John F. Russell: Understanding what it takes to be a fan
November 9, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Sometimes it's hard being a fan.
My wife used to ask me why I got so upset when the Broncos lost a football game. She always wanted know how the score of the game — good or bad — was going to impact my life the following day, the following week or the following month. She was quick to remind me that I wasn't in line for a bonus when the team won, and if they lost, I probably didn't have to worry about losing my job the next day.
Of course, she was right. She always was right.
My wife was one of the smartest people I ever knew, but it was clear to me that she was clueless when it came to being a good fan. She never could understand my passion for the Broncos or why it was so important to me.
She would watch the Broncos from time to time, but there was zero chance she ever would show up at Sports Authority Field wearing a barrel with her face painted blue and orange.
To her, the Broncos, Nuggets and Rockies simply were a form of entertainment. The game was something that she would follow when she wanted, but there was no reason to get upset if the team lost, and no reason to get too excited when they won.
I would like to say I am the same, but that would be a lie.
I grew up in a town and in a home where nearly every Sunday afternoon in the fall belonged to the Broncos. I watched the game with family and friends, and thanks to John Elway, I was treated to lots of wins and lots of successful seasons.
It was there where I learned just how much impact a game and a team can have on your life. Back then, my mood on Monday mornings directly was tied to the Broncos results the previous Sunday. If the team won, my math class Monday morning was a formula of success and my focus in English class was sharper than a No. 2 pencil that had been ground to a fine point.
Truth is my team and the score from the most recent game really did impact my life. Not in a way that my wife could understand, but I have to admit a good game could put a skip in my step.
You see, ever since I was a child, I've loved the Broncos. That's why I'm critical when the team doesn't make the right offseason moves. That's why I'm depressed when they get knocked out of the playoffs short of the Super Bowl. And that's why I yell at the television on Sunday afternoons when I think the Broncos got robbed by a bad call.
If I lived in Denver, I probably would be sitting somewhere in the south stands painted from head to toe in blue and orange. It might seem a little embarrassing to some, but sometimes it's hard to be a fan.