Tuesday 22 October 2013

Arsenal 4-1 Norwich - [Johnny's Tavern, Kansas City]

Before telling you all about Kansas City and my time there, let me tell you that I will always remember Kansas City as the location where I witnessed Jack Wilshere score the goal of the season millennium. I can't remember the last time I watched an Arsenal goal over and over again (I've actually just watched it again, as I type this). 

More concrete
I'll also remember this particular leg well because it was the game where some of the guys from Madison in Wisconsin made a (quite considerable) road-trip to personally deliver $1100 for the fundraiser. Considering I didn't even go to Madison WI, you have to say it was an unbelievable thing to do. Hats off to the guys up there, especially to Andrew Schmidt who orchestrated it all - unfortunately he couldn't make it down to KC because, to cut a long story very short, he can't fart at the moment. The guys in Madison know what I mean.
Interestingly, whilst in Kansas City I had my first trip to an American hospital, thankfully nothing to do with me but more about accompanying my host, David, who came down with a nasty bout of pharyngitis, which is basically inflamed tonsils. It's similar to tonsillitis, but I don't know if it's the same thing or not (you know these Americans and their way with words). If anybody can be bothered to explain the difference between the two, feel free to let me know so I can fall asleep. The hospital trip was particularly entertaining as there was a chap in his 40's in the waiting room, bucket in between knees, legs trembling on what appeared to be an acid-trip of a lifetime. The fact that he was the only person in the waiting room other than David and I made it a particularly memorable moment. I can still hear his only words: "This can't be f***ng happening man!". I felt sorry for him but I'm sure it was all his own fault and I hope he learned his lesson. And it was still a priceless experience. 

I also managed to indulge in a spot of MLS 'Soccer' whilst in the city, the second match in my time in the U.S. The first one being in NYC where I saw the Red Bulls play FC Dallas. The only reason I went to that game was to see The King himself, but he was definitely having an off-day and the match itself was like watching paint dry. Sporting Kansas City, on the other hand, was great. The atmosphere was a blast and the fans just loved giving stick to Bill Hamid, the DC United goalkeeper who also happens to be fourth in line for the American Men's Team spot. Judging by his performance I don't think that line is going to get any shorter for him.

The KC Gooners
I didn't get to see much of Kansas City itself as David had the bubonic plague and was originally going to be my tour guide, and he lived quite far from town, but regardless I still had a great time with some great people, and it was nice to relax without having to rush around taking pictures of everything. The highlight for me, and an experience that is probably symbolic with Kansas City, was grabbing some fodder at Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, which serves arguably the best barbecued ribs and brisket in the Mid-west. And it's in a full-service petrol station, I kid you not.

Kansas City BBQ with Gunners from Madison and Kansas (and I can't forget Ireland, too)
Of course the main reason for being in Kansas was to catch an Arsenal match at Johnny's Tavern, home to the KC Gooners. The atmosphere there was probably not what they would have hoped for as I came through town, and mostly this was due to the half-marathon taking place in the early morning. A few runners actually finished after the Arsenal match had begun but still made it to the pub to catch the remainder of the game, most notably of course was Boyce, who helped organise a fundraiser that will see the TNBC Foundation net 20% of the pub's bar tab. Still waiting for final numbers on that one but you'll all know soon enough.

As you can see from the video above, the KC boys were happy with Jack's wonder goal, and in the end we yet again stay top of the league. It also means my 'on the road' unbeaten run continues. Look out for the #KeepGoonerOnTheRoad hashtag on Twitter, understandably nobody wants me to return home!

Until next time.


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