As an intern for Sporting Kansas City, I have come to understand how amazing the fans of Sporting KC truly are. Everywhere I go, I am hard pressed not to see at least one of those wonderful Sporting KC shields etched on some variety of clothing. However, Sporting KC fandom went to a whole other level as I heard the story of a man named Gregory Cheek. Greg is not your ordinary Sporting KC fan. He is currently living in Germany, and takes every opportunity he can to catch all the Sporting KC matches. Greg is also a cancer survivor, and is living every day to its fullest.
We asked him to write a letter about his time abroad and commitment to the club. Suffice to say, he didn't disappoint...
It's amazing, as I travel around Germany, how many MLS fans I've found, and they immediately recognize my Sporting KC gear. I have to keep ordering more scarves as I keep trading with all kinds of different European fans. Futbol is very spiritual for me in a big way. I first went to Bundesliga matches when I was stationed here as a Lieutenant in 1990-1993. I then spent several tours at Ft. Leavenworth and Ft. Riley going to Kansas City futbol matches at Arrowhead and T-Bones Park.
While working at Ft. Leavenworth, I was diagnosed with a grim diagnosis of stage three cancer on May 10, 2010. I started treatment at the KU Cancer Center in June 2010. I went through eight weeks of intensive radiation that took away my taste buds, destroyed my saliva glands, ate with a stomach tube and eventually destroyed my thyroid gland. I hit that point that Lance Armstrong talks about in my eighth week. With my ailment becoming more and more severe, I had reached a crossroad. Lance mentions you can give up, or fight like hell!! I decided to fight like hell in order to do two things:
- See what my children become in the future!
- Get a job back in Germany and watch as much futbol as I possibly can!
I'm fulfilling that dream everyday! I watch all the Sporting KC matches on MLSSoccer.com and I travel every weekend throughout Germany! April 20 was a very special day as I turned 50 and I can honestly look back at 2010, and I had my doubts I would be here! This past weekend, I had a very tough decision on whether I would go to a match at Nuremberg, Cologne, Hoffenheim or Dortmund. The great thing about Germany is that I will just get on the train in the AM and just head out to the match.
View from my season ticket here in Stuttgart
We as Sporting KC fans have an UNBELIEVABLE situation in Kansas City. I've been to almost every Bundesliga stadium this year in Germany, only Hoffenheim compares in size and atmosphere! We have an amazing stadium and with the seat choice, value, cost, parking, friendly staff and watching great futbol, there is no comparison! We have them all beat!
I would like to conclude my post by saying thanks to LIVESTRONG for all the support to both our futbol stadium and Cancer research! Additionally, I'm a Cancer Survivor of two years, as of May 10th, and received chemo and radiation at the BEST Cancer Facility in the world - The University of Kansas Cancer Center!! I wish all our SKC fans well...if anyone is interested in watching some Bundesliga Futbol next year 2012-13, let me know and I can assist with accommodations, amazing food and tickets! I will be back in Kansas City for my quarterly checkups at KU Cancer Center in May and I'm going to the San Jose match and sending my comments and photos back to Germany. Have a Great Day! And YES....................I Believe!!!!!