Is it possible to use sports to help describe the characteristics and personality of an entire state? Stay with me.
July 2, 2007: The New York Yankees are taking on the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. My brother and I are enjoying a beautiful night out at the ballpark in the Bronx. Midway through the second inning, a family of four walked into our section in search of their seats. The family was decked out in Twins gear, including two kids who couldn’t have been over the age of seven. Nonetheless, the Yankees fans began heckling the Twins fans to no end. They even started throwing peanuts at the family after the father kindly asked everyone around him to stop the abuse. This continued until the usher escorted the family to different seats.
Sept. 16, 2007: The Denver Broncos are taking on the Oakland Raiders at Invesco Field in Denver. Everyone around me was proudly wearing their Broncos apparel, with the exception of one fan, who was sporting his black and silver Raiders jersey. Throughout the entire game, the Broncos fans said no more than five words to the lone Raider fan, even as he annoyingly continued to root against the home team. After Jason Elam kicked a game-winning field goal to give the Broncos a win, a man wearing a Broncos jersey graciously turned to the Raiders fan, shook his hand, and said, “Great game, get home safely.”
I was born and raised in New York and am a die-hard Yankees fan. Yankees fans, like most of the other professional sports teams in New York, demand perfection. There is no room for error, no room for rebuilding and after Joe Torre’s resignation, no room for anything but a championship.
I’ve lived in Boulder for three years now, so the following may be somewhat distant from the truth.
Colorado fans want their teams to win championships, but more importantly, demand hard work and sacrifice from the athletes. The Rockies went on one of the most historic runs in baseball history. Even though they were swept in the World Series, the Rockies faithful were thrilled with their team and proud to call themselves Rockies fans.
That wouldn’t happen back east.
They call New York the city that never sleeps. Everyone is up-to-the-minute and always on the run. The second you take a break, someone will break you. This proves true in the sports world as well. We expect a championship every year, no matter what it costs. If we don’t win, we boo.
Colorado is the polar opposite. Everyone is taking his or her time, peacefully moving through life with a constant smile. Coloradoans wait patiently for the snow each winter, but have a great time without it during the summer. Hell, they even take the time to thank the bus driver. It’s the same with sports. If the Broncos aren’t winning, why not check out the Rockies? If they’re both not winning, there’s always the Avalanche. If there’s no championship this season, there’s always next year.
This isn’t a knock on either state. In fact, it may be something of a compliment. Both Colorado and New York have two of the most undeniable personalities in the country. While one may expect perfection, the other accepts imperfection.
However, there is one thing that both states have in common: passion. No matter what happens, the fans keep coming back. Each city will rally around their team when times are good, but when times are bad, there will still be no empty seat in the stadium.
That’s the true beauty of sports. It’s what helped the Rockies win 21 of 22 games. It’s what allowed the Colorado Buffaloes to upset the No. 3 team in the country. It’s what makes all of New York rally around Joe Torre and his Yankees after the death of his brother.
Sports are a ride that pulls you in and lets you forgot about all the other crap happening around us.
Hop on and enjoy that ride.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Derek Schimmel at Derek.Schimmel@thecampuspress.com