"be brief and tell us everything."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Royals Celebration Parade.

It's ironic I am writing this post now, as the parade took place exactly (right down to the hour) a week ago today. The city has quite a different landscape today than it did a week ago.

I woke up around 6am. I didn't sleep well. I had those excited jitters you get when something thrilling is happening the next day and you are terrified of oversleeping, so you never really fall asleep. As I was getting ready, I watched the news and people had camped out the night before and now people were slowly trickling in and I was excited (and now nervous) to get down there.

Almost every school in the metro area canceled for a "Blue Snow Day." This added probably 250,000 (my guess) people to the already growing number expected to be at the parade. The parade was from 12-2, with a rally at Union Station afterwards. We left the house about 8:10am and met our friend Michael in front of Union Station, who had gotten there about an hour earlier to save us all a spot. We parked by Penn Valley Community College (about a mile away) There was traffic but we didn't experience any real problems or delays. When we got there around 8:30am, things were starting to fill up but we got to Michael easily. Our spot was fantastic; we were on a slight hill with a great view of the stage.

Lola played with Henry and Elsie most of the time during the parade. We brought Ipads, coloring books, snacks and My Little Ponies to keep them busy and entertained while we sat in the same spot for 5 hours. All 3 of the kids behaved so well-I was impressed! Honestly, I don't think Lola really knew (or cared) what was going on. She knows the Royals play baseball and she clapped along with the crowd but her favorite player is Josh Donaldson (who plays for the Blue Jays-who we beat in the ALCS.) It seemed Henry and Elsie were the same way, too. Hopefully, Lola remembers more than I think she will she did and will able to tell others about her experience later in life.

There were outhouses about 20-30 yards away from us, so around 10:30am we tried to use the bathroom before everything started. It took us 45 minutes just to walk through the crowd to get to them. I held Lola as tightly as a could but, for a split second, I lost hold of her and realized how quickly and easily it is to lose a child in a crowd that size. I heard later that over 150 children had gotten away from their families during the parade. I think most of them were teenagers between 10-14 years old but the panic that one must feel losing a child (or being a child that is lost) in a crowd that size must be crippling. By 11am, no one was going anywhere. It was shoulder to shoulder people, more people than I have ever experienced at any show, or anywhere at anytime. To look around, was to see nothing but the color Blue and people, people, people everywhere. People sitting on top of outhouses, people sitting on rocks underneath a hotel, people on roofs and ledges, people climbing streetlight pools because there was literally no where else to go. Some even abandoned their cars on the side of the highway, unable to drive any further into the city, and walked the rest of the way to the parade. There were so many people in one location, cellphone towers were overworked and cellphones stopped working. It became impossible to reach out to anyone, anywhere, whether they were at the parade or not. I usually do well in big crowds but after being there for 5 hours, I began to get anxious. The crowd was so big it was getting small, smaller and finally it felt like it was on top of me. The thought of not being able to leave if I had to was the only thing I could think about. (I start to feel the same way on planes after about 4 hours.) Once the rally started, I could focus on other things and the anxiety lifted.

 For the parade, we could only see the tops of the players heads as they rounded the corner from about 30 yards away. But what we lacked in viewing for the actual parade, we made up for in viewing of the rally. We had just about the best vantage point as you could've had that day. The managers, George Brett and different players took turns speaking to the crowd. Johnny Gomes led the rally, along with this hype-inducing rant: "Rookie of the Year-not on our team-beat em! MVP of the whole league-not on our team but we beat that guy too! We whopped their ass!" (paraphrased, of course) I'm sure it will be on Youtube for years to come.

It had been 30 years since the city had done anything like this, so no one really knew what to expect which made planning difficult. But now we know, for next year, to GET THERE EARLY. Park far away and be prepared to walk. PACK A LUNCH. Decide if you want to watch the parade or the rally and GET THERE EARLY to find a spot. Try to find a viewing area where you can see but that is still part of the crowd, so you can experience and feel the crowd's energy. Remember, your cell phone may not work, so plan ahead and go as a group. The whole, "we will meet you down there" idea isn't going to work. If you can swing it, it would be amazing to rent a hotel room by Crown Center for the night before and the night after. Try not to bring children. Lola had great behavior the entire day; she did way better than I thought she would. However, crowds that large are simply unsafe for small children.

Overall, we had a great experience. (especially after hearing some other parade goers horror stories of getting lost from their group, sitting in traffic for 2 hours, not being able to see anything, etc.) We were all tired and hungry and thirsty from lack of food and water (no one drank so we wouldn't have to use the bathroom) but every restaurant in the city was booked for hours, so we settled on eating old chicken strips from HyVee after the parade. Once the headache subsided and our bellies were full, I laid in bed and reminisced on how I had been a part of something historic to this city, something I will get to tell my grandchildren about or anyone else who's interested, because, "I was there."

