Hello to all the MHR readers out there. This is my first ever post here, and although this is a site dedicated to the Denver Broncos, this post is not entirely football realted. I made the trip out to Denver from Southern California this last weekend with my wife who is a long time Colts fan. If you would like to share in my journey, please feel free to tag along after the jump.
It started out on a hectic friday night. Our plane was set to leave on Sunday morning, however our Saturday was completely full of Pop Warner games (I coach two teams), so Friday night consisted of all the last minute packing, and locating the kids uniforms. My wife was working late that night, and we still hadn't made any hotel or transportation arrangements because our trip fund went toward a new dishwasher. I called RTD-Denver to get the bus schedule, and made arrangements to stay at my grandmother's house sunday night. Everything, it seemed, was falling right into place.
Saturday morning came quickly, as we had the alarm set for 5:30 a.m. The boys each had a game at the same time in different cities, and I was bummed that i wouldnt get to see the Mighty Bears play this. I was very interested in seeing how this game unfolded because the head coach had been suspended for a week for not getting all the players in the game the previous week, and all of us assistants had been working really hard to improve upon the team philosophy. However, Being the head coach for the Charging Cubs, I had to be there for my team. The Charging Cubs won the game handily 32-14 even though we were the much smaller team. As I walked with my son toward the snack bar after the game, I checked my phone and saw the text message from my wife. The Mighty Bears had won 38-8, with everybody getting their share pf playing time. This weekend was off to a great start.
Saturday night my wife and I stayed at her sister's house, which is only about 15 minutes from the airport in San Diego. I slept horribly on an air mattress with no pillow or blanket, but did get to see what I consider to be the worst acted, written, and computer animated made for TV movie of all time...wait for it...Sharktopus.
Sunday morning, 4:45 am we woke up to her husband Still playing computer games (10 hours worth or so). We loaded up into the car around 5:00, and headed out to catch our 6:30 flight. our flight was delayed for an hour because one of the flight attendants scheduled to be on our flight was nowhere to be found. A man in a Chicago bears wind-breaker gave us his theory as to what happened to the flight attendant. "Probably partying in the gaslamp district last night, and didnt wake up in time." That opened up a conversation that rapidly turned to football. of course the common denominator was Jay Cutler. Finally, after putting off my excitement for an hour, we boarded the plane. Our pilot was a badass and made up 45 minuites of the delay while we were in the air. So much time in fact that when we landed, they werent ready for us, so we sat on the tarmac for 15 minutes.
The minutes were ticking away, which had my wife and I stressing a bit, because our bus was leaving at 10:45. We got off the plane at 10:37, time to rush. We hurried to the bus stop where the driver had just sat down, put on his seatbelt, and had his hand on the handle to close the door when we arrived. With mere seconds to spare, we made it!!
We pulled into Market Street Station where we were supposed to transfer to the number 1 bus to Invesco. My wife, who at this time is six months pregnant with out fifth son, decided that instead of catching the bus, that we should walk to the stadium. Having left Colorado for sunny San Diego when I was only 6, I was all for walking around the Mile High City. We stopped at Braun's on the way, and got a burger and a fat tire. Man that was a good burger! After getting something to eat, we continued on to the big IF.
Invesco Field at Mile High is a beautiful venue. Nicole and I are used to going to see football games at Qualcomm in San Diego, which isn't nearly as nice. At the gate, we were handed our orange 44 Floyd Little caps, we then made our way to the south stands. The stadium began to fill up and the atmosphere was starting to build.
I have to take this time to tell everyone that if you havent seen Peyton Manning play live, you haven't seen him play. During warm-ups, i was in awe of this guy. Every ball was perfectly placed, each in a different spot for each reciever. Not one wobble on any ball that left this man's hand. When i mentioned to my wife how impressed I was with his warm-up throws, she gave me a little smile. She was rocking her blue and white 18, I was sporting the Orange number 7.
The game started and i could feel the electricity in the air. The stadium was loud, and the Defense was bringing it. I had a good feeling about this one. Both of my kids teams had won, so why not continue the trend?
