KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday, it won’t just be Chiefs red at Arrowhead Stadium.
There will be some 49ers fans in the stands. Including one father and son from St. Joseph, Mo., who almost didn’t make it to the game. However, thanks to a little help from the San Francisco Bay Area, the boys will be sitting sideline.
Being a 49er fan is not a popular choice in Kansas City, and especially for some in the Juhl household. Steve and Bethany Juhl have been sweethearts since they were in school. She’s always been a Chiefs fan, and since Steve was 2-years-old he’s loved the San Francisco 49ers. His dad brought home a poster of Joe Montana, and he was sold from then on. He hasn’t missed a 49ers game at Arrowhead since the mid 1990s.
“Our house is a house divided, and we are not all 49ers fans,” Steve Juhl said. “It was very important for her to say that she is a big Chiefs fan, and she is, and I always support her in her Chiefs fandom, but I’m always going to be a 49ers fan.”
Steve’s love of The Niners is something he’s passed on to his six-year-old son Jackson, but not his two daughters, who remain steadfast Chiefs fans like their mother. Two weeks ago, Steve and Bethany welcomed their son Jetson into the world.
“He was born, and he looks just like a perfect normal baby,” Juhl said. “You’d never know if you didn’t see an MRI.”
He was born with Semilobar holoprosencephaly, an abnormal brain development, and relies on his spinal cord to survive.
“I really wanted to go to this game, but with Jetson being born, and some different things we had some difficulties with that – we didn’t know if we’d be able to afford it, and I didn’t want to be selfish and say – hey, we’re going to the Chiefs and Niners game,” Juhl said.
That’s when his mother-in-law stepped in. She’s been helping the couple with the three children through their journey with Jetson. While they were at the Ronald McDonald house Jackson got to meet some of the Chiefs players, and to say it politely, he wasn’t impressed.
“He even growled at them at one point, and when we played them in 3 weeks we were going to beat them, by a lot is what he said, and that [DeForest] Buckner was his favorite player,” Juhl said. “As proud as I was, I was mostly horrified.”
Jackson’s grandmother wrote The Niners, and surprisingly, they wrote back. They offered the father and son 50 yard line seats, and a chance for Jackson to meet DeForest Buckner, his favorite player.
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“Just be recognized by the San Francisco 49ers, and to be shown such gracious hospitality by them here in Kansas City – it means a lot,” Juhl said. “We’ll get to spend time with him before the game, and after the game, and hopefully – whether it’s weeks, whether it’s months, whether it’s years – he’s a part of our family, and we’re excited to share that with him.”