Like an estimated 799,998 of my neighbors, my husband and I made our way downtown for the Royals’ World Series victory parade and celebration. And I’m not normally a baseball fan.
I’ve lived in Kansas City for almost 25 years. So despite my rural Nebraska roots, I proudly call myself a Kansas Citian. My job takes me all over the city and while I certainly have my favorite little corners and neighborhoods, I can honestly say that there isn’t a part of this town that I don’t love. This is a big city by any measure, but in so many ways it feels like a small town. I’m always reassured by finding out during a good conversation who knows whom and how, and by the little ties that bind us to each other here. But even knowing all of that, I was surprised by what I saw downtown on that lovely November day.
If you were unable to attend, you missed something remarkable. There was an electric feel of connectedness in the crowd that day. I saw people cheerfully working through the thickest crowd I’ve ever witnessed. They were watching out for each other, celebrating each other, shaking hands and hugging strangers. They were sharing space, experiences, and more than a few drinks. It was wonderful. Yes, the Royals did something remarkable in winning the organization’s first World Series in 30 years and in pulling together unselfishly to achieve a goal, but Kansas City — all of us — did something even more remarkable as we celebrated that victory. Like our Royals, we felt our community with each other very deeply and let ourselves be inspired to come together, as well.
People who are new to K.C. tell me all the time how disarming we can be, how welcoming and supportive. And that’s been my experience, too. But we really outdid ourselves that day. I’m always proud of where I live, but I wore it on my sleeve that day and for days afterward.
And so now that I’ve had a taste of that, I want another slice of it. I carry that day with me and it reminds me to take a little extra time with my neighbors, to say hello to a stranger when we pass, or to reach out to someone I’m sharing space with for a minute or two — be it in an elevator, a checkout line, or while waiting for the waiter to bring my order. I hope you feel the same.
I’ll always love being reminded of the 2015 World Series. It’ll be a lot of fun to see the highlights for years to come and to remember that fun day on 18th & Grand watching Salvy, Hoz, and the rest of the boys roll slowly past. But I’ll also remember the way that it reminded me how easy it was to root for each other as much as we rooted for them.