Kyle was slinging the ball all over the field, The defense was playing well, certainly it would be a close game. I did notice that the casual football fan really doesnt understand the game of football. people around me were complaining about Kyle Orton, who was playing what my eyes told me was a great game. There was a guy to my left that kept up his "we want Tebow" clap clap clap-clap-clap every time Kyle threw an incomplete pass. It was so annoying, I asked him, "WHY?!?!' He had no response. There was a very old Broncos fan to my right, in the next row back who told me, "No one will bet with me, but I bet they replace this Quarterback before the end of the season. He is the worst one we've had out of the last four." I just shook my head and said, "I'd take that bet." Brandon Lloyd was not in sync with Kyle Orton on the option routes. I thought Orton made the right throw the majority of the time, but Lloyd didn't see it that way I guess. Orton took a lot of heat from the fans after the fourth down throw that was nowhere near the reciever. Why would Brandon Lloyd not break off his route on fourth down, with a safety over the top, and off coverage by the corner against the blitz? Maybe this is one of the reasons he has never reached his potential with any team he has played for. He cant seem to read coverages mid route, evidenced by the numerous missed opportunities. I found myself yelling at Maroney from the stands however. There were holes for him to run through. Sitting behind the play (coaches film vantage point) I could see the holes. Don't get me wrong, they didnt stay open for more than a moment as fast as the Colts defense is. Maroney just didnt hit the hole hard once. I yelled at him to leave the prom and stop dancing, but to no avail. It wasnt just maroney, all the runningbacks seemed like they were looking for the big play on every carry. You arent going to get big plays very often against a team that fast, who had already been embarrassed by the run a few weeks earlier. Hit the hole!!!
After the game we made our way back to Braun's for a post game beer, and to charge our phones for a bit. The fans walking out of the stadium around us were Very classy, which was welcome because we dont get that kind of treatment leaving San Diego games. They would jokingly ask us if we were going to be okay, or if the game was going to make us fight (Elway jersey and Manning jersey). everything that was said to us was said in good spirits and with a smile. GOOD STUFF Denver.
Once the phones had a decent charge to them, we left Braun's and opted once again to walk instead of take the bus the 5 miles or so to my gramma's house in Edgewater, the town I spent the first six years of my life. as we walked down Federal to 17th, I saw the A&W that I remember going to as a child. It has long since been renevated, but brought back memories just the same. We made it to Sloan's Lake, where more and more memories of my childhood flooded my mind. I had been back one time about seven years ago, but didn't get half of the memories driving around that walking brought me. Across Sheridan, and up 20th we walked, my smile beaming while telling my wife all of my stories. We made our turn onto Depew, where I showed my wife the Duplex we used to live in. I had some memories, but they were sporatic because of how young I was at that point. Continuing on down Depew, we walked by my elementary school, where I remembered my first Day of Kindergarten. I went to the wrong class because I wanted to have the same teacher that my brother had when he was in kindergarten. I was so mad when they made me go to the correct class. I saw the hill by the school where we used to sled in the winter. There used to be a soccor field there at the bottom, now there are classrooms. My mind went to the day we were sledding down the hilol, and my brother ran into a little girl at the bottom of the hill, knocking her tooth out. I think it was purposeful, but he denies it to this day. When we arrived at my gramma's house, I was greeted with a very familiar smell. The house has had that smell as long as I can remember. It's funny the things that a child's brain remembers, because, I couldn't remember where the bathroom was, but i remembered the closet where there used to hang a wreath made of Jolly Ranchers candy. I remebered the OLD metal tonka trucks we used to play with in the back yard, but not what kind of car she had.
That night, we went down to the Sloan's Bar and Grille where a very talentd young musician was shredding on his guitar and singing Johnny Be Good. I looked across the street where the Edgewater Fire Department is. I grew up in that Department. It is where I learned how to ride my bike, and where i found my love for firefighting. I didn't understand back then, but my dad was SO proud when he got his Captain's Bars. I'm still proud of him. We got back to my Gramma's house after a nice meal, and some friendly conversation. We talked with my Gramma for a few hours, where I got to learn much more about the history of Edgewater, and how deeply my family was involved in it's history. I finally understand who I am and where I came from. This trip that started out as a chance to see the Broncos play turned into a self-realization journey. In the morning, we said our goodbyes and caught a bus back to the airport.
I can't say that I am not happy to be back in California, but the memories and realizations I had are some things that I hope never again leave me. Perhaps, someday when the kids are grown, I will make my way back home, and take my spot in the rich history of a small town. Until then, go Broncos!!