Hearing 800,000 people chant, "Let's Go Royals!" gave me chills and was truly a once in a lifetime experience. To watch an entire city put an entire day on hold and celebrate together, was historic. 800,000 people and only 3 arrests. No major incidents to report. that's amazing. That's Kansas City. 

Monday, November 9, 2015


"We were irrelevant." Irrelevant. Not important. Not having to do with what is being discussed. A few short years ago, The Kansas City Royals weren't even relative to a conversation about Major League Baseball.

THAT'S why this matters. THAT'S why schools were cancelled and a city stopped to celebrate a team, a city, doing the impossible.

ALMOST impossible.

98% impossible.

When we came back and beat the Astros in Game 4 of the ALDS after trailing by 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th, our chances of winning were less than 2%. But that wasn't the only game we refused to lose.

In the top of the 8th of game 6 of the ALCS, the Blue Jays hit a home run to tie the game. It would have been easy to feel hope deflate as time was running out. Instead, we played Royals baseball, kept the line moving and answered with an RBI to win the game and move on to the WORLD SERIES.

Flash Forward a week, as the Mets led 2-0 for most of Game 5 of the World Series. As the 9th inning started, I admit I mentally called it a night and started to prepare myself for the next game.

When will I learn that a game isn't over until the Royals say it's over?

In the top of the 9th, as Eric Hosmer ran home and slide, face first, into home plate to tie the game, we knew. The Mets knew. Kansas City knew.

In true Royals fashion, we won Game 5 of the World Series in 12 innings, beating the Mets 7-2 to become World Champions.

We shouldn't have beat the Astros. We shouldn't have beat the Blue Jays. We Shouldn't have beat the Mets.

But we did.

It's remarkable how many games we won that we should have lost. We were losing in 8 different games during the post-season alone that we came back and won.

Winning once like that is fluke. Winning consistently like that is a team that plays with heart. 

With the Royals, no player stands out more than another. Rather, each player performs their job with conviction. They support each other and find value in every player on that roster, from the starters to those who encourage in the dugout. Each player shines brighter in the light of their teammate, like a mirror that brightens the sun.

The Royals inspire us to find our 8th inning, to do what seems impossible, to beat the odds, to do the things others say you can't. They are a team that doesn't quit, a team that shines the brightest when it looks the darkest.

So thank you, Kansas City Royals. Thank you for the memories all of us as natives to this town have of going to games at Kauffman Stadium, whether it be with our grandparents on Buck Night, sharing hotdogs and peanuts or with our high school sweetheart, silently wishing to get on the Kiss Cam. And now, thank you for the new memories we've made with our children watching as the Boys in Blue usher in a new generation of fans, creating more memories watching the Royals, watching


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Lie. (or what do I have to do to be famous around here?)

I’ve been lied to. I fucking hate being lied to. I believed the lie plastered on posters in kindergarten classrooms and spoke to thousands of middle school students during gymnasium assemblies.

“You can do anything! Don’t settle for less than your dreams! You CAN achieve your goals!”

It’s all bullshit.

I use to judge the poor bastards who gave up on their dreams. I really did. I thought the Olympic athlete who never won a gold medal just wasn’t trying hard enough. Or the actress waiting tables in LA after 20 years just wasn’t taking enough chances.

My life was going to be different. It was 2004; I was 23, and ready to start my career as a singer-songwriter. I was going to make sacrifices and take chances. I wasn’t going to let anything or anyone stop me. I was going to fucking make it.

Plus, I want to be famous. I would never admit that to anyone but it’s true. I want attention. I want recognition and “Oh, Bethanny, you’re so talented! God, is there anything you can’t do?” I want to yell at the paparazzi to “GET OFF MY LAWN!” I want to have to wear sunglasses and a big hat so no one recognizes me, when all I want is a simple cup of coffee. I want a million followers on Instagram and a house next to Kim Kardashian.

But that’s not why I became a musician, of course. I had written songs with lyrics that came from my heart. I’m talking real transparency and relateability. These songs meant something to me and I knew the rest of the world would love my music if they just got a chance to hear it! I wanted to be like Taylor Swift, except I don’t actually listen to Taylor Swift.

Trying out for American Idol was the perfect opportunity for a small town Oklahoma girl like me to get the exposure needed to make it in the music industry.

I remember the thousands of suckers waiting in line to audition. I was better than everyone there. (Better looking, at the very least.) I surveyed the crowd and said to myself, “Loser, loser, loser, too fat, too ugly, too old. Please, you’ll never get anywhere with that nose.” I felt bad for them, really but I knew that one day they would be able to say they were at the exact same audition the year I, Bethanny, won American Idol.

I knew that once Simon heard my music and saw my face, he would know I was exactly what American Idol and the rest of the country was looking for.

