In the bleachers: The sun shines even when Broncos lose
December 22, 2009
I thought I was headed to slaughter when a friend treated me to the Broncos game in Denver on Sunday – not my slaughter but that of the hated Oakland Raiders.
My logic was simple – a Broncos victory would vastly improve their playoff prospects, so they would be motivated. Oakland was reduced to relying on its third string quarterback, a guy that would have trouble beating out that phenom signal caller at Steamboat High School.
I was even so bold as to tell my host I expected a shutout by Denver.
It turned out to be one of those games where your dread keeps building. With every missed scoring opportunity throughout the game, and with every missed tackle in the second half, the hometown fans sensed Denver was letting Oakland hang around too long and risk peril. Even worse, the scattering of Raider fans kept getting cockier as time went on.
Disaster struck with less than a minute to go when Oakland’s former starting QB came off the bench to throw a touchdown. The crowd, hoping for an early Christmas miracle, was deflated by a Raiders victory by one stinking point. It was kind of like not squashing that spider in your bedroom, then waking up with bites.
But what the hell, it was a still a great time. The game was exciting, even if the outcome was a downer.
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And the weather was unbeatable. It was the day before winter’s official start, and there we were sitting in sun-drenched stands slurping down suds. [At least I was. My host not only provided the tickets, he drove.] Denver’s high temperature was 57 degrees Sunday. It felt even warmer sitting in the seats facing west. We were in T-shirts with light sweatshirts for three quarters. I added another couple of layers for the fourth quarter but never donned hat, gloves and parka. The only chill was the Broncos’ flat performance.
The trip home was equally bittersweet. We mowed down at Smashburger, a fast food joint in Silverthorne. That was the sweet part.
We listened on the radio to my beloved Vikings play even worse than the Broncos. That was the bitter part.