It’s an exciting time to be a sports fan in Colorado.
This year, the Denver Nuggets have BLASTED their way through the first round of the NBA playoffs!
This year, the Colorado Avalanche are setting themselves up as the NHL’s TEAM TO BEAT!
And this year, the Colorado Rockies are … are …
Well, they’re showing up. I think.
If you’re a longtime Rockies fan, this is probably a familiar refrain. Most seasons, the Rockies get some April love, a fast start, and then quietly sink into the mire of “Maybe next year.” But this year – ah, this year, the Rockies set out to accomplish something different. And did.
Yes, this year Colorado’s Men In Purple managed to burn their record to the ground before even getting out of April. Woohoo! Go, team!
We could argue about the reasons forever (after all, that’s what the internet is for). It could be the fault of the ownership. Or the space aliens beneath DIA. Or maybe even space aliens in the ownership – it’s been that kind of season.
Whatever the reasons, this is when we see That Fan start to emerge. You know the one.
“Who needs that bandwagon crowd, anyway? This is when you find out who the REAL Rockies fans are! If you can’t stick with the team in the bad years, we don’t want to see you in the good ones!”
I understand the attitude. Heck, I’ve suffered through some bad Rockies baseball myself. At the same time, this isn’t Valley Forge in the American Revolution, where we’re called on to say who the sunshine soldiers are and who’s ready to fight for life and liberty.
It’s a game. It’s meant to be fun.
For some of us, the fun is in the art of baseball itself, the tactics and psychology that lie behind every pitch and swing. For some, it’s the familiar faces and personalities, the players that have become almost as familiar as next-door neighbors.
And yeah, for some, it’s the excitement of being part of a crowd that’s watching a team of skilled athletes (and even the worst players are a lot more skilled than me and thee) taking the game to another level. Winning. Winning regularly. Feeling the electricity that comes when you KNOW you’re truly seeing the best around.
That’s just as legitimate. And if they fade into the background in the in-between years, it’s not that they’re fake fans … just less intense ones. Ones that demand more than just nine purple suits and a start time.
The priorities are different.
And if we’ve learned about anything over this past year, it’s about priorities.
When your life gets upended by a worldwide crisis, you quickly learn what’s important to you. The things you must do. The things you can’t do that you miss – or that you realize to your shock that you can do just fine without. The things you never had time for before that suddenly become a means of survival.
In particular, we found we needed people. We needed their stories (and streamed an awful lot of them). We needed their faces, their voices, their reminders that they existed at all, even if at a distance. Some of us found we were ok with the distance, while others were straining at the leash for something more.
As this country slowly comes out the other side, I hope we remember those discoveries. I hope we remember what worked in our life and the ways we found joy in a stressful time. Most of all, I hope we remember how important the people around us are, and don’t dismiss them until the next time they’re taken away.
I also hope, someday, that we remember what good baseball looks like in Colorado.
Maybe it’s time to talk with the space aliens.