Nobody Puts Kenzie In The Corner: Kansas City Natives And We All A Little Coo-Coo

From the team to the town, Kansas City goes big and never goes home (without a massive trophy).

Two days after the Royals won the World Series, the entirety of downtown Kansas City descended into a pastel sunlight, glowing gold and throwing shadows onto the historical Western Auto, its famous sign blinking brilliantly and illuminating the transcendence of the skyline it partially comprises. The photogenicity of the moment beckoned a nostalgia, a distinct impression that the city itself was reminiscing on the history it had witnessed that day, and its predecessor three decades prior. Street-sweepers struggled by trash skipping over the roads and sidewalks which hours earlier were invisible under a thick carpet of parade-goers. But now, the turbulent seas of Manhattan-esque traffic had run dry, barriers taken down, side-streets reopened for public passage. A few stray souls lounged lethargically on curbsides or stumbled drunkenly across the confetti-littered concrete. This was the aftermath of the 2015 World Series Parade.

I find myself reliving almost the same phenomenon I experienced last year- almost. The key difference between this year and last is the insurmountable pride presently drowning the entire city in contrast to last year’s gut-wrenching heartbreak.  Thus, I am wholly certain that this post is one of those rare instances which I am obliged to step off the beaten path of the List. From walking upwards of seven miles to witnessing knife fights, STA students experienced our school-less Tuesday in a variety of monumental, unbelievable, claustrophobic ways. This is my story.

Two rappers, two Catholic schoolgirls, a married couple, a photographer, and a three-year-old boy walk into a hotel room. Sound like the opening line to a wordy, probably boring joke? You’re not entirely wrong. It’s the opening line to a wordy, probably boring autobiographical account of my life on November 3, 2015.

The adventure does not begin, however, when our miscellany crew piles into Room 1586 of the Westin Crown Center. After wading through throngs of traffic for roughly two hours, my parents, my brother Travie, junior Kelly Hulsey and I finally reached the hotel (not before nearly hitting several foolishly brave walkers and cyclists weaving through the volatile currents of heavy traffic). We parked and emerged onto the sidewalk with a false perception that the heavy police presence would somewhat tame what quickly became a city-wide moshpit. With 800,000 attendees, I am unsure as to why I was naive enough to assume there would be a certain tameness to the gathering, but I was still stunned (and at points frightened) by the startling measures people were willing to go to in the search for a fair vantage point of the parade. Bodies packed into a mass crowd growing, at points, hundreds deep. Trees were climbed, shrubbery trampled. Multiple brave souls shimmied their way across the elevated skywalk straddling the main road, only to be escorted off their perch by police officers within the hour. Children and adults alike scaled Union Station and the surrounding buildings. Others climbed atop random unfortunate vehicles or into the beds of pickup trucks, seemingly all of which drove away with fractured bumpers or concave roofs. Horrifyingly, an ambulance crawled through the mass of bodies at a devastating pace, taking over an hour to part the sea of people. In a climactic moment perfectly epitomizing the animalism and (dare I say it?) Heart of Darkness/moral decay/descent into the id, numerous people actually hung off the sides and back of the snail-like emergency response vehicle in order to hitch a ride to the front of the crowd.


For these reasons, we fled to the relative roominess and comfort of our hotel room, on the way to which we sought out local rappers Tech N9ne and Makzilla, as well as Strange Music photographer Taylor Lamb. After some minor adjustments to the room, such as prying the bolted sliding door opening onto the window ledge turned makeshift 15th story balcony off its hinges, the space proved a prime vista. The men also managed to appropriate a modest feast of sandwiches, abandoned by their rightful consumers (business people fleeing a conference three hours ahead of schedule for fear of traffic on the way to their flights), making for a fine dinner and a show.

And, what a spectacular show it proved to be. What struck me as breathtaking was less the grand showcasing of the players, the presentation of the famed trophy or the epic speeches elliciting enthused roars from the crowd. What struck me was the sheer volume of pride, the very atmosphere that banded so many together, a city united. When the crowd chanted hypnotically, the voices of 800,000 individual fans gave way to a single, unanimous voice: the very voice of Kansas City itself.

As always, thank you beyond thanks for reading. I love writing for you all and I hope you enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoy creating it.

So long and goodnight,

Mackenzie Nicole O’Guin


Special thanks to the Kansas City Royals and everyone involved in the wonderful organization that so grandly enabled such a celebration, the city of Kansas City and all its residence for celebrating with me, STA President Nan Bone and administration  for canceling school on Tuesday, Kelly Hulsey for leaving your inatured and crutch-bound brother at home to hang out with me, Tech for creating “KCMO Anthem” for us to blast all day into the night, and my parents for making wonderful experiences like this possible.