My personally meeting Clark Hunt, Scott Pioli, and Mark Donovan last night was one of the most awesome events in 40+ years of my being a Chiefs fan. Please read on to understand why.
Last night at Arrowhead the Chiefs hosted a fan appreciation & celebration event titled, 'Back To Football Bash'. The Chiefs held practice on the field, other events took place also, such as former Chiefs players/Ambassadors signing autographs near the Hall of Honor.
The original Q&A session I was invited to a couple weeks ago with KC Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and President Mark Donovan...had to be re-scheduled due to inclement weather. I was notified Tuesday the re-scheduled Q&A would also be held last night at Arrowhead, at Tower Club East. I was emailed a printable VIP parking pass to Lot E, which was nice, wish I could always park in Lot E, hahaha. Inside Tower Club East is very impressive, below are some photo's sharing the interior.
There appeared to be about 50 or so fans attending the Q&A, but I read at the Chiefs website they stated 100 guests attended, didn't look like 100, haha. I sat in front row, directly in front of the platform. Much to our surprise Clark Hunt joined Scott Pioli and Mark Donovan for the Q&A, which was to be a 30 minute session. Mitch Holthus, 'voice of the Chiefs', hosted the Q&A. The first 15 minutes each of the 3 men gave welcoming opening comments. The last 15 minutes fans wanting to ask a question raised a hand, then were randomly chosen by Mitch to ask their question.
I've been busy and pre-occupied lately so had not given much thought to asking a question. I honestly did not plan to ask a question, rather simply thought I would attend and quietly observe, haha. However, impulsively I raised my hand after a couple fans asked their questions, one of which I felt was a bit critical in nature of the Chiefs efforts to put together a winning team. I suppose after hearing a fan somewhat critical in tone ask their question, I was inspired to raise my hand becoming instinctively defensive on behalf of the excellent job I feel Hunt, Pioli, & Donovan are doing.
Mitch approached and held the microphone for me to ask my question of Hunt, Pioli, and Donovan. Near as I can recall the following is what I said, it's fairly accurate...I was calm, didn't hesitate, nor stutter, hahaha.
"I don't know if this is appropriate or not, but I simply want to take this opportunity to tell each of you...thank you. My dad became a Chiefs fan in 1963, I was 7 yrs. old then, so I don't know life without the Chiefs being a part of it. Being a Chiefs fan is not a hobby, it is a passion for me. Each of you...Mr. Donovan, Mr. Hunt, & Mr. Pioli...along with Coach Haley and the entire Chiefs team are doing a great job. I am honored and proud to be a Chiefs fan, and I say from my heart...thank you for all you do."
It was obvious in their demeanor and thankful reply comments to me, that they all 3 were genuinely appreciative of my gratitude for their efforts.
I think I was the 3rd person Mitch approached, so the Q&A continued for another few minutes after my comments. I speculate only about 8 fans were given an opportunity to ask questions, since time was limited. It seemed to me most the questions asked by fans were in a tone of criticism or of concern, related to the job the Chiefs franchise is doing. No other fans thanked the men for their efforts, nor for the Q&A opportunity. I pay attention to general manners, hahaha.
When the Q&A concluded Mr. Pioli walked from the stage directly towards me. I could tell by the focused look in his eyes & determined stride, that he had something important he wanted to say, haha. For a brief second I felt uncomfortable, as if I was going to be scolded by him, haha. He extended his hand to shake mine, then said to me, "I want to thank you for your comments earlier, they meant a lot to me, and I appreciate what you said very much, thank you." I said, "oh, well, I truely meant what I said, I speak from my heart." He said, "I can tell that you do, and what you said was sincerely appreciated, I want you to know that." I said, "well, the Chiefs are a passion for me, and I am thankful for all you've done Mr. Pioli." He giggled and said, "my dad is called Mr. Pioli, you can call me 'Scott'."
Fans had begun to gather round us seeking Mr. Pioli's, 'Scotts', autograph, haha. We had someone take a photo of us, then I politely stepped aside, thanking him also for the Q&A opportunity, and for his approaching me the way he did to thank me, haha. Clark Hunt was nearby and he noticed my KC Arrowhead logo tattoo on my lower leg above the ankle, he commented on my tattoo. I said to him giggling, "I told you the Chiefs are my passion." He said smiling, "I can see that they are, I believe you." I said to him, "I have a tattoo on my other leg too, it's my DT memorial tattoo"...I turned to show him my DT tattoo, haha. He also thanked me for my comments during the Q&A, then someone took a photo of Mr. Hunt & myself.
Clark Hunt, Mark Donovan, and 'Scott' Pioli all signed the back of my VIP entry pass attached to the larnyard. I will always treasure it and the memories of last night, especially those of Scott Pioli approaching me immediately after the Q&A concluded, to thank me no less, hahaha. :)