It was Patrick Mahomes’ home debut. He had just thrown 11 touchdowns in his first two games. He embarrassed Philip Rivers and the Chargers at a soccer stadium. Led the Chiefs to their first win in Pittsburgh in nearly half a century. The Chiefs were 2-0. Chiefs fans were alive. The 49ers and Jimmy G came rolling into town and KC was on fire. There was legitimate magic in the air that day. I practically floated into the stadium along with 80,000 of my fellow best friends.
Shortly after, Mahomes rattled off this absurd sequence and introduced himself to KC. I lost my mind in Section 316. It’s been nothing but passionate, unconditional love ever since.
The Chiefs had the game in hand early on, so I bopped down to the lower level to see if I could snag better seats for the second half with my buddy Larry. We were walking along the lower concourse and grabbed a couple of beers when I saw the silent auction table. I am the biggest sucker in the world for silent auctions. One, they usually have some great sports memorabilia. Two, sometimes it’s a tax write off. Win-win. Outside of my vast collection of golf, dog and boat art I have acquired through the years at various neighborhood art festivals, I have a penchant for sports authentics.
This particular silent auction was being run by a company called something like All-American Sports Memorabilia. Might as well have been called “Acme” or “Vandelay Industries.” I stopped to peruse the usual wares of Derrick Thomas and Len Dawson autographed portraits. They had even mixed in some Elvis stuff too. I knew right then: they were wild cards and there was treasure to be found on this 3 x 10 folding table. All I had to do was look.
I was ready to head back towards the seats, when it caught my eye. The most unique piece of art my eyes had ever seen. Yes, yes. This was it. A matted canvas print of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, autographed by Iron Mike himself with and embedded, mint condition Nintendo controller. I did not care. I had to have it. The silent auction did not end until the third quarter and the price was still very low for such a fine antiquity, well within my drunk budget. A steely-eyed silent auction veteran, I knew that it’s best to wait until the very last minute and you’re just drunk enough to rationalize the purchase. Whether that’s a weekend at someone’s condo in Boca Raton or an autographed mini helmet, you wait. You never put your name on the sheet until you know you’ll win.
So I waited. And I waited. It wasn’t going anywhere.
The third quarter dragged on. Andy and Pat meticulously dismantled the Niners. The fans around me rollicked and hooted with joy and pleasure. All I could think about was Tyson.
After what seemed like hours, the third quarter was about to end. I timed it perfectly. I bounded up the stairs to the concourse. They waved me over, seeing the culture lust in my eyes. I looked down.
“Last bid: $200”
With one stroke of a pen and swipe of the credit card, I had my prize for $250.
They asked me if I’d like to take the item home with me that day or they could just mail it to me. I did not want to have this thing get trampled underneath me during a Tyreek Hill bomb or get Ocean’s 12’d on the concourse by a fellow collector. I opted to have them ship it to me. Little did I know that decision would haunt me forever.
I gave them my address and an extra $20 for shipping and returned to watch the remainder of the game. I was flying high. It was a coup. A lifetime item. It was all mine. The Chiefs won. They covered. We went to The Peanut.
I waited for weeks. The Tyson print never showed. I thought about calling the FBI. Who else handles art theft? Interpol? Surely this was out of the scope and purview of KCPD or the Jackson County Sheriff’s office. I doubt they have an artnapping department like federal agencies. I tried calling the so called “All-American Sports Memorabilia” company line I found online, only to find that their voicemail inbox was full. Likely filled to the brim with complaints from other drunk idiots they’d swindled.
Finally, a package arrived. I bounded down into the lobby of my apartment building, thanked the doorman and returned upstairs to find…this.
I don’t know about you, but that does not look like $250 worth of sports memorabilia to me. That looks like it was plucked out of a goddamn clearance bin at Big Lots. It’s not even autographed. You can even see my utter displeasure in my body language in the reflection on it.
I called and called and called this alleged company. No answer. Nothing. Finally one day, I got through. It was a company in Arkansas who actually had the record of me purchasing a “boxing print,” but no specific item. I knew immediately I was dealing with scam artists. Wouldn’t you know it, they had sold it to someone else and the receipt they had for me had mysteriously vanished! All they would confirm is that they were at Arrowhead that day and had sold a print to one Brian McGannon. I called the Better Business Bureau. I lobbied the Chiefs, Jackson County and Truman Sports Complex to ban them from the stadium, but the Chiefs said that they only had reserved concourse space one day that season.
Hoodwinked. Swindled. Led astray. By some fucking gypsies from Arkansas.
I’ll occasionally search for the exact Tyson print online, but it only makes me angrier. Like finding a similar piece going for over $500 on Amazon.
One of the worst Ls I’ve ever taken in my life.
As for the Ali print, it sat on Facebook Marketplace for the better part of two years for $50. Had one guy offer $20 for it, but he never showed. As I was moving out of my apartment a year ago, a gentleman overheard me complaining about the Ali print to my girlfriend.
“Hey, I think that’s pretty cool,” he said.
“Here. Have it.”
“Really? Thanks, man!”
Was that interaction worth the torment and $250? Maybe. It just felt good to make someone’s day. In the end, I won. All-American Sports Memorabilia probably continues to swindle folks in minor league baseball stadiums to this day. But they didn’t beat me on this one. I came out on top. A good Samaritan who made some Boomer’s day.
Moral of the story: Don’t buy art at Arrowhead from Arkansas hill country gypsies when you’re eight Michelob Ultras and three fireball nips deep. Art is an investment. Invest wisely.