Saturday, November 8, 2003
The snow that fell in Steamboat Springs last week couldn't have come at a better time.
It was a reminder that ski season it just around the corner, and it got most skiers and snowboarders pumped to make their first turns.
For this skier, the season can't come fast enough.
To be completely honest, it's not the snow that's got me eagerly awaiting opening day. A brand new pair of skis sits in the corner of my garage ready to go, but that's not the source of my newfound excitement, either.
No, my inspiration to get back on the slopes has more to do with football than it does snow -- to be more specific, the recent demise of the Denver Broncos.
In the past few weeks, I've watched the once unstoppable Broncos' offense squander leads and lose games.
I've watched the defense struggle without stars such as Ian Gold and John Mobley, who have suffered season-ending injuries.
I've watched as the team's most valuable player, quarterback Jake "The Break" Plummer battled through an injury-riddled season that had kept him on the sideline during one of the team's most important stretches. Luckily for him, there have been plenty of other players to keep him company during his layoff.
Sure, the Broncos are 5-4 and still have a realistic chance to make the playoffs. It's way too early to throw in the towel. But a once-promising season is now uncertain, and even if the Broncos make the playoffs, you have to wonder whether they have enough players on their roster to make a serious post-season run.
It's not that I'm fickle.
I've watched the Broncos through good years and bad. But the writing is on the wall. In a Denver Post poll, 59 percent of fans said the Broncos wouldn't make the playoffs this season.
That writing is hard to make out through my tears, but I think it is telling me my Sunday afternoons would be better spent carving turns in waist-deep snow. Thankfully, it's three Sundays -- and counting -- until the start of ski season.
You see, I'm the worst kind of Broncos fan. I knew the team was going to have a rough go when the news that Plummer had broken his ankle first broke, and I haven't been surprised by the team's most recent setbacks.
But in the back of my mind, I hoped the team would find a way to keep it's early success rolling.
When the team started to struggle, I was disappointed. Its recent run of injuries hasn't helped my disposition on Sunday afternoons.
So like most Broncos fans, I'm eager to find something to pull my attention away for a few games -- hopefully the ski season will be just what the doctor ordered to end my Sunday-afternoon blues.
Lucky for me, it's just around the corner.
--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org