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Richard Pennington (리처드 패닝턴)

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The Kansas City Chiefs: 500 Fascinating Facts

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I can trace the beginnings of this book back to the days when I was living in the USA and doing the Trivia Teasers series for Big Earth. The Wisconsin Idiots had decreed that I was to write about the Kansas City Chiefs, along with another sports franchise. Once I ended that business relationship, I figured why the heck not write about the Chiefs? Furthermore, I had some connection to this team whose life started in 1960 as the Dallas Texans. I recall being a 10-year-old, blond-headed boy wearing a T-shirt that identified me as a member of the Texans’ “Huddle Club.” It was a cheap and easy way to get fannies into the seats at the Cotton Bowl in the early years of pro football in the Lone Star State.

If the Cubs book had featured a hiatus, this had an even longer one. I began working on it even when I was teaching English at the first of two hagwons in Daegu, circa early 2008. I got sidetracked by various personal and professional duties, and then I started on the three baseball books—Detroit, Los Angeles and Chicago. Sometimes I really wondered whether I would ever return to my Kansas City Chiefs manuscript. But unfinished projects gnaw at me, so I did as nature demanded. Once I re-immersed myself in the story, it was full speed ahead as the old cliché goes.

I must admit, the first three years of the franchise’s existence were most interesting to me. That was when Lamar Hunt’s boys were playing in Dallas. The names roll around my head even now: Cotton Davidson, Abner Haynes, Jack Spikes, Chris Burford, Smokey Stover, Johnny Robinson, E.J. Holub, Dave Grayson, Curtis McClinton, Jerry Mays, coach Hank Stram and more. Let it be remembered, they became the ’62 AFL champs when Tommy Brooker kicked an overtime field goal against the Houston Oilers at Jeppesen Stadium. No sooner had they claimed the title before Hunt moved them to the Midwest, leaving Dallas to the NFL’s Cowboys. I guess things turned out well for all concerned because my hometown just could not support two pro football teams.

The book was dedicated to Jo Min-Seo and her sister Eun-Seo, Kim Yeon-Su and her brother Eun-Su, and Park Si-Hyun and her brother Sang-Woo. They are the core of the children I came to know and love in Jangsan Park in Daegu in 2008. Oh, the games we played—swinging, jumping, pushing, throwing the frisbee, and on and on. My favorite part, however, was when we all walked down the street together and “Uncle Richard” bought ice cream. It made me happy just to make them happy.