Today has been my best day in Kansas City. I had a very chilled out morning where I went to the gym. I met with Jake for lunch and he said he’d take me too the best BBQ in Kansas. Kansas is famous for its BBQ and this place is the best in town. Now when Jake is telling me about this place he tells me to trust him on this one. We pull up to a petrol station and eventually find a parking spot. The restaurant shares it’s building with a petrol station so as we go through the door there’s people paying for their fuel. The other half of the building is absolutely full of people waiting very patiently to be served. There’s not a seat to be had when we arrive and Jake informs me that this queue is small and usually people are queuing out of the building, across the car park and down the street! This is the original building and the owners are happy to keep it this way, just in case you ever come across it, it’s called Oklahoma Joes (Oklahomajoesbbq.com). I ordered the Hog Heaven and we shared a full rack of ribs, the food was absolutely beautiful. If you get the chance to go here just run with it and enjoy.
From there I went to attend the game between Man City and Sporting KS, I have to say I have just enjoyed the best evening at a football match ever. I had been looking forward to this game the moment I decided to come to Kansas City, I was intrigued to see how the teams would match. Tonight’s match has blown me away from an off the field perspective, we could learn so much from a customer service aspect.
The game kicked off at 8pm but the gates are opened to the ground at 6pm. The fans get in early as they can eat, drink, socialise and access the full ground, it’s a very family orientated atmosphere. I arrive about 6.30 and meet with Jake who hands me my match ticket. I notice i have a front row seat and the ticket value is $350 (about £200)!! I’m then taken to a lounge where I get free food and drink all night and there’s a full bar to choose from and about a dozen different meals as well.
Graham Zusi, injured for tonight’s game and Sporting and USA World Cup star player, is casual mingling with fans chatting, signing autographs and having photos (I didn’t miss my chance). Both owners of the football club, in shorts and t-shirts and a combined wealth of over $5 billion, are in there as well chatting to anyone who wants to speak to them. Both teams make there way through the lounge for the kick off, so I’m literally in touching distance of both sets of players. I take my seat in the front row of the ground which is a close to the pitch as you can imagine.
My seat is padded and I have more leg room than I did on my long haul flight. 5 minutes into the game a waitress comes down and asks for my drinks order!! I order a beer and she returns with the drinks and a tray of shots for me to try, could you imagine that at a game in the UK? A few minutes during the game later the ball is cleared and I can see it coming in my direction, I catch the ball and throw it back to one of the players. Little did I know me catching the ball was shown on the large screens in the ground but they game was live on ESPN all over America, so I’ve now made my TV debut in the States. I’ve got my agent waiting for TV deals to come in now!!
At half time the Premier League trophy and the Carling Cup are brought into the lounge for photographs and to look at. The game passes by with a fantastic atmosphere and Man City 4-1 win. The hospitality continues throughout the whole game and nothing is a problem for the staff. I leave the stadium about 11.30pm and I have to say it was the best experience I’ve ever had as a fan at a football match.