When asked by Fanatics to describe how sports have created family bonds, I hesitated, confronted with a multitude of stories, memories, and experiences. Skiing in the Rockies, trekking all over the state to competitive soccer games, and rabidly supporting hometown high school and college teams came to mind as examples of how sports have engaged my entire family. We hike and bike all over, and life always seems to be revolving around one activity or another. After some thought, however, it became quite clear what to write about as the single most important sporting bonding my family has experienced over the years. In short, I believe the Denver Broncos are responsible for significant strengthening of family ties in my life, and we will always bleed orange and blue.
My grandfather has owned season tickets to the Broncos for the better part of the last half-century, and this has created an extremely intense association with the team for all the Nathansons and Cohens. With countless cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents residing in the Denver-Boulder metro area, games are always an occasion to gather and celebrate. I remember seeing Jerry Rice and John Elway in the last game at the old Mile High Stadium, and two AFC Championships remain among my most treasured memories. I was there for the Hochuli game against the Chargers, the debacle in the playoffs against the Ravens, and the 63-yard field goal by Jason Elam versus Jacksonville. I’ve seen quarterbacks from Bubby Brister and Brian Griese to Jake Plummer, Tim Tebow, and Peyton Manning, as well as Hall of Famers Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe.
However, these great games wouldn’t be the same without my family members right there at my side. Years of success, heartbreak, swirling blizzards and subzero temperatures, and sunsets setting over the west stands will forever remain etched in memory.
Sitting behind the visitor’s bench has exposed me to many greats and goats of the game, including Tom Brady, Steve Young, Marty Schottenheimer, and Norv Turner. Having Thunder gallop down the field following Broncos scores has always been phenomenal, and especially now given heightened expectations, I wouldn’t trade my Broncos for anything.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and the Broncos only add the excitement and familial bonding. When my ample family gathers for this important annual celebration of the harvest and appreciation of our fortunes, fun always follows. However, years that have included Broncos games resulted in heightened importance. Blue and orange dress is recommended, and pre-dinner football games set the stage for a truly American evening of a feast and some football. As if a ravenous teenage boy didn’t have enough occasion to look forward to Thanksgiving dinner…thank you, Broncos.
Beginning in early fall and continuing (in good years) through the winter into the new year, Broncos season always takes precedence in my life, and my family is always there by my side. Taking the bus from Boulder down to games, tailgating in the University of Denver parking lots, and celebrating the Orange Crush with friends, new and old alike, dominates every Sunday for a good part of the year. My family’s association with the Broncos can only be summed up with one story: when confronted with the rare but unfortunate coincidence of a Broncos game falling on Yom Kippur, a day of religious observance, my grandfather asked, without an ounce of humor, “can we tape Yom Kippur?” For as long as I live, whether I am in Colorado or not, I will always love my Broncos, and memories of a childhood spent rooting along with cousins, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles will always remain in my mind and my heart. Just remember, if God isn’t a Broncos fan, then why are sunsets orange and blue?
Until next time, Go Broncos.