I will never forget the first time I entered the Oakland Coliseum as an enemy. I grew up in the Bay Area watching my beloved Oakland A’s all the way back to the first incantation Billy Ball (as in Billy Martin). I attended as many as 45 games in a season in the 1980’s. Bleacher seats were $3. Nachos were the same. It was a great way for a teen to burn a few hours.
But that was baseball. And I was with the home team.
On Nov. 13, 2005, I wore the orange and blue of my equally beloved Denver Broncos into a Denver v. Oakland NFL game at the Oakland Coliseum. If you want to read more about my experience at the game, you can do so here. Suffice to say, it was surreal on many levels.
This Sunday, December 29, 2013, I’ll be heading back in to the Coliseum, courtesy of a Christmas gift from my sister and mom. I’ll be cheering for our guys again, but as I’m now married with two small children and will be in attendance with my father who has Parkinson’s Disease, I’ve decided to wear my green and gold A’s gear, and keep my cheering for the broncos respectful (which, frankly, I did last time, too). My dad and I have been to a lot of sporting events together, never more than when we hit all 30 MLB parks in one summer. There’s something magical about sharing live sports with my dad. We appreciate the large theatrical nature of the event, the flavor, both literal and metaphorical, as well as watching the tremendous athletes strive for greatness, doing things no one on earth can do better. The games we go to together live on forever in our conversations.
I’m every bit the fan I was in 2005, if not more, with simply more years and burn beneath my belt for the Broncos. At the same time, I know the importance of the big picture more than I did back then. Football is phenomenal and I love it, sometimes more than I think I should. I know, for sure though, that I don’t love it or even the Broncos more than I love my father and my family. So for those reasons, I will necessarily mute my passion – a difficult task as I’m used to watching fairly unabashed. Part of me feels very strange about this cloak I’m imposing upon myself. Another part of me says, that’s just the way it is. Should football matter this much to anyone (via the hatred from the home Raiders or the fear in wearing a jersey of an opposing team)? I don’t know. I know I’m blessed to be able to go and I’ll look forward to sharing my experience here.
Here’s hoping for good health for all, a record-setting PFM beat down that has him cleanly out of the game mid third quarter and another memorable stadium experience for me and my dad.