A while ago, I promised to honor the Christmas Season. If you can’t say anything nice . . . . So, while we are past Christmas Day, it’s still Christmas Season until Three Kings Day, so I’ll start out gently.
Back at the beginning of the NFL regular season, I was in Denver for both the Season Opener Packers vs Saints and for the Denver-Oakland season opener the following Monday night. The weird thing about the Packer game was there were all of these people who were like, “Wow, you’re from Green Bay? I’m totally from Wisconsin!” And I’m like, where, and they’re, like, “Well, it was my grandparents and I’ve actually never visited and I don’t remember the name of the town.”
Well, if you have roots in Wisconsin, figure out where you were from and come back for a visit. Spring/ Summer/ Fall is a bit better. The Winters are pretty vicious. There is some nice cross country skiing and snowmobiling and ice skating and winter hiking, but the downhill is not so much. And there’s a whole bunch of bike trails.
I’m usually one only for blocking out time for the Packer game, but it was MNF and since I was in Denver, it seemed like the right thing to do. I wound up sitting between Denver and Oakland fans, which was a bit of a Scylla and Charybdis. (I’m a Sting fan.) Apparently, whereas the Packers and Bears have this vicious rivalry that is really rooted in a great love (sort of), Denver and Oakland fans really can’t stand each other or each others’ teams. Which makes it particularly weird that there are all these East Bay expats living in Denver. What’s that?
It was not a really super great game in some ways. Both teams were a bit all over the place. What struck me was the defense on both sides was really strong. The Denver and Oakland people were all sullen watching the game, all like, our Division sucks, except for the Chargers. I actually left early because it was the late game and it was almost midnight and they were only at the beginning of the fourth quarter. As I was leaving, I said to my new friends, “both of these teams could wind up in the playoffs.” I got rolling eyes, frustrated laughs and glances away, like, that woman shouldn’t get behind the wheel.
Well, looky where we are now. (And I admit, I’m writing this midweek ‘cause you don’t know what is going to happen on Sunday.) It’s the end of the season, and both of these teams are looking like they have a real shot at the playoffs. One or the other will likely take the Division, with the other a strong candidate for a Wild Card bid.
I have to admit, I enjoy (and not secretly) being an I-told-you-so. Because it’s usually about someone or something not having a lot of faith and winding up better off than they thought they would. You’ve *got* to have confidence in your team—trust me on this one—no matter what, and no matter how long it has been since something good happened. The more you believe in yourself, your town, your team, the easier everything else is.
I think Denver is actually a really interesting City. I think a lot of the focus in discussions of Denver as a city is the Mountains in the backdrop, and admittedly, the contrast between the Western and Eastern horizon is stunning. I’m actually fairly impressed with the less talked about built landscape. It’s a bit of a mash up and patchwork of different eras. In my humble opinion, someone has had too much of a love affair with the bulldozer in the central city, but what is left of the old city is nice and some of the new stuff—particularly the monumental, public structures—appear well thought out, from what I’ve seen.
Talking to people on the street and in shops, one gets the impression of a City lacking confidence in itself, a sense of identity and a way of presenting. A bit of, would the real Denver please stand up? I think the waffling over the Broncos in bars and in the press is an expression of this. So, once more, as residents and fans, Denver, your job is to get behind your team and your quarterback. No matter what happens Sunday, those are your boys out there. If they come out on the field dressed like Dorothy and the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, it’s Coach’s job to deal with player out of uniform, not yours. As a fan, your job is to be 110 percent behind your team at all times. Of course, maybe that’s a Green Bay way of doing things, but not a bad place to start these days.
So, Denver, untwist those knickers, buck up, smile and mean it even if you don’t want to. The first step in getting other people to like you is liking yourself. Start by liking your team, start by liking your players. Is Tim Tebow in over his head abit? Probably, so help him out. (Don’t make him ask first, what’s he supposed to do, take out an ad in the newspaper?) Send some Positive Mental Attitude vibes his way through the luminous ether. They blossom like a Winter Rose and will bring good things in 2012. 🙂