But Simon Cowell is an asshole. (They should change those posters to say, “You can be anything you want to be! Just watch out for assholes like Simon Cowell.”)

20 seconds into my audition, he stopped me and asked how long I had been playing the guitar and how in all those years no one told me I sucked and blah, blah blah.

I told Simon he was wrong; I would become famous! (A famous musician, I mean.)

“I want this more and will work harder than anyone here. I really want this and I will do whatever it takes, Simon, please! PLEASE JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE!”

“You know what it would take, darling?” Simon said simply, eyebrows raised, gaze focused directly, intently on me.

“What Simon, anything…” I was begging, you guys. This was it. He was going to tell me the secret to fame and fortune.

 “It takes talent.”

Fuck you, Simon. I felt my throat close in on itself and could feel the hot tears forming behind my eyes. I wasn’t terrible…was I? I wasn’t talentless…right? My parents loved to hear me play and I’ve sang at church since I was a little girl! Plus, this is my dream! My passion! I want to be famous more than anything!

In that moment, I saw my career as a singer-songwriter crumble like a cookie in a fat kids sweaty hand. This was not what was supposed to happen. I saw my huge house in the Hollywood Hills fade into the background as if covered by a fog of failure. Maybe this wasn’t for me and it took a total stranger who could give two shits about me to finally tell me the truth.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that sometimes hard work, passion and sheer desire isn’t enough. Sometimes it takes fate. Or the Universe. Or God. Or whatever force it was that allowed Brad Pitt to be casted in Thelma and Louise instead of the other handsome man from small-town Iowa who now works in real estate.

But more importantly I learned that I failed in the music industry not because I wasn’t talented (please) but because I was following the wrong dream. I’ve learned that my true passion in life is being a fashion designer and I will not stop until I succeed. I want this more than anything-it’s my passion! Anyway, I’m trying out for project runway next fall. (I have no formal seamstress training but I once made a purse for my mom and she loved it.) Wish me luck!

my first half marathon.

Rock the Parkway Half Marathon April 11, 2015

13.1 miles in 2 hours, 27 minutes. (11:17 per mile pace) running a half marathon has been a dream of mine for 9 years. I've started countless training programs only to stop and give up when it got too hard. I was emotional as I crossed the finish line, thinking of all the times I had convinced myself that I could never run that far, it wasn't possible, being too self conscious to try because I don't "look" like a long distance runner. but today, I did it. I did something I never thought I could do, something I've tried and failed at so many times before. we can do the hard things, friends. and than afterwards, we can eat all the pancakes.

will I run another half marathon? I’m not sure but honestly, probably not. I hurt my knee/thigh from high mileage every week for over a month and I’m not sure my body can handle the wear and tear. I need to lose some serious weight before I consider running such constantly high mileage again. I also enjoy lifting and proper training for a half limits you to simply running for exercise, especially the closer you get to race day. Running a half marathon was a huge confidence booster. I learned with time and training, I can do things physically that once seemed impossible. I no longer say, “I can’t” but I now understand I CAN but ONLY if I am willing to put in the work it takes to achieve that goal. Part of that is learning which goals are important to me to spend my time and energy on. So for now, I am going to focus on 5K’s. I enjoy 5K’s and would like to get my time to less than 30 minutes. But running a half marathon also taught me to never say never. : )

thoughts you think while running 13.1 miles.

Alright! Let’s do this!

I’m feeling pretty good, pretty good.

I love this song!

I’ve only gone HOW far?

And I have HOW far to go?

This sucks.

I’m hungry.

Ok, I think I’ve found my rhythm. 

What should I eat when I’m done?

I’m hungry.

I should NOT have eaten pizza yesterday.

My legs hurt.

I just want to stop.

I can’t do this.

Why am I doing this again?

My legs hurt.

But I have legs. I should be thankful for my legs. I should be thankful for my overall health. I want to be on this earth for as long as possible. I want to take care of myself and push myself and give thanks for the miraculous things are bodies are capable of.

Almost done.

I CAN do this.

I CAN do this.

I’m done! I am so glad I did that.

We should do it again.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

but what about me?

Everyone knows the story of the Prodigal Son; the younger of two brothers who humiliates his family and squanders his fathers inheritance only to return home to a warm hug, new clothes and a huge party. It’s a beautiful parable about grace and forgiveness when it’s the last thing we deserve.

But there is part of this story that is often overlooked. There is someone in this story I find myself relating to more often than the Prodigal Son.

The older brother was loyal to his father. He worked hard, followed commands and never neglected his responsibilities. I imagine, too, that when his younger brother left, he picked up the slack, doing twice as much work as he had before.

So when his younger brother came home from his irresponsible and selfish escapades and he heard the party that was being thrown for him, he became angry, refusing to go in and celebrate. “Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of years came home, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.” (Luke 15:29-30)

At first he sounds like a whiny child, throwing a temper tantrum because his brother has something he wants. But he sort of has a point, doesn’t he? He never left, never put his father through such heartache, never insulted his family and yet, his brother, an irresponsible, egotistical prick comes back home and gets all the nicest things while he is left with nothing? It doesn’t seem fair.

