By Jim Misunas
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group of Larned sports fans returned home a little weary, but returned with life-long memories after witnessing a sweep by the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals in a two-day span.
They witnessed the Chiefs rout New England 41-14, then were witnesses to the Royals’ dramatic 9-8 victory over the Oakland A’s.
The fun started Monday night when Pastor Ryan Webster from Assembly of God Church and Pastor Mark Slattery from First Southern Baptist Church were presented with a surprise gift when their wives bought Chiefs tickets.
“It was electric both nights. Tuesday was even more exciting than the Chiefs,” Webster said. “There were countless moments of up-and-down emotion. It was tough because we were punched in the gut so many times. I believe the baseball game meant more to Kansas City.”
The next night, a group composed of Webster, Cory Stelter, Dr. David Sanger and Darin Goodwin witnessed the first post-season game in 29 years for the Royals, again courtesy of their wives.
Slattery’s first baseball memory was listening to Royals ballgames on the radio with his mother. But Slattery gave up his Royals ticket so he could attend his daughter’s senior recognition volleyball night. Those tickets in an upper level section were secured before the Royals had qualified for the post-season.
“I saw two of the best football and baseball games in my lifetime,” said Webster. “It was a chance to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime atmosphere on back-to-back nights.”
Webster and Slattery invested in front row seats in the endzone painted with “Chiefs.”
“We jumped on the opportunity to secure front-row seats. I’m not a big sports fan, but it was surreal seeing guys like Tom Brady and Steve Young walking right past us,” he said.
Webster said the Chiefs were never in trouble.
“The Chiefs came out so strong and never let up,” he said.
Kansas City reclaimed the official title for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium before a national TV audience on Monday Night Football.
Chiefs fans registered a 142.2 dbA reading at Arrowhead Stadium, bringing the unofficial crown of sports’ loudest fans back to KC. The record-breaking sound burst occurred when the Chiefs defense tackled Patriots back Shane Vereen for no gain.
It marks the second time the Chiefs have broken this record. Their biggest rival is Seattle, the defending Super Bowl champion and two-time sound record-holder.
The Royals were trailing most of the time in the baseball marathon, which ended a few minutes before midnight.
Stelter is a graduate from Leadership Golden Belt who works as an account executive at the Larned branch of Office Products Inc.
Stelter and his son Tyler, a Larned High senior baseball player, are big baseball fans.
“Tyler texted me that I so lucky to be there,” Cory said.
“It was up-and-down all night. The only sports memory that could match that game was when K-State beat Nebraska in football for the first time in 30 years,” Stelter said. “The best thing I did was get my phone out and hit record when Colon was rounding third and scoring the game-winning run. Everyone was going crazy.”
Stelter’s favorite moment was when Jarrod Dyson stole third base in the ninth inning. He scored the tying run on Nori Aoki’s sacrifice fly.
“Dyson stealing third base, do-or-die was the thing I was amazed by,” he said.
One of the key plays was when the rowdy crowd led to A’s outfielders Sam Fuld and Jonny Gomes colliding on a 12th-inning triple hit by Eric Hosmer.
“I’m convinced that neither outfielder heard each other,” Webster said. “It was a slow-motion play where everyone stops breathing. The crowd definitely brought them back. The Royals are a scrappy team. Once it went extra innings, it was free baseball. The crowd was pretty much standing up most of the game.”
After the victory, the group lingered in the stadium.
“We wanted to take in the atmosphere and camaraderie of the fans,” Webster said.