Tuesday 22 October 2013

Meet the Gooner Family [Sick Boy, Kansas City]

Meet David Colgan, aka 'Sick Boy', my host in Kansas City.

A rare selfie: Sick-boy and I
Just a little background about David so you can get an idea of who he is and how hectic his lifestyle is at the moment. David's originally from Ireland and works as a Sales Manager at Kansas City's leading kraft brewery, the Boulevard Brewing Company. Yes, it's an enviable job, moreso if you're from the Emerald Isles. This particular kraft brewery is actually the Mid-West's largest and is symbolic to the city. However, a few days ago it was announced that they were being acquired by the world-famous Duvel Moortgat Brewery (as in Duvel, the 'champagne' of beer's). To cut a long story short, there is a feeling of uncertainty as a historical part of the city's culture is in question, and David has been rushing around the city convincing punters and landlords that everything is fine and it's not the hop-and-barley equivalent of the armageddon.

David is also family guy and had to juggle that along with a bout of pharyngitis, so the last thing he needed was a clueless Brit to act tour-guide to. Regardless, he pulled it off and, in typical 'Gooner Family' style, made me feel right at home with his slightly-more-than-nutty family.

David Colgan

Q. Why Arsenal?
I don't want to get to deep, but I guess they've mirrored my life. I've seen Arsenal through some very bad times and being so mediocre it was hard to watch, then into the George Graham times, Bruce Rioch was over in the blink of an eye but he still signed Dennis Bergkamp, and then on to 'who is this Wenger guy?', to going 8 years without a trophy, to now (where we are having our best season at The Emirates so far). It's a story and I'm glad to be a part of it.

Q. Started Supporting Arsenal?
I was 4 years old. My Mother went into town back home in Dublen and saw football T-shirts on sale. There was a Man United shirt, a Leeds shirt and an Arsenal. She thought I'd like the gun on the chest and so she bought the Arsenal shirt. I have a lot to thank my mother about in life, this moment is one of them.

Q. Favourite Player?
Out of my top 5 (Brady, Adams, Bergkamp, Wright, Nicholas), Ian Wright is my favourite, he was full of character and did the unthinkable at times. He had attitude and flair that was hard to match back then.

Q. Favourite current Player?
Aaron Ramsey, he's had such a hard time, but he's playing so well right now. It used to be Van Persie, but understandably he's now my villain.

Q. Favourite Arsenal moment?
1989 Anfield. Nothing else to say

Q.Where do you watch Arsenal in Kansas.
Johnny's Tavern when I can, don't like watching Man United/Chelsea play in public as I get too caught up emotionally and don't want people to see me get carried away.

Q. Emirates or Highbury?
Highbury. We haven't won anything at the Emirates have we?!

Q. League Prediction?
I think we're going to win it, I really do! Now is the perfect opportunity, if we don't win it, it will go to Chelsea. But, they don't have Drogba now, so I say it's ours for the taking.

Q. Who will be Arsenal's player to watch this season?
Flamini is going to have a great year, he is no.1 on the team sheet as far as I'm concerned, he is the one guy I want to be playing every game. 

So that's it for Kansas City and my time with Sick Boy. Next stop, Salt Lake City, land of the Mormons. Eeeek! Remember, if you're enjoying the blog, please donate to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation here.


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.