Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

I was asked, by one of my very good friends and Super Bowl party guests, why I had steered clear of the subject in my blog. She is a constant reader, and this was before the  game had actually begun on Sunday. Before kickoff and before halftime and before the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy. That means it was before the Denver Broncos took that kickoff and drove down for the initial score of Super Bowl L. That means it was before the extended hodgepodge of talent that took to the field in the absence of the Denver Broncos who were leading the Carolina Panthers at that point. When they did get around to handing over that trophy, it went to the Denver Broncos. But not before I had worn a path in living room floor, astounding my guests with my inability to sit down, including the friend who had asked why I hadn't blogged much about the Super Bowl in the week leading up to it.
You don't mess with a streak, simply put. This football season has been one of ups and downs, mostly ups, for my favorite team. So many pundits were pointing their fingers at Peyton Manning, wondering how this old man with diminishing skills was going to get his tired old bones on and off the field, let alone lead his team to a win in the biggest game of the year. They were missing the real story: It's a team sport. The Denver Broncos had a great punter and placekicker. They had a coach who was returning to his football roots. They had a dominating defense, and they ended up proving that old line about defense winning championships. That's what happened. They didn't win every game. They lost a few they might have won. They won a few that those same pundits insisted that they maybe shouldn't have.
But they did, and the Denver Broncos found themselves playing in the Super Bowl. They were not favored to win that one, either. But they did, and I watched every minute of it. Compared to the debacle in the Meadowlands two years ago when the Seattle Seahawks began dismantling my Denver Broncos before I found a seat in front of the television, this was a spectacle that I had been hoping for since my son was a year old.
It's a roller coaster ride, but it is just that: a ride. I don't invest a lot of money in my fandom outside of the occasional bit of swag, here and there. That does mean that over the years, however, I have accumulated a good deal of that. When guests showed up this past Sunday without something orange to wear, I was quick to offer up one of the jerseys, hats, or t-shirts that mark me as a die-hard Broncos fan. Soon, I had a living room full of road cone/tangerine colored friends who were there to watch what happens to me as the front car of that roller coaster makes that first big ascent, and then that plunge into unknown twists and turns. Fifty years into this obsession, I don't find many of the turns that confounding, or the twists too unpredictable, but  it doesn't stop me from getting back in line for one more ride.
And now, the park is closed. For a while. It will be just a few months before training camp starts back up and all the questions about the Broncos repeating their run to become Super Bowl champions once again. I will probably write about some of those moments, as they occur, but being a gracious winner is something I hope to share with my son who is now old enough to remember this one. This one's for him as much as me, since the last time the the Denver Broncos won a Super Bowl, I could carry him in one arm, like a football. Like a football wearing a tiny blue and orange jersey, smiling up at his dad, trying to figure out what all this fuss was about.
Now he knows. This ride is over. Thanks for the ride.

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