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Ryan Westward's Blog

 
Posts from October 2012


Kansas Speedway
A HUGE thanks to everyone who came out this past weekend for the Low Dough Speedway show!  I know we all had a blast out there and we hope you did too. What a difference that new track makes too!  With the added banking and new surface, the racing is already faster and more competitive and it's only going to get better as the track wears in.  I'm super excited for the races in the spring and again in the fall after the track has had a chance to "sit there and think about it" as a friend of mine would phrase it.  We're going to have some excellent racing out there and Kansas Speedway is going to continue to climb up the ranks to being a world-class facility.

R
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Locations: Kansas




 
History
Throughout the years that I've been alive, I can remember a lot of records being broken.  Depending on the record, I either look it as "records were meant to be broken" or I like seeing records stand the test of time...again, just depends on the record in question.  Generally, you see records falling in sports...I remember being in college and seeing Cal Ripken Jr. break the "Ironman" record for most consecutive starts in major league baseball...watching the Olympics, it's not uncommon at all to see a record being broken even World Records as the athletes get faster and faster...here just a couple of weeks ago, Drew Brees set the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass in the NFL.  All of these are great accomplishments and sometimes the pursuit of a record can make us drop what we're doing and take notice (I'm sure everyone remembers how the homerun chase between Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa and how practically all the networks would cut away from whatever programming they had on when either Mark or Sammy was up to bat).

Like I said, all of these are great accomplishments but it's pretty rare when a record breaking attempt is also (and quite literally) history in the making.  That was case this weekend.  I don't know if you saw Felix Baumgartner's space jump on Sunday but if not, you missed history being made.  I am still blown away from what I saw and I'm sure I will be for a long, long time.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, Felix is an Austrian pilot and skydiver who was attempting to break the record for the highest skydive ever.  While there was some record breaking involved, this attempt had far more implications than just bragging rights.  The data from the jump will be used to further a lot of scientific understanding of what the human body can endure including understanding how the forces at work affect the human body and it was a test of the next generation of space suits that could give astronauts more options in a life threatening situation when they may need to bail out of their spacecraft.  I mean, this is almost up there with landing on the moon.  So, long story short, Felix jumped from a height of 24 miles above the Earth's surface...he was literally jumping through the Earth's stratosphere which is a VERY hostile environment.  From the time he launched to the time his feet hit the ground after the jump he set the record for the highest manned ascent in a balloon, the highest skydive AND he became the first human being ever to penetrate the sound barrier with no kind of craft accelerating him to those speeds...he did it strictly through freefall.  So, a HUGE congratulations to Felix and his whole team and such an incredible accomplishment!  Sky diving has always been on my bucket list and this may just give me the spark to go do it...although, I think I'll stay a little closer to the ground...

R


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The problem with the Chiefs
It seems that everyone is chiming in on the Chiefs' woes these days so I figured I'd pile on and throw my two cents into the mix...why not?  Feel free to disagree with me on this as it is just my opinion, but I disagree that the problem is this player or that player or this coach or that coach...I think the problem is actually Clark Hunt. 

I'm sure Clark's a nice enough guy but at the end of the day (and again, this is just my opinion) he's a businessman and he cares more about that than he cares about the team or even this city for that matter.  Whether I'm right or wrong, here's why I feel this way and it's pretty simple really....he lives in Dallas.  That's it...that's my reasoning.  I'm not saying anything bad about Dallas, but as the owner of a professional sports franchise, why would you NOT live in the same city as your team??  I just don't understand that...why would I think that you give two shits about Kansas City when you yourself don't even want to live here even though you own OUR football team? (yes, I say they are OURS because we actually live here and support them). 

Why do you think the Royals were so successful in their heyday...the Kauffman's actually lived here!!  They took pride in the team and the city that the team represented.  The Royals' decline can be timed to the death of Ewing Kauffman in 1993.  At that time, obviously, the team got a new owner (someone else who doesn't bother to live in this city) who promptly began to slice the payroll by half eventually making the team the second lowest paid in the league (this after remaining one of the highest in the league under Kauffman) and how have we done since?  Before his death, Kauffman even set up a plan of succession in which the new owners would have to promise to keep the team in Kansas City....if that isn't devotion to our city, I don't know what is (that is one thing no one can deny about the Glass family...they've kept the team here.  I actually hope they never sell the team because there would be no guarantees the new owner wouldn't move the team and we would not have professional baseball in Kansas City anymore....but back to my rant about Clark).  You ever notice all the things around town named for the Kauffmans including the brand new multi-million dollar Performing Arts Center?  They cared about this city and it showed.  It showed not only in their philanthropy but also that they cared enough to give us a good, competitive baseball team while they owned them.  How have the Chiefs done under Clark Hunt?  How far under the salary cap is he and why?  Are you following the David Glass model for the Royals in cost cutting?  We've all seen how well that has worked out.  How often do we name things around town in honor of the Hunt family?  Most importantly, why should we believe he cares about this city in any way shape or form....he doesn't even want to live here.  Given what Clark's father, Lamar, did for the game of football nationally and the foundation he built with Marty Schottenheimer in the '90s, I truly believe that the Hunt name could have been elevated to being synonymous with this city in a way that the Kauffman name still and always will be.  While Lamar will always be revered in this town and nothing will change that, sadly, his loyalty to Carl Peterson did put the Hunt legacy on a little bit of unstable ground...Clark had a GOLDEN opportunity to give his father and the family name God-like status in this town but he has squandered that opportunity with the poor product he continues to put on the field....and yes, what is on the field is ultimately a reflection on him and the Hunt name.  I fear that it's only a matter of time before he completely loses sight of anything resembling a legacy or tradition and sells the naming rights to the beloved Arrowhead Stadium to some corporate sponsor just to make a few extra bucks while still remaining millions and millions under the salary cap....something Kauffman would have NEVER done and from what I've seen so far of the "Clark-era" I would not put it past Clark to do for a second.  Again I ask,why should I believe that he cares about this city in any way, shape or form?  By the way, thanks for the press release standing up for the fans after Cassel's injury...I hope it didn't take too long to fax that from Dallas where I'm sure it was written. 

Prove me wrong, Clark...please, I'm begging you!  I yearn for the day that I have to eat a big 'ol plate of crow on this.  I'm not asking you to sell the team or anything, far from it...I think the Chiefs should ALWAYS go hand in hand and be owned by the Hunt family and my opinion on that will never change.  All I'm asking is that you care.  Sell your home and move to Kansas City.  Make this your home (your plush "apartment" inside Arrowhead doesn't count).  Something as simple as that would be an act of good faith and step in the right direction to proving to people that even care about this city.  I would love nothing more that to see the Hunt name once again elevated to the level of the Kauffman name.  If you don't feel the same way, fine...we'll go about our days knowing that we care more about this town and our football team than you do...and that the Hunt family name will ALWAYS be in the Kauffman's shadow.


 
R
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