Trying to raise two Broncos fans in New Hampshire isn’t easy. On Saturday, I returned from a two week trip with my boys to the Mile High City where I made every effort to steep them in all things Denver Broncos and disinfect that pesky Patriots stink off of them. That process began with a visit to the last day of Broncos training camp.
“We watch them practice and then you can get autographs,” I told the boys. We had looked forward to it for months.
At 5 and 6-years old, the boys were understandably squirmy during practice. They knew it was a big deal, but weren’t entirely sure what the point was. Frankly, I don’t blame them. With the Chicago Bears in town for joint-practice before their preseason game, there was so much orange, blue, and white out there on the field(s) that even I needed MHR’s Ian St. Clair’s help to decipher just what was going on.
As promised, once practice ended, fans made their way down the berm to get signatures from whichever players wandered over. When the first player walked over, my oldest son held the Broncos mini-helmet I bought him high over his head to secure a signature. It was remarkable the care that the player took in signing. Anything more than a scribble was a total win. In all the excitement, I didn’t realize that the fella who signed my son’s helmet was Bears linebacker, Sam Acho. Needless to say, my son didn’t care. He got a signature! He was so proud.
My youngest son, inspired by the signature his older brother got, was determined to get one of his own. We watched as Demaryius Thomas and Von Miller worked the ropes in the player family and friends area. Unfortunately, after a million autographs each, they never made it to where we were.
When Domata Peko started working his way down our area of the line, my youngest held that mini-helmet up as high as he could. Unfortunately, despite signing forever, the swarm of folks around us meant that my youngest’s helmet went unsigned and Peko apologized as he jogged off. I couldn’t blame him for not getting to it. He had to stop somewhere and not everyone can get an autograph. These are hard lessons to learn, especially if you’re 5.
My 5-year old didn’t take it well. He immediately melted into a puddle of disappointment and tears. As I carried him up the berm toward the exit, there was no consoling him. He wanted the world to know that he was mad and that he hated the Denver Broncos, me, and just about everything under the setting sun. It was a tantrum for the ages.
That’s when the future of Broncos Country graced us with the ultimate kindness anyone could ask for in that situation.
Out of nowhere, this youngster, who was maybe 12-years old, appeared and came to my son’s aid. “Here, take it,” he said. In his hands was a Broncos pennant bearing Broncos rookie linebacker Jeff Holland’s signature.
“No way, we couldn’t take that from you. That’s yours. He’ll be fine,” I said.
“He should have an autograph. I don’t need it. It’s his.”
Despite my efforts to decline his offer, I found myself with the signed pennant in my hands and the kid was gone. For a 12-year old to be so keenly focused on making my youngest son’s first training camp a happy experience is nothing short of remarkable.
I don’t know who that kid was, but later that day, my son was thrilled to look at that pennant and talk about Jeff Holland. What exactly does a linebacker do? Is he good? Does he have black stuff under his eyes?
In a chaotic world populated by self-serving individuals, it was inspiring to see the future of Broncos Country show such kindness and caring to a little kid he’d never met. His parents should be proud to raise such an amazing kid. When my son looks upon Jeff Holland’s signature on that pennant hanging on his wall as he grows older, he’s not going to see just a pennant with a signature, he’s going to be reminded that being selfless for others is distress is the way to act. I only hope that I can raise my boys to be as amazing as that kid was on the last day of Broncos training camp.
Broncos Country is awesome.
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