KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City Chiefs fan and his family will be heading down to Florida for an all-expense paid vacation. It’s all thanks to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.
“My whole life, I have never rooted for any other team but the Chiefs,” Clayton Whipple said.
Whipple lives in southern Iowa, but he has family in Kansas City and was raised on the Chiefs.
“My mom is a die-hard sports fan,” Whipple said. “Of our family, she was always the one watching the games, and man, you should hear her in the stands. She gets going.”
This year, despite the pandemic, Whipple wanted to be present in some way at Super Bowl LV. So Whipple donated $100 to charity to have a fan cutout of himself in the stands.
It was placed next to L.J. Govoni, a Buccaneers fan and co-owner of Big Storm Brewing in Clearwater, Fla.
Govoni spent the game sharing beer and chicken tenders with Whipple’s cutout, which he lovingly named “Frank.” Then Govoni went on a mission to find the real Frank.
“Help me find my new friend Frank,” he tweeted, offering to fly him down for drinks at his Florida brewery. Thousands saw the tweet and following news coverage of the search for Frank.
A close friend of Whipple’s saw the tweet and a news report, and told him he was going viral.
“I looked and I’m like, ‘I’m a hashtag? Wait no, Frank’s a hashtag!” Whipple said.
So on Tuesday, after social media did its thing, the two were able to meet via Zoom.
“Nice to finally meet you,” Govoni said.
“Absolutely, this is amazing,” Whipple replied.
Govoni met Whipple’s wife, Leanna, and boys, Cohen and Colin. He also made a generous offer.
“I want to fly you down here, put you up in a hotel out on the beach somewhere, and we’re going to start making phone calls to some of our friends over at the Clearwater Aquarium [and] Busch Gardens,” Govoni said.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that,” Whipple responded.
Let’s face it, Sunday wasn’t the ending Chiefs Kingdom hoped for. But to have a friendly rivalry, you have to have a friend on the other side, even if it starts as a cutout.
“I think it’s great that he did that, and it’s kind of taken off,” Whipple said. “It’s so cool because it really is what sportsmanship is about. It’s so much more than the game that’s played on the field.”
The group plans to head to Florida once they deem it safe to travel in the pandemic.