Against all of my wishes and most fervent hope, the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl this year. As a Denver-area resident and self-declared Broncos anti-fan, I did not enjoy the game. Not one bit.
So when the Broncos held a victory parade and rally in Denver two days later, I had no intention of going, even though my daily commute takes me right by its starting point near Union Station. And lo, I experienced a kind of karmic payback, as hordes of jubilant, parade-bound Bronco fans overwhelmed the mass transit system on which I needed to ride.
According to the local press, a million people showed up to this Broncos event. Most afternoons a light rail delivers me from work to Union Station, where I connect with a bus toward home. I lacked the foresight to appreciate what those multitudes could do.
Once I realized the problem, though, I left work early, hoping to beat that Million Fan March. At the light rail platform I was greeted by hundreds of orange-clad Bronco fans – and more Peyton Manning jerseys than have ever been assembled in one place, outside of Sports Authority Field.
When the train came along it was already so overloaded with parade-bound fans that none of us at that station could get on. What if I treated it like a mosh pit...? No, that wouldn't have worked, even with a cattle prod.
Three more trains came along. Same story. I wound up taking the light rail south – opposite of where I needed to go – getting off the train, and re-boarding, north-bound, at the far terminus. Even then the strategy almost didn’t work. But I got on (above photo, sans Peyton jerseys), and stood elbow to ribcage with triumphant fans taking selfies, who could not appreciate my lack of enthusiasm. Finally I reached Union Station to connect with the bus. But the buses, too, were overwhelmed and running late.
I’m from Detroit. On those occasions a sports team there wins a championship, people burn the city down. In Denver things never got too out of hand, but there were a few arrests after the game, "mainly for criminal mischief," according to the Associated Press.
Two days later, exultant Bronco fans praised their Super Bowl champs. "I want them to understand that we as fans truly love them," one said. "The love deep down is genuine."
And the Broncos probably love them right back – and will continue to do so, until their contracts expire and they become free agents.
Yes, I am unduly harsh when it comes to the Broncos. Yes, I am O so negative in rooting against the home team. I get that. But I'm a transplant who does not easily switch allegiance. And...I got my karmic payback.
Congratulations to the Broncos. My officemates are thrilled!