Most people discover and acquire an active interest in sports at an early age. While most of my friends at that time were starting to explore their new found hobby, I simply had no interest. I didn’t want to watch sports on tv, didn’t want to play sports in the yard or at school & in fact never even owned a single baseball card. What I vividly recall discovering and becoming fascinated with was music. I was 9 years old and my older brother had just gotten a record player and one of his first records was the KISS “Dressed to Kill” album. When he dropped the needle onto that vinyl album for the first time, my fate was sealed. My parents would go on to buy me that album later that year for Christmas.
I would go on for approximately 40 years with “music” as my passion. While friends and family gathered to watch sports throughout the years, I would be listening to and or playing music (usually KISS). I simply never had any connection with, or to, sports. I certainly appreciated sports though, and knew there were some pretty amazing & highly-talented people doing some awesome things. But, it just wasn’t my thing, I simply wasn’t into it.
And then – that band I had gone on to invest 40 years of my life into for entertainment, and even inspiration, announced they were starting an Arena Football League team appropriately called “LA KISS“. I began to see tweets about Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley starting a football team and my ears perked up. And for the first time I found myself reading about football, watching it, and doing everything I could to learn about this sport – and more importantly learning all about “my” team. Yes, at 48 years old, I had finally discovered what all the hoopla was about and I too finally had a team.
Why did it finally click? I truly believe it was because I had an intimate connection with the band & brand. Though I am certainly not one of those KISS fans that can tell you every factoid about the band and/or it’s members, wears the makeup at Halloween or even has a bunch of KISS merchandise all over my house (ok, that last part is a lie, I have quite a collection of KISS merchandise in my house), KISS is without a doubt that staple in music I have always had. And why not? They inspired most of the other bands I have grown to like, no one puts on a more entertaining and engaging concert performance, and no other band in history works as hard as they do for their fans (on stage and off!). Oh, and they wrote/recorded the world-renowned Rock and Roll Anthem “Rock and Roll All Nite” (if I were a lawyer, this is where I would say “I rest my case”).
Having such an emotional attachment to the band coupled with their philosophy & leadership skills that they would be bringing to this new organization, all the pieces were in place and I simply fell into my sports place. I, at 48 years old, finally had that sports spark. And with KISS behind that spark, it would be more appropriate to call it a series of huge explosions. And truth be told, I got interested in the LA KISS in that fashion. I didn’t just ease into it – no one ever eases into anything KISS. It’s just not done that way.
Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Doc McGhee (KISS’s long-time manager) joined forces to create the LA KISS. They are 3 very strong, powerful, established and relentless leaders. They are business smart, people savvy and fan conscious. Those are 3 monster qualities to have mastered – and just what it takes to acquire the right talent for a team, to lead them, to retain them and to train them to be winners. As for how involved Gene and Paul are with the team/games, they have each appeared at several home games and even done meet & greets. They give pep talks in the locker room and even on the sidelines. They are truly hands-on (where the find the time I have no idea, but they do).
Needless to say, the LA KISS would not be like any other team even at conception. The helmets (designed by Paul Stanley) bore the infamous KISS “flames” and their logo comes in the shape of a guitar pick. The players entrance to the field starts with fireworks, explosions and an entire stadium completely immersed in the experience. And it only gets better from there. Imaging being at a KISS concert, because in a way you kind of are. Only instead of 4 guys on stage busting their asses entertaining you, there is a team of players on the field busting their asses to win a game – with a pseudo KISS-style fanfare peppered throughout. The energy, ambiance, passion and raw determination all come together and the fans are just as much apart of the game as the players. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen. Every LA KISS game epitomizes sport, entertainment and fan appreciation. If you haven’t yet discovered this amazing phenomena called the LA KISS, do yourself a favor and look into it.
Now, when people ask if I am into sports, my answer is simply “I am one with the LA KISS” #WEAREONE
— John J. Simpson – on twitter at @johnjsimpson