“Look at that dork in the orange cowboy hat.”
“Uh, that’s my dad.”
My dad had a habit of sitting in the visitors’ section during home basketball games. Since he was my dad, I knew it was because he liked to sit behind the team benches so he could hear what the coaches were saying. If you were not privy to this information, you might find his behavior a bit peculiar. When he showed up wearing his blue fur coat and orange cowboy hat- well, let’s stick with peculiar.
I don’t remember exactly when the above comment was made, but I assume the Denver Broncos must have been in some sort of playoff game. My parents got orange cowboy hats the first time the Denver Broncos made it to the Super Bowl. The hats are not worn often. My family, particularly my mother, is highly superstitious when it comes to football. If she wore the hat all the time, she would use up all of its’ luck. The hats are only worn on special occasions- playoffs, Super Bowl, and maybe the occasional work Halloween party when my dad would dress as the Barrel Man.
My family is what you would call die hard Bronco fans (although my mom holds the equivalent of football dual citizenship, in that she also roots for her home state of Indiana.) My grandparents had season tickets for a number of years. To this day, if I talk to my grandma on the phone, I can count on her asking me if I saw the last Bronco game- despite living in Arizona eight years. I don’t know if she hasn’t put it together that Arizonians generally watch Cardinals games, or if she just believes that the entire world wants to watch the Broncos play. I also rarely take in football games. But I am her granddaughter so I must be a Bronco fan.
I guess she must know me better than I know myself, because when my fandom was tested, I came out on the side of the orange and blue.
As you know, the Super Bowl is this Sunday- Denver Broncos vs Seattle Seahawks. My husband is from Idaho, but his parents are from Washington. Uh oh. Things just got interesting.
Ben’s parents offered to hold a Super Bowl party. I was to be the lone Bronco in a sea of Seahawks. I had to represent. Luckily, my brother already had a package in the mail- jerseys for my sons. I made the mistake of posting this information on my Facebook page. Before long, Ben’s dad emailed with details for the party- AND a comment on how he would be buying SEAHAWKS jerseys for the boys.
Totally just a silly comment- something to build a little rivalry and make the game more fun. Absolutely no harm intended since he was not privy to my family’s longstanding hardcore Bronco status. But I huffed into the bedroom, plopped down next to Ben and pouted.
“Did you know your dad is buying the boys Seahawks stuff?”
“My family has been getting them Broncos stuff since before they were born.”
Ben rolled over and went to sleep. I lay awake for a few hours, wondering how I would explain to my family that the boys would not be in orange and blue (I had no hope of winning that one with the Seahawks having Liam’s favorite color, green, on their jerseys.)
After a few hours, I had sufficiently obsessed over the single email line and could finally come to terms with it being just a fun additional element to the football game. I made peace with being the solo Denver fan. I resolved to quit pouting and be a good sport.
Ben returned from work later that night and hugged me.
“Just to let you know, my dad won’t be getting the boys Seattle gear.”
“I talked to him and asked him not to. I told him it was your family’s thing and to let you have it.”
I felt ridiculous. And petty. And grateful. I started crying.
It wasn’t that I come from a Broncos family. It was that I missed my family. I knew Denver being in the Super Bowl would be something they’d all be exciting about, and once again, I wouldn’t be there to celebrate with them. My boys rarely get to see my mom and siblings, and my dad passed away when Liam was a baby. We visit Colorado and my mom comes to Arizona, but it can be a challenge to build a relationship based on vacations. I wanted my sons to have that connection with Colorado, with my family. Even from miles away, in different states, I wanted us all to be on the same team- and Ben got this.
About a week later, two packages arrived in the mail- one for me, and one for my boys. I opened mine and found my very own orange cowboy hat inside- another gift from a husband who more than gets me.
The boys opened theirs- Denver Broncos jerseys from their Uncle Chris. Kellen pushed the jersey aside to get access to the Ninja Turtle nightlight that was underneath. Liam held his up with excitement.
He appraised the bright orange color and exclaimed “Cool! It’s a Suns shirt.”
You can lead a Bronco to water but you can’t make him drink.