witnessed our team win back when I was a goofy, penniless 20-year.
Trophies don’t just signify championships. They act as mile markers in people’s lives. When I think about the championship in 2000, I not only think about that team and that game, I think about who I was as a person 12-years ago, and how far I’ve come. It’s like an old picture or an old letter you keep. And every time you see it, you almost feel like no time has passed and you remember how good it felt, even if it was just for a short time. Every time we’d see the World Series Trophy, it would trigger other memories for my dad and he would mention something unrelated to baseball. Things like, “I had to work the night we won that,” or “We’d moved into the house that summer.”
While your ownership group won the trophy (deservedly), it also belongs to the people of Kansas City. My favor is asking that the trophy live here, for all Kansas Citians to enjoy. It deserves to be seen. It deserves to gushed over and be in family photos. It deserves to be a part of someone’s game day experience. It deserves to be here so that the younger generations can also have that feeling of knowing that for that one year, our team was the best.
Thank you for your time.
The author of this letter opted to withhold his name for privacy reasons. Copies have been dispatched to various addresses.
If anybody from Hunt Sports Group wishes to comment or respond please feel free to do so by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments will be aired without edit or censure and will be handled in the spirit of open dialogue, constructively and warmly. We would welcome this, and we believe there are solutions that would allow the trophy to reside in Kansas City in a manner which would honor the shared legacy we have with special regard to the late, great and much loved Lamar Hunt.
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