My Chiefs are in the Super Bowl for the second straight year and the fourth time in five seasons. After the Super Bowl last year, everyone in Kansas City (and beyond) expected them to pick up in the 2023-24 season exactly where they left off.
As the season went on, us Chiefs fans were waiting and waiting for them to return to form. Where were the Chiefs we were expecting? Where was the offense we had become so accustomed to? Instead, the anomalies piled up. The fumbles. The interceptions. The dropped balls. The penalties. The seemingly lack of skilled wide receivers.
From a fan’s vantage point our expectations were for a dynamic and prolific offense that easily scored, accompanied by a sufficient defense to hold opponents to less than 30 points. That formula was our straight line to success!
As the season progressed, the fans continued to hope for a breakthrough even as NFL pundits and announcers began to say, “ Well, that’s just who the Chiefs are this year!”But many of us fans refused to believe it. The team refused to believe it. The coaches refused to believe it. The surprisingly stellar defense refused to believe it. Some of the fan base became irritated and frustrated. The Chiefs were driving them crazy! And there were small signs that some of the players were becoming irritated and frustrated, mostly with themselves.
Andy Reid continued to work his genius with zigzags and roundabouts. The defense rose to the occasion and won games with sensational play, keeping the Chiefs in the hunt while the offense learned to use its “irritation” to make a beautiful pearl.
I think of this season’s team in light of an oyster. Oysters have this amazing capacity to expel sand that gets stuck inside their shells. However, occasionally a piece of sand gets stuck inside the shell irritating and frustrating the oyster. In fact, that small piece of sand drives the oyster crazy!
So the oyster begins to secrete a white fluid that coats the sand over and over. After a period of time, a pearl is formed. It might be valuable to remember that every time a person wears a pearl, it was an oyster’s bad day! The point is this: no irritation, no pearl.
This season the Chiefs have created a pearl. In the past, they haven’t needed to. But this season there was frustration. Rather than lashing out, they used that frustration and irritation to learn patience, to learn trust, to develop character and a true sense of brotherhood. After all, getting to the Promised Land of the Super Bowl without character can be downright dangerous. Egos can become skewed.
Andy Reid wasn’t in a hurry. He knew the path on which he was taking the team. Over the course of the season he “secreted “ his wisdom to coat the irritation. The team hung in there, supporting one another and continuing to believe. And now…now we see the beautiful pearl that has emerged. It is precious. It is special because so much teamwork was required. Hearts and character grew. Trust blossomed.
The same is true for us. Without irritations, without frustrations, without zigzags and roundabouts we will never become the “pearls “ God wants us to become. It’s human to want to take the straight route to where we want to go. Waiting can be frustrating. Waiting on a promotion…waiting on your health to get better…waiting on a wayward child to return home…waiting to feel joy again. Sometimes the journey can be painful.
You wait and wait, yet sometimes God takes you on a roundabout journey. But it’s the journey that’s important. It’s in the journey that trust and character are developed. This is when hearts grow. This is when the pearl is being formed.
No matter what happens this Super Bowl, I am super proud to be a Chiefs fan. They persevered. They bonded and trusted. They created a beautiful new pearl and a memorable season. Thank you Chiefs for being a living parable!
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Anne Hope is the award-winning author of Bent Pages...a sharp, funny, and deeply inspirational narrative.
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