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What's In A Name? For Kansas City's Alex Smiths, A Lot of Football

Alex Smith Blake

Alex Smith has been married 15 times.

No, not the star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

We found 15 Alex Smiths who have been married in Jackson or Johnson counties in the last 20 years.

And the females are winning – there were eight women named Alex (or Alexa or Alexandra or Alexis) Smith and seven men (most Alexanders) who have been married here since 1996.

The most recent is Alex Smith Blake, 24, a big Chiefs fan who was married Jan. 2 in Lee’s Summit.

Originally from Blue Springs, Mo., this Smith comes from a family who loves the NFL team. So she was thrilled when the quarterback was traded from San Francisco in 2013 -- she claims to be the first fan to buy an Alex Smith jersey.

“I called the sports store and I asked them to put the jersey on hold, then they asked me for my name.  Of course, I had to say, ‘Alex Smith,’” she said.  “I think they were like, ‘OK, that’s fine.’  I don’t think they really believed me, but that’s OK.”

It’s a good time to be an Alex Smith in Kansas City. On Saturday, the Chiefs’ Smith hopes to get his second win in the AFC playoffs against the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass.

The female Alex Smith, despite her gender, often gets treated like the football Alex Smith, like when the quarterback signed his extension last year.

"People said congratulations to me,” she said. “It's kind of like we relate and I almost get to play with him. But I don't"

Credit Alex Smith Blake, via Facebook
Alex Smith (right) with her then-fiance at a Kansas City Chiefs game in August 2014. She married Chris Blake (left) on Jan. 2.

No matter, Alex Smith Blake always wears her Alex Smith jersey to the Chiefs home games.  

"There have been a few times where I would be wearing my jersey and somebody at a Chiefs game would ask me, 'What's your name?' I would have to say 'Alex Smith' and there were some people who looked at me weird,” she said. “(Like) 'OK, you're a girl and you're not the Chiefs quarterback.'"

One of the guy Alex Smiths we found was also a big fan and has been a season ticket holder for about as long as the quarterback has been here.

Alex Smith, 41, of Shawnee, Kan., said he gives the loudest cheer in his Arrowhead Stadium section when the other Alex Smith is introduced.

Credit Greg Echlin / KCUR
Alex Smith, 41, of Shawnee, Kan., is a Chiefs season ticket holder. He jokes that if he gets asked for his autograph in the future, he will write: No. 11 on your shirt, No. 1 in your heart.

(That's even though he was married at the Kansas City Royals Stadium Club in 2006. But that's another story.)

“(I’m) not related, but I am older, so I consider myself THE Alex Smith,” said that Smith, who is an email delivery manager for a company called All Inbox.

THE Alex Smith became acquainted with that other one even before the quarterback moved to Kansas City. The other Alex Smith was already a household name, having played with the 49ers for eight years, which THE Alex Smith had already learned on the job.

“(The) previous job I had was phone call sales, so every once in a while you get the football fan from whatever random state or city.  They’ll say, ‘So are you going to be playing Sunday?’  I’m like, “I’ll be there,” said Smith with a laugh.

But not every Alex Smith is a football fan.

Credit Alyson Raletz / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Alex Smith is a reporter on KCUR's Heartland Health Monitor team.

Alex Smith, KCUR’s own Heartland Health Monitor reporter, who was married in Johnson County in 2012, confessed that he doesn’t own an Alex Smith jersey.

“I have got lots of nieces and nephews who all have the little’11’ jerseys.  They get excited about wearing them, but personally I don’t,” said KCUR’s Smith. “I think it’s probably time I should get one.”

Nor does KCUR’s Smith, if the truth be known, hold much interest for football, although he knows when the team is on the upswing.

“I would say I’m not much of a football fan at all,” he said.  “In fact, the most that I probably know about football is how well people react to the name Alex Smith, like when I say ‘Alex.’  They say ‘Hey!’ and I will know that the Chiefs are doing well.”

Credit Elizabeth Smith via Twitter
Elizabeth Smith, quarterback Alex Smith's wife, posted this picture of the couple's two sons, Hunter and Hayes, on Twitter on Jan. 9, the Chief's first playoff game, with the caption: Proud Boys! Go Chiefs!

None of the Alex Smiths we talked to had met the football Alex Smith. But THE Alex Smith did get to play him once, if only in his favorite neighborhood barbeque joint when he was asked for his autograph.

“If I would have prepared for this, I would have had something funny to say. Instead, I just put ‘Alex Smith, Go Chiefs,’” said Smith.  “If I thought about it, I would have had something like, “Number 11 on your shirt, number 1 in your heart.’”

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
Sports have an economic and social impact on our community and, as a sports reporter, I go beyond the scores and statistics. I also bring the human element to the sports figures who have a hand in shaping the future of not only their respective teams but our town. Reach me at gregechlin@aol.com.
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