Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Goodbye Wizards, hello Sporting

Today is the last day of the Kansas City Wizards. By all indications the team will be renamed Sporting Kansas City (or some variation) this evening at Power and Light District. While this is not a decision I would have probably made, I do not hate it. At least not anymore.

In fact it is growing on me. I have heard some of the reasons behind the change and I am looking forward to hearing the rest of the logic. Interestingly, listening to fans complain about the change has actually made me lean more towards acceptance. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, hearing the depth of angst and hatred about the change made me realize something. The team name does not matter quite so much.

There is an old saying, "the name on the front of the jersey is what really matters, not the name on the back." In this case we are not sure what name (sponsor) will eventually be there but we do know the name of the team will contain Kansas City and that is what matters.

Kansas City. One of the few things that pulls people together in this city is sports.

Kansas City Wiz, Wizards, Sporting...

Kansas City...

For me personally, the Wiz/Wizards/Sporting is one of the few teams I root for in Kansas City. I was not born here and already rooted for non Kansas City teams in other sports when I moved here a long time ago.

A few years after I moved here I chose the Wiz (now that was a bad name) when they were born. On a cold day in late 1995 or early 1996 I went to Arrowhead and picked out my seats over my lunch hour. I brought along two friends from work, one later became my wife (score). The poor ticket sales guy patiently stood there while we chatted and I picked exactly the right seats. I sat in those cold hard plastic seats for several minutes day dreaming of the team to be formed.

I did not know that I would someday watch Preki work his magic on the home field. I did not know that I would watch Mo use his stubborn Scottish nature to win games. I did not know that I would see spectacular saves from Meola and Hartman in that stadium. I did not know the countless other fantastic plays and players that would become rich memories for me.

I did know that those memories would happen though.

The Wiz became the Wizards in a forced but good move rather quickly.

My coworker and friend became my girlfriend and later my wife and eventually the mother of my daughter. Her name and appearance changed over time, I did not stop loving her.

Kansas City...

My life is here now, my family is here. My daughter went to her first Wizards game on the outside when she was a month old. My wife was nervous that the noise would bother her but she happily sat in our arms, seemingly loving the noise, the cheers. She would dance and bounce to the drums as she got older. We became friends with others around us and around the stadium.

My daughter now knows the players by name and number and is starting to get an understanding of how the game actually works. She learned at an early age that favorite players do not always stay. In fact for a while it was not a good idea to be picked as her favorite player if you wanted to be in Kansas City.

She is now learning that teams sometimes change names. In fact she was more accepting of the name change for the team that existed her entire life than I was. I explained to her that the name was changing and it was still our team, our players, our family and friends at the game. I explained all of that because I was afraid she would be devastated at her favorite team changing names.

I told her all this. She asked if she could still call them the Wizards sometimes. I said yes and she seemed okay with that. She then took lunch to school in her Wizards lunch box the next day.

Kansas City


They are still my team. I've survived horrible weather to watch this team. I persevered through horrendous play, refereeing, shoot out clocks, zardmeisters, closed concession stands and countless other irritations. I will survive through the name change.

Stadium, players, uniforms, logo, shirt sponsor (?) and name. All new next year.

Still Kansas City...

Still my team...

Go Wiz/Wizards/Sporting/ Blue !!

Trivia question: Can anyone guess who the ticket sales person was that I made stand in the cold?


  1. Very well said. Our children (Riley, 10; Maelin, 5) have had the same experience. They will still love Kei, Jimmy, Davy and the boys, no matter what the team is called. There is no way we could abandon OUR TEAM ~ whatever they are called. And Hey! Another new kit : )

  2. As long as the full city name, KANSAS CITY, is in the brand title and not just KC then I'll be (somewhat) happy, I guess. I'm proud to be a Kansan, proud that the Wizards built their stadium on the Kansas side, and will be Wizards Till I Die!

  3. Thanks for the post Thad.
    I think there is way too much anger of this name change w/out hearing reasons/explanations.

    I like the name. I had other names I'd have liked more, but I do like this one. I didn't really like or dislike the name Wizards. But as an unofficial name, that'd be fine by me.

    Also, it's funny that everyone is calling it a straight up Euro-poser name. The name Sport already exists in one MLS club name - CD Chivas USA. The D is Deportivo (sp??). So sporting isn't really Euro-pose and I can't imagine that OnGoal wouldn't put effort into this brand switch - well, I guess I could see that if I was like some and was pre-disposed to thinking that OnGoal didn't give a sh*t ...

    I really do hope that no one boos today. That is just low if you ask me.

    Was it ... Mark Naster?

  4. Fantastic analysis Thad. Thanks!

  5. Seriously...if there's a depth of hatred for the new name, how can it be that the name doesn't matter?

  6. yes the 'girl's' appearance may change over time...coincidentally I will find her resistable, her fat ugly corpse changes as does her name... to Bertha and she becomes a lesbian. I was timid about the change...but this is what I call aging poorly- Sporting is the worst sounding fermented fecal sounding name ever.

  7. I support Kansas City soccer under any name! I believe OnGoal deserves a lot of credit for investing the money they have into our MLS team. I for one intend to cheer him as his announcements are made in gratitude for all his efforts and the achievements of OnGoal. Their committment to this team in my mind goes unchallenged.

    Great post Thad!

  8. Great post. I wish more people would take this attitude. Some "diehards" seem to always make it about them instead of the team. I get tired of all of this I was there from the beginning so I am a more involved fan and know more. It was refreshing to see that you have not fallen into those traps. Go Sporting/Wizards! This is the start of an exciting period for the team and league.

  9. I'm not sold on what I've seen to date, but we haven't heard a word from the team yet. All of this anger towards the mark is based on a fuzzy spy photo and a dimensional logo that is likely only for 3D use. There must be much more to this story than what the community has been able to cobble together. Thanks Thad for the voice of calm in the chaos.

  10. I for one (of many) wish they would have been able to keep the team in Missouri. It was awful to hear the announcers of the Man U game call them the "kansas wizards". But I've gotten (almost) past that.... I don't really care what the name is, as long as the field a good product, play good soccer, and vermes doesn't prove to be a drunk idiot.

  11. I can't wait to boo and chant... "YOU'LL ALLLLLWAYS BEEEE THE WIZARRRDS"

  12. Great post Thad! Looking forward to drinking the Koolaid with ya'.

  13. Online stores have started offering "Official Sporting KC 2011 Launch" gear from adidas - so far, a cap and a t-shirt for $20 each, and a scarf for $25. No images yet, though; at least, none that my employer's network filters will allow.

  14. Well said, Thad! Here's to hoping that the reactionaries don't embarrass the rest of us along with themselves if they decide to boo at the announcement.

  15. The name is foolish, but the Logo is absolutely the worst part in all this. What ever happened to artists with pencil and paper? Now Marketing Majors mass produce logos on what looks like Windows Paint

  16. Yeah, and it's ironic that the blog post above talks about how it is really about Kansas City. Look at the supposedly new logo....Kansas City is so subdued and low-key, it's like the "artist" was embarrassed to make it a main part of the badge! Unbelievable!

  17. Heineman missed the mark badly. I cannot find a majority of people anywhere that appreciate this change. He is not listening to the fans, no wait, we are 'members' now. Gee whiz I can't wait to see all the rugby teams with OUR name on them. SOD OFF ROB!

  18. From your use of SOD OFF, I'm assuming you're fully open to Europosing, you just don't like this name.

  19. Nope, American football needs its own identity. I have been a Wizards fan since 96.