As you probably know, I’m a big Denver Broncos fan.
Have been all my life. Or at least, all of the part of my life that matters (14 and up). We moved to Rapid City, South Dakota in 1983, just before my freshman year in high school. Rapid (as the locals call it) is sort of a no-man’s land in terms of professional sports. The closest NFL franchise is in Denver, so there are a lot of Broncos fans in that area. Which is why I became one. It didn’t hurt that John Elway was drafted that same year. (If you’re thinking, what about the Vikings?, it’s true that Minnesota is one state over. But Rapid City is in the southwest corner of SD. People in the eastern part of the state, such as Sioux Falls, tended to follow the Vikings more).
As with any professional sports franchise, as a loyal fan I’ve experienced many highs and lows over the years. There were devastating Super Bowl losses and early playoff exits, but also stunning Super Bowl victories and one unprecedented, amazing signing (introducing #18, Peyton Manning). Ups and downs are all part of the game when you’re a fan for life. Was I bummed over last Sunday’s loss to the Colts? Of course. But looking at the big picture we have a great team this year, and the sky’s the limit.
And on Sunday, I’m going to see them play in person at Mile High!
This will be a dream come true. My first NFL game, in the home stadium of my lifelong team. It doesn’t get much better than that. The nice thing is, Tara is equally excited. One of the things that attracted me to her was her love for football. She didn’t have “a team” when we met, so she adopted mine. I can’t complain about that.
Growing up, I was a baseball junkie. We used to watch the minor league Triple-A Hawaii Islanders play in Honolulu in the 70s (ironically enough, they moved to Colorado Springs in 1988 and became the Sky Sox). Then when we lived in Dayton, we’d travel to Cincinnati to watch the Reds play whoever was in town. Frequently the Dodgers, since I liked them back then. My uncle in New Jersey took us to see a Phillies game. While living in the Bay Area, we’d take BART to the Oakland Coliseum to catch the A’s play. But gradually I lost interest in baseball; it’s been more than 20 years since I’ve seen a game. I root for the Mariners, because they’re kinda local, but my favorite team is the Red Sox. For no earthly reason, other than the fact that I’m fond of Boston and I like the mythology and history of the team. But I hardly ever watch games, since I consider football about a thousand times more interesting and exciting.
We’re not going to Denver just to see a football game, of course. We’ll have all day Saturday to explore, and because I’m a planner at heart, I spent many hours one recent morning plotting out our entire day in minute detail. This involved online research (Yelp is my best friend) mixed with word-of-mouth recommendations – during our recent work symposium I chatted up a couple of Coloradans and got the inside scoop on some places worth checking out. I came up with a good mix of historical sites, restaurants, shops, and nature, so we’ll have a pretty full day with lots to see. Sunday’s the game, so that’s all that really matters. Monday we fly home.
This trip has been planned for a long time. We originally wanted to go last year, but Tara didn’t find a job until October and I was a poorly paid music industry rep back then, so finances precluded a visit to the Mile High city. But we started saving in earnest, dumping every last penny, nickel, dime, and quarter into a change jar, along with the occasional paper currency. Altogether, we ended up with $305. Not bad, considering that’s all “fun” money. My half of the trip was completely paid for by my freelance earnings this year; I have been fortunate enough to land enough writing gigs to easily pay for this little getaway. I’m very thankful for every bit of discretionary income that lands in my lap, trust me.
So tomorrow we embark upon this trip mid-afternoon, and to say I’m excited today is a drastic understatement. Bouncing up and down in my seat is more like it. I love the anticipation of an impending adventure, and feed off the associated adrenaline. This weekend is going to rock. Bring it on!
Here’s a little something to get us all in the mood…
- Denver to honor Mike Shanahan before Washington game (denverpost.com)