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Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darknessDesmond Tutu
Darkness abounds in the winters at altitude, with the recent time change making it seem like evening at 4:30 pm, and with almost a month to go before the shortest day of the year. Stepping into December, the weeks in which we’re all now out shopping to celebrate our many holidays has patience often thin and can strain even the kindest amongst us while we all just attempt to keep on keeping on. One of the things that comes at a premium this time of year are literal and figurative bright spots, the bits of hope that a kind gesture or your favorite team might provide. If you’re a fan of sports here in the state, those bright spots of hope are literally everywhere you look, enough bright lights to fully dot one of Colorado’s famous evergreens.
Even with a tough skid to end their season, the Colorado Buffaloes men’s football program brought itself back to relevance not only because of Coach Deion Sanders or even his artful and talented sons, but also because of the rest of the raw talent and sheer belief he brought to the team, school, and supporters. While darkness abounded in the latter half of their year, Coach Prime still sees the light in all his program did well, as should the fans who see that light at the end of their tunnel.
Right up the street, the CSU men’s football program should also be counting their blessings even after a tough loss kept them from going Bowling for the first time in a while. Jay Norvell has lit a fire in Fort Collins