Kansas City awakes today with emotion rarely felt before. As the sun rises, lighting up the morning sky, Kansas City lights up with the possibility of glory. In just a few short hours, all of the work from a season that started nine months ago will come to a head. Kansas City is awake and alive with thoughts of the MLS Cup dancing in their heads.
The temperatures are frigid as the city wakes up on the day they have been waiting for for a fortnight. The temperature does not matter, however, as the thoughts of winning the city's first major championship since a decade ago are enough to give Kansas Citians a warm sensation in their bodies. Yes, there is the phenomenon of "The Terror" that inflicts Sporting KC fans before big games but today seems different. Today there is a calming inner voice that gives confidence to the city, the city so starved for a winner.
The Kansas City Royals finished their best season since 2003 back in September and are making offseason moves right now that are getting fans excited for 2014, but today the K is empty and the fans are focused on other things.
The Kansas City Chiefs can clinch a playoff spot tomorrow with a win in Washington and other help from around the league, completing one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. Tomorrow will be their day, but today they are in the back of the city's mind.
Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri are all starting to hit their lull in college basketball and will have to wait until the new year the grab the city's undivided attention. Football wise Kansas and Kansas State know their possibilities for postseason play and Missouri has the chance to win the SEC Championship today. Missouri will get a lot of well-deserved attention, but they have to win all the way in Atlanta. Sporting KC will get the home fans and the advantages that come with it.
Sporting Kansas City welcomes Real Salt Lake today for the MLS Cup championship game. Sporting Park will be packed to the brim, allowing however many the fire marshall will let in. Those who couldn't get tickets will be out in the cold at KC Power and Light watching the game on the big screen. This city has become obsessed with this team and this team obsessed with this city.
This game is for the MLS Cup and all of the glory, Champions League spots and bragging rights that come with it. Today, however, this game is for something more. This game is for you, Kansas City.
This is for the members of the Cauldron who formed in the mid nineties to support this brand new soccer team in this brand new soccer league. Those men and women have stuck with this team and screamed their hearts out year in and year out as the team has changed in its nearly two decades of existence.
This is for the 2000 MLS Cup team, who grabbed the attention of the league as they plowed through the MLS en route to their first and only MLS Cup win. The Peter Vermes lead defense of the 2000 team draws a lot of similar parallels to this team. They gave this city a winner and a trophy that needs to come back to Sporting Park. They will be deservedly recognized and glorified.
This is for the supporters who stuck with the team through thick and thin. This is for the fans who went out to a desolate Arrowhead Stadium to support the "Save the Wizards" campaign. You are the reason for the ownership change and the progress this team has made in the last ten years. You saw many bad teams throughout the middle of the decade, you deserve a winner in a packed house in a beautiful soccer specific stadium, You may have never thought this possible, but here we are.
This is for Robb Heinemann and the Sporting Kansas City front office. Your dedication into turning this team far beyond a winner and into an icon for a city is irreplaceable. The passion you show for your team is a breath of fresh air in a city full of distant owners and mediocre general managers. You deserve this day because of your love for the city and the team you have given it.
This is for the fans who caught on after the 2010 World Cup. You were intrigued with the United States National Team's performance and decided to check out this local club named the Wizards. You joined with the older fans who crammed into the minor league ballpark the Wizards called home for a few years. They didn't make the playoffs that year but they were close and we could tell that something good was on the horizon.
This is for the sold out Sporting Park on June 9th 2011, the symbol of this team's transformation.The impossible had become possible and the dreams of the front office and the fans had been realized. That 2011 team transformed this city into a soccer city and although it ended up one game short of the MLS Cup, it pointed to continued success down the road.
Finally, this is for the Kansas City of today. This is for the fans who sold out the Cauldron in 24 seconds. This is for the fans who made this game the hottest ticket in town and will literally sell the place out in support of this team. This is for the fans who drove from Wichita, Springfield, Omaha, Cincinnati and everywhere else to come to this game, even more so for the fans who came to every game from those destinations.
This is for the fans who sent 600 of themselves to Dallas and hundreds of other fans around the country to show your support at away matches. This is for the fans who never stop singing even when the times are tough. This is for the fans who bring 90 or even 120 minutes of Blue Hell. This is for the fans who make every single game remarkable and memorable.
The passion the city has for this team is remarkable and it's due to you.
Today will be the peak of everything that Sporting Kansas City has been working towards. Win or lose, this team has made Kansas City its home and has transformed the city like no other. There will be more seasons and there will be more teams from different sports who win titles, however that does not matter today. Today, as the city rises this cold morning, nothing else matters.
Kansas City has the center stage. Sporting Kansas City has the eyes and hearts of the city on it as it takes the field at 3 o'clock today. This is what success, glory and anticipation feel like. Good luck Kansas City, you've earned it.