Editor’s Note: On the eve of the Kansas City Royals first World Series in 29 years, HCF asked our most loyal Royals fan, former President/CEO Steve Roling, to reflect on the upcoming games.
Every so often a moment happens that you’ll remember the rest of your life.
Last Wednesday evening, when the Kansas City Royals clinched a spot in the World Series, was one of those times. I was holding two of my granddaughters on my lap in my kitchen watching the game, hoping they could grasp the excitement of the moment. My six-month-old granddaughter was much more interested in having me feed her and my three-year-old granddaughter was not at all impressed with the celebration that followed the last out in the game.
So while my efforts to instill the love of baseball into the heart and soul of my grandchildren still needs some work, it still doesn’t diminish the joy of that moment. My thoughts quickly turned to two other people who I know were jumping for joy in heaven when the Royals clinched a spot in the World Series —Ewing Kauffman and Buck O’Neil.
I can see Buck’s big smile and hear him telling stories that recap the game to anyone within ear shot. I can almost feel the bear hug he would give all of us. I can see Mr. K and his wife waving to all of us during the seventh-inning stretch from the owner’s box. I can imagine that Mr. K would have been giving high fives to fans as they left the stadium. And I can see both of these men crying tears of joy during a private moment away from the cameras.
For these two men and many of us, baseball is more than a game. Baseball gives generations of families priceless, lasting memories and instills hope in our hearts.
My wife found the earrings she wore when we attended the sixth game of the 1985 World Series, and she has worn them every day during the playoffs this year. I know that someday one of my three granddaughters will wear these same earrings to a Royals playoff game.
While at a playoff game last week, I sat close to a man with his son and young grandson. I could hear the grandfather telling his family about the 1985 Series. Like the Roling family earrings, their memories and the memories being created by our family and so many others this October will be passed on to our loved ones to be shared and enjoyed for generations.
As we celebrate the Royals being in the World Series this week, take in the moment and appreciate the joy this team has brought us. Remember those that came before us. Remember Buck. Remember Mr. K and tip your hat to him for giving us the gift of baseball in Kansas City.