So a few weeks ago, after the loss to the Ravens, I wrote a post about maintaining one's perspective while watching games. Then, sure enough, the past two weeks came along and severely tested that very ability.
The past two losses also seem to have tested the fanbase in general, and the readership of this site in particular. The tension that has always existed between the inhabitants of "La La Land" and the "Realists" has erupted into a all-out war, with comment threads serving as the key battlegrounds.
My wife, who is not at all a football fan, usually presses me to justify taking such a big interest in a professional sports team. She sees it as a big waste of time and emotional energy. One of my answers has always been, "Being a fan of a team gives you a real sense of community." I remember a time when I could immediately feel a connection to another Denver fan who I just met. Nowadays I feel almost afraid to broach the subject of the team.
I don't know what has caused this fracturing of the fan base. Maybe it's McDaniels. Maybe it's raised expectations after Super Bowl victories. Maybe it's the nature of modern society and the internet. The point of this post is not to identify the culprit but rather to take a stab at a solution. I have posted below the jump the DRAFT version of a Denver Fan's Manifesto. I say "draft" because I do not want to give the impression that I am the sole arbiter of what it means to be a Denver fan. I have taken a stab at defining a few key ingredients of what it means to me to be a Broncos' fan. I'm interested in hearing what other people have to say as well. If there are enough comments maybe we can make a second draft.
The point of the exercise is to identify the things that bind us together, and then, having identified those things, we can go back to arguing over things like whether Peyton Hillis is the next coming of John Riggins or a practice squad player. But at that point we can - maybe - have a better appreciation of those who are opposing us in the argument.
So, here goes:
The Manifesto of a Denver Broncos Fan
I, _______, attest that I am a loyal fan and supporter of the Denver Broncos. As a fan, I promise to abide by the following precepts:
- First, regardless of the players that compose the team, the record of the team, the coach of the team, the owner of the team, the most recent results of the team, or the opponent, I will always faithfully and wholly desire that the Denver Broncos will win the game in which they are playing. When appropriate, I will vocalize this desire, especially if doing so will positively impact the team's performance (i.e., cheering while attending a game) or the reputation of the team.
- Second, regardless of their talent, salary, off-the-filed issues or past performance, I will always hope for the success of the individual players, coaches, and other personnel who comprise the Denver Broncos, not only in games but also in their personal endeavors. I will take joy in their successes and I will feel sadness at their failures, so long as they remain members of the team.
- Third, I will make every reasonable effort to join with my fellow fans in watching and supporting the Denver Broncos.
- Fourth, regardless of the performance of the current iteration of the team, I will proudly represent the tradition and history of the franchise positively in discussions with fans of other franchises.
- Fifth, I will feel free to voice my opinions, positive or negative, about the state of the team and the direction of the team to fellow Broncos fans, so long as I do not violate any other portion of this manifesto in doing so.
- Sixth, while discussing or cheering for the Denver Broncos, I will keep in mind my duty to represent the community of fellow Denver fans honorably, by refraining from excessive swearing, name calling, and other otherwise thuggish behavior in the presence of others.
- Seventh, irregardless of any statistical, rational, emotional, moral, political or aesthetic argument to the contrary, I will forever and without any hesitation regard John Elway as the greatest player to ever play in the National Football League, until such time as a future member of the Denver Broncos eclipses his accomplishments on behalf of the team.
I think (hope?) that every Denver fan, positive or negative, McD-hater or McD-defender, pro-Orton or pro-Tebow, should be able to agree to some version the above points. And if we can agree on those big, major, important points - those points that, over the course of our lives, define our community and give value to what it means to be a fan of the Broncos - then we can move onto discussing the other issues with a light heart.
Of course, I am just one fan, and I may be way off base. I look forward to the comments and especially any suggestions as to how to amend, add to, or subtract from the above manifesto so it really could be a good, representative document of community - yes, community - of Denver Broncos fans.
One final note - I am almost certain that someone has written something like this before. If so, I do not mean to be redundant, and in fact I'd love to learn about that post so we can compare and mix the different sentiments!