I've always been one to go against the grain. I inherited that trait from my father. We were both born and raised in western Kansas and we've both always been annoyed by Chief fans. He was 12 when the first Super Bowl took place. Living in Kansas, it's easy to imagine how much support latched itself onto the Chief's bandwagon. Before the game, my dad decided to be a Packers fan for life. No sporting event will ever top watching Super Bowl 32 with him as he ended up cheering for Elway and the Broncos both for me and in appreciation for how hard fought that game had turned out to be.
But now that I've established where my stubbornness and joy of antagonism comes from, the picture of how I became a Broncos fan should clear up a bit. I don't quite remember the day I pledged my heart to the Broncos. I do know that I hated the Chiefs and that I had a long conversation with a great aunt from Boulder at a family reunion. Once the seeds were placed in my mind that not only were the Chiefs actually from Missouri, but that we in fact lived just as close to Denver she had me hooked. She also swayed me with the lovable underdog story to capture my inner Cubs fan and make me a true believer. It's funny looking back at how much I misunderstood what our identity was. We weren't a powerhouse, we had never won a championship. And to a seven or eight year old, second place still made us loveable losers instead of a team on the verge of absolute greatness, but that didn't stop me from running my mouth. Even if we never won a championship, it was still better than being a Chiefs fan.
That attitude led to quite a few schoolyard encounters. In fourth grade, one of my best friends literally ripped my brand new John Elway shirt off of me before class. My very first email address was Neil_Smith_90 just to jab at them a little more. Blood, sweat and tears were shed for our team throughout every football season. The day after a Broncos Chiefs game was always the worst of it. Either they'd come in angry at a loss or eager to rub my face in a victory. And I had to make it my mission to return that attitude with even greater force. And I never smiled bigger walking into class than the day after we won that first trophy.
I became a Broncos fan because I hated the Chiefs. I stayed a Broncos fan because I witnessed the magic. And I'll always remain a Broncos fan because those two things will never not be true.