2014

29 January 2014: “United in Orange” supercedes politics

“United in Orange” supercedes politics

You had to be there, but if you couldn’t, then watching the Broncos defeat the Patriots on TV was next best.  I’m blessed that I have season tickets.  Of course, I know by revealing that I will have a few new best friends.  Game companion beware: My seats are located in the highest reaches of Mile High.  But then, when one lives as Clear Creekers do between 7,500’ and 10,000’, sprinting up eight ramps to make kick-off is a breeze.

The experience was electrifying, the atmosphere pulsing with 77,000 fans on their feet and atop their lungs when New England had the ball.  Fortunately, Peyton Manning managed to dominate the time of possession, which had a salutary effect on the otherwise hoarse Bronco-maniacs.

In the big scheme of the Universe and world problems, football and other pro sports register next to nil in terms of importance.  But they’re fun or should be.  I won’t delve into the psychology about why we identify with and then boast, brag, and bellow for our chosen teams, but on the whole, I guess it’s a good thing.

“United in Orange” is the slogan Broncos have adopted and displayed.  Not a bad line, although at first it seems mundane, not so catchy.  When one thinks about it, other teams probably ought not to use the line in context with their primary color.  Imagine Cleveland saying it’s “United in Brown” or Miami “United in Teal.”  Something missing.

The color is distinct, ostensibly reflective of Colorado sunsets.  The sky on game day was, indeed, Bronco blue, the old blue, somewhat lighter in hue than the more current inky one.  I’m an old-schooler, so it worked for me.

“United” is the key word, though.  Not part of the marketing brain-trust for the Broncos, I, nevertheless, suspect their adoption of “united” is a subtle but intentional allusion to the divisions, even chasms in American society.  The wonderful part about the 77,000 gathered is that no one asked about one’s politics, religion, or immigration status.  We were all simply and commonly Bronco fans, a massive coterie of Coloradans and Coloradan wanna-be’s.

Not since the old days of the original Mile High has Bronco Nation been so pumped, riveted, and excited.  The restoration of Bronco dynasty began with owner Pat Bowlen who hired John Elway, the greatest Bronco ever, who in turn brought in Peyton Manning, arguably the greatest quarterback ever, to lead it.

On January 19th, Peyton set the record straight with the Pretender to the Throne, Tom Brady.  Tom-boy got schooled.

Peyton has done more though: He’s helped us feel good about being Coloradans.

2014 promises to be a very divisive year politically with the number of statewide offices being contested.  Congress is up for grabs.  The Republican Tea Party smells blood in the water.  The Democrats say, “Get a clue.”  We’ll know in November who’s to prevail.  For now though, we’re United in Orange.  Let’s savor the felling and recall it when things get testy.

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Over the past three columns, I explored the phenomenon of the takeover of the American public school system by for-profit and related religious-based groups.  In so doing, I’ve received several interesting—assertive—emails, which in itself demonstrates how volatile the topic is.  It seems I’ve struck a few raw political/social nerves.

In next week’s piece, I will delve into why we—those who believe in public education and its essential value to the American democratic experiment—need to be not only concerned about the putsch but also to become activists in halting the insanity.

In the meantime, the First Saturday Night at the United Center—1440 Colorado Blvd., Idaho Springs—will feature “The Reformers,” a documentary film about takeover of the Douglas County Board of Education in 2009 by the “the reform movement,” this coming Saturday, February 2 @ 7:00.

The film is produced by Emmy Award winners Brian and Cindy Malone.  According to its website, “Malone draws on the fallout from ‘A Nation at Risk’ and ‘No Child Left Behind’ to demonstrate how the ‘spin’ of a ‘failing’ American public education system has set the stage for the privatization of public education.”

Malone explores how “for-profit interests” use “fear and expensive advertising” to change the Douglas County schools by tapping into the Districts $500-million budget and “digs into the hidden world of the giant education industry whose proponents see dollar signs in the trillions, waiting on the sidelines for new public school ‘markets’ to open up.”

Doors open at 6:30; refreshments will be available.

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