“We’ve always done everything right! We tithe; we spend our money wisely and save accordingly. I’ve seen how irresponsible they are so why does it seem like their business is doing so well and we are barely making ends meet? Why do they make more money than we do when they have screwed up so many times and we’ve been so faithful?”

“I am constantly working hard for my company. I work late, I come in early and I sacrifice time with my family to help others. Yet, no one ever recognizes the good that I do. Everyone praises her for just doing her job while all the extra I do is overlooked and never acknowledged.”

“I’ve dedicated my life to Christ and those around me who never give him a second thought seem to have it so much easier.”

“I’m tired of doing good when it doesn’t even seem to matter anyway.”

The older brother had the privilege of serving his father and he allowed that privilege to turn into a resentful obligation in his heart.


Sins of the heart are so much harder to repent from because they are so much easier to hide. That’s why Jesus so frequently speaks to the issues of our hearts, the things only we think and feel and know. Things that if we allow to fester and go un-named, will eat us up from the inside out. Wanting to be noticed and acknowledged, especially for the hard work that we do, is normal human nature, yet Christ calls us to die to ourselves. The sinful attitudes of our hearts have a way of becoming oddly comforting and affirming and if we allow them to go unchallenged, they will eventually hold us captive. And Jesus came to set the captive free.

The father came out and began pleading with the older brother to join the celebration. The older brother had also sinned and the Father is offering the same grace and forgiveness to him.

The text never tells us what the older son decided to do. But I pray that as I stand daily on the threshold of grace, I choose to recognize my need for a savior and joyfully join the party of redemption. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Ode to the Kansas City Royals.

If you haven’t lived in Kansas City the past 29 years, it’s hard to understand what this October meant for us. It’s hard for an outsider to understand how far we’ve come. How bad we truly were. I remember buying tickets for Royals games at $7 a piece and the best part of a game being the stale hot dog I ate during buck night. Many times I drove by Kauffman Stadium on a Saturday afternoon and saw more empty seats than filled ones. A town that at times would have rather of had no team at all then to continue and support the Royals.

I was born and raised in a city with both a professional football and baseball team, yet I’ve never experienced the Big Dance in either sport. Until now. Until October 2014 when the Royals made it to the Postseason and ultimately, the World Series.

I got to experience a city rally together, Royals hats everywhere, chatter amongst strangers about the game in line at Starbucks, kids running around blue fountains with Kansas City flags waving them like a call to battle. I witnessed crowded stores with people standing in line for a t-shirt. I drove around this city in awe as businesses, schools, Westport, The Plaza, even Arrowhead, all came together to support our boys in blue.

I saw a young team in spite of being overlooked and laughed at, show big, royal blue heart.

When the Royals made it to the World Series after 29 years of not even making the postseason, it was what dreams are made of. After a hellacious week, the series was tied 3-3 and it all came down to this. Game 7 at Kauffman. Hollywood directors can’t write a script this good.

But unlike a movie script ending, the Royals lost with a final score of 3-2. A triple by Alex Gordon in the bottom of the 9th followed by a pop fly ball to third by Perez ended the game. And just like that, October baseball was over.

Optimistic fans flooded Facebook with encouraging words like,
“Don’t worry, we’ll get them next year!”

But what if we don’t? Because more than likely, we won’t.

It hard to explain why giving it everything you have, training right, working hard and wanting it more than anything else in the world, simply isn’t enough sometimes.

It’s hard to explain why David never beats Goliath.

Oh, but sometimes, he does. Because even though we lost the World Series, the Royals won a wild card game in the bottom of the 12th and Kansas City got to witness what some are calling one of the best games of any sport ever played.

Then the Royals went on to sweep the Angels, statistically the best team in baseball with the most wins during the regular season. And sometimes taking down Goliath looks like sweeping the O’s to win the ALCS and taking the Giants to game seven, bottom of the 9th in the World Series.

When you lose the World Series, it’s almost like grieving. First, you are in shock, then angry and finally obsessively replaying the final moments over and over again in your mind wondering what could have been different.

But after a good cry and plenty of lamenting, something keeps us coming back. Something wakes us up in the morning, excited for next season, willing to put ourselves through it all over again.

For the players, it may be the love of the game and the history and relationship they have with baseball.

For the fans, I think its community. I think it’s belonging to something bigger than you. I think it’s participating in something that brings friends, family and a city together.

I think its hope. I think it’s the lesson that teaches us to give it everything you have because you never know if you never try.

So today I tip my hat to you, The Kansas City Royals. THANK YOU. It was a hell of a season and you should be damn proud of yourselves.