“…Ready For It?”
Yes, that’s another Taylor Swift song title wedged unnaturally into a sports column.
But the good news is there are only a few days left this season of having to deal with us tragically unhip hacks trying to sound cool and relevant by making snarky references about the power couple of the century, as if the root is anything other than jealousy.
But this isn’t another faux thinkpiece about the most successful pop star on the planet and Travis Kelce, the greatest tight end of all time, dating and how we should all feel about it.
Anyone who reads this space knows it is an extremely pro-Traylor zone.
Instead, the question posed by Taylor Swift on her iconic “Reputation” album applies to the great people of Southern Nevada.
Are you ready for the official coronation ceremony of Las Vegas as both the entertainment and sports capitals of the world?
Because that is what Sunday is about.
Didn’t have to leave
The evolution is complete, as the day never thought possible is finally here with the Super Bowl being played at Allegiant Stadium.
All of the reasons we all believed this would never happen have been detailed, from the archaic thought processes about vice, the absolute hypocrisy on gambling, to the false perception of the community being forever transient.
While this day should have happened long ago, we can all appreciate that it is happening now.
I certainly do. This won’t be the first Super Bowl I have covered, but it will forever be the most special.
I’ve wanted to be a sports writer since my days roaming the hallways at Silverado High School as sports editor of the school newspaper, the Silverado Star.
But one thing I was always told by some of my mentors in the business was that if I truly wanted to do it at the highest level, I would have to leave the community I had fallen in love with the day my family moved here when I was in eighth grade.
It was just never going to happen here.
As I went through college and my early years in the business, I was fully aware there was a firm ceiling if I wanted to stay in Las Vegas. I would never be able to cover a major league team, and certainly never be able to write about the NFL.
A few places outside of town even pitched me on such. Offers of jobs at outlets where I could cover the league were tempting, but never as alluring as home.
I had accepted the fact that I had forever chosen Las Vegas over fulfilling that dream. Even though I believed Las Vegas had all the potential of being a slam-dunk NFL market and the global hub for all major sporting events, I was convinced it could never happen and I had accepted that as fact.
But it turns out I wasn’t alone in my belief about this community and its potential, and while I was resigned to us forever being left out, a lot of people were instead working to traverse many tricky obstacles and knocking down many imposing barriers.
A special day
Of course, the 2018 Supreme Court decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and allow sports betting in other states was the biggest turning point. But everyone locally who didn’t take no for an answer as easily as I did should be extremely proud when they see that opening kickoff booted high into the conditioned air Sunday.
It may be tough for Raiders fans to appreciate seeing two of their most hated rivals playing a postseason game on that field before their team ever has the chance to do so, but this is much bigger.
The moment has arrived. Sunday is special. Las Vegas is everything the most optimistic dreamers among us believed it could be and more.
It’s the sports capital of the world, and there’s no turning back. The “Love Story” between the sports world and Las Vegas is only getting started.
Sorry, just needed to get one more in before the game.