There's a great trick for dealing with creeping anxiety. It sounds counter-intuitive, but actually can pay great dividends for your well-being in difficult times.
What's the trick? It's simple: sit down, address the situation that is bringing you stress, and think about the worst possible outcome. As long as there isn't a major life altering situation involved - and with football there certainly is not - the result can often be a mind that is a bit more at ease since it has faced everything that it fears. The writers of Lost picked up on this a few years ago when they wrote in Jack's trick about "counting to 5."
In an effort to help all of us in Broncos' Country take a load off of our minds, I would like to take us through a team exercise. No need for dumbells, Sayre. No need to drink your Muscle Milk, Tim. Nice sweatband, John - but this shouldn't cause you to perspire.
Simply read the next few lines and allow your mind to ease itself a bit for the coming weeks.
Tim Tebow is going to throw a pick-6 in his first start. He will only complete 45% of his passes for 193 yards, 0 TD, and 2 INT's as we get outscored 40-22. His passer rating will be a wretched 39.3.
What will happen next? A public outcry will rise over one more mistake made by the villain McD, the MSM will proclaim their amazing foresight in a puffed-up display of schadenfreude (Google it - great party word), and draft projections for the next four months will all have a different scenario where we give away every one of our picks, Champ Bailey, and Elvis Dumervil in order to draft Andrew Luck - who will proceed to break his leg the next day while playing flag football. He will quickly develop into Ryan Leaf 2.0. Jim Zorn will be announced as our next Head Coach, Al Davis will purchase a majority of the team in a hostile takeover effort made possible when Pat Bowlen forgets who he is, and John Elway will marry someone from the Raiders' organization.
Sit back, let it sink in, and then be OK with it. Why? For two reasons.
First, except for the pick-6, all of the stats were taken from a game Peyton Manning played during his rookie season. And, unlike Timmy T, he was drafted high to the resounding accolades of the pundits. Tebow will undoubtedly have a lot of bad moments. Hopefully, however, over time those will develop into great moments that we can share together, like those of us who witnessed The Drive and the franchise's first Super Bowl win.
Second, whatever happens, all of those things will not come to pass. Well, at least besides the Elway thing.
So let your mind be at ease. And when Tim gets to his first start, let's celebrate the small things - a good read of the defense, a nice third-down pickup, a good drive that ends with a TD. Relax knowing that we may have a QB that will lead us for a long time - and then see if there are any small signs that is the case.
If you're struggling during his first start, just remember that during Elway's first game he broke the huddle and lined up behind the left guard. It was a long, but wonderful, road from there to the Lombardi Trophy. Hopefully this is the start of another one of those journeys.
On a personal note, I'm proud and privileged to have all of you as fellow fans. As my family was breaking up when I was a kid, my uncle took my brother, sister, and me under his wing and taught us how to cheer for the Broncos. My safe haven was watching Elway run from a rabid Cortez Kennedy who was dragging one of the Widell brothers with him while Gerald Perry was getting flagged for another holding penalty (run-on, I know, but I just wanted to emphasize how bad our O-Line was back then). Some of the times we were good, sometimes we weren't, but we were always together.
For me, Sunday afternoons have always meant warm chili, good friends, and family. I hope that, once again, it can be a fun time for us all.