This year's successful Kansas City Chiefs training camp helps, but only winning games during the regular season and playoffs can ensure a long run for camp in St. Joseph.
We come to this conclusion after taking note of the many positive things said this summer about our community and the 2013 camp, which closes today.
Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt praises “what we have here at Missouri Western (State University)” as second to none in the National Football League. Both Mr. Hunt and Head Coach Andy Reid also express a strong preference for getting away from their Kansas City training headquarters for the traditional summertime bonding experience of camp.
These sentiments are voiced in a time of optimism and anticipation that the franchise has turned a corner and is headed toward brighter days ahead. Should that not prove to be the case, however, then once again the franchise would be in a mood to reassess everything and likely a new coach would weigh in on where future summer camps would be held.
That our community wants the Chiefs here is unmistakable, no matter the handful of detractors and those who profess no interest. The training camp has brought few, if any, negatives. And although it has yet to prove a major economic boon, that fact has done little to deter those who believe in its potential. Just look at the continued support.
Missouri Western is typical. The campus forever should be grateful for the major facilities upgrade it received at the outset, as well as the annual public relations boost. But hosting camp on campus has come at a price.
For weeks each year, this effort requires preparations, focus and staff time. In a time of limited resources, Western has taken on added financial risks associated with planning and executing an event so dependent on the weather and fan interest.
Despite all that, today Western continues to see value and wants the camp back — and not just for the one year remaining on the original contract. The same can be said for the St. Joseph Metro Chamber, the St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau, and many businesses and organizations around town.
The first three years of camp were a challenge. We were new at this, there was a player lockout, and the Chiefs struggled for consistency on and off the field. Now that things are on the upswing, we want more than ever to be a part of this long-term.
Some would say we have earned this opportunity, but the Chiefs’ record no doubt will figure heavily in the equation.