When I was a kid, my family moved to Kansas City so my father could be the new senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom. There are indeed Jews in Kansas and, when it comes to professional football, most root for the Kansas City Chiefs. I have fond memories of attending many games with my father thanks in large part to the generosity of some of his congregants. Many of these individuals became lifelong family friends and I enjoyed kosher tailgating (BBQ and more!) with some of them on more than one occasion. During one Chiefs game my father and I had the privilege of visiting the Chiefs press box and meeting HOF QB Len Dawson and former radio play by play announcer Kevin Harlan who now works for Fox and will likely be part of today's telecast. On another occasion, we dined at Royals stadium restaurant followed by a MNF Chiefs game next door.
One of my most memorable experiences occurred off the field when I attended a local radio station's meet and greet with Chiefs' players and personnel. I got a football autographed by Dave Krieg, Willie Davis, Dale Carter, Tim Barnett, Dan Saleamua, GM Carl Peterson, and more. I share this not to brag, rather to illustrate how a love of KC sports was instilled in me as a young man. Needless to say, I became a huge KC fan. While some of the autographs are illegible or faded, my love for the Chiefs is quite apparent.
My enthusiasm for the teams - instilled in me in different ways - is why I easily and often share my love of KC teams with my family. It does help that the Chiefs are coached by Andy Reid who used to coach the Eagles, the team my wife grew up cheering. In our family, we have Chiefs pennants, hats, and shirts. I also have socks and a coffee mug, and one of our boys received a Chiefs fleece throw blanket as a birthday present from some of his friends.
To see the KC Chiefs reach Super Bowl LIV is just emotionally uplifting While I will be watching on TV with my family and friends instead of attending live, I expect it will be as exciting as ever. The Chiefs play with an energy and spirit that I find unique, and I applaud the way they play together and believe in themselves when others might not. Just like any sports team, they have overcome adversity, and have found ways to win when at times it seemed unlikely. More than anything, these players have demonstrated a commitment to the greater KC area and causes bigger than themselves with as much tenacity as they give to the game itself.
Regardless of the game's outcome, this is already a big win for me, the city where I grew up, and the entire kingdom of Chiefs fans.
Parent, Partner, Teacher and Coffee Enthusiast, Rabbi Rafi Cohen enjoys helping individual students and families find Jewish meaning in their lives. Rabbi Cohen is the director of admissions for the Rabbinical & Cantorial Schools at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.