"Mister Caven - you mad?" This was the question with which I was assailed on the playground Monday morning. It was the day after the Super Bowl. The day after the Denver Broncos had, once again, set a new record for futility on the World's Biggest Stage: Twelve seconds into the game, the Seahawks scored the first points. That's the fastest that has ever happened. Thank you, Denver Broncos, for providing us with history. Was I mad? In a word, no. In a lot of words, which are not mine: "It hurts too much to laugh, but I'm too old to cry." That is not a quote from Peyton Manning, who had a ball sail past his head on the game's first play. That ball was eventually recovered by his team in his own end zone. A safety. Two points. Fastest ever.
No, I wasn't mad, and apparently neither were the Denver Broncos. They just seemed overwhelmed. All evening long. A steady string of mishaps and misfires kept on coming for the boys in orange and blue. Fumbles, interceptions, missed tackles. When the second half kickoff was returned by the Seahawks for a touchdown, bringing the score to twenty-nine to nothing before the guests at my house had settled back into their seats after the Bruno Mars halftime show. I wasn't mad. I was overwhelmed. I had twenty people in my living room, decked out in various vintages of Bronco gear, eating and drinking orange colored and flavored snacks, and still the Seattle onslaught continued. Denver's only touchdown came after they had been outscored thirty-six to nothing. Nothing.
Was I mad? No, but I felt a little like crying. I had waited for two weeks after Peyton and the boys had taken care of business with the Patriots. I had waited for a year since this same team had been undone by a last second pass by Baltimore Ravens' quarterback, Joe Flacco. I had waited a decade and a half since the last time the Denver Broncos had played in a Super Bowl. I didn't cry. I'm too old for that. But it hurt too much to laugh.
Monday morning, when I walked out on the playground, wearing the same Denver Broncos jacket that I have been wearing since the beginning of the school year, I fielded a lot of questions from a lot of kids. Many of them had hopped on the Bronco bandwagon after their Forty-niner affiliation had fizzled out in the NFC Championship game. Some of them hopped straight on the hater train. Thankfully, most of them are kids who have a bit of empathy. It's what we're trying to teach them. "Sorry about your Broncos, Mister Caven," came from a number of mouths. Maybe that kid who asked me if I was mad was truly concerned about my emotional health. Was I mad? No. After five months of football? After fifty years of being a Broncos fan? No. I'm not mad. I'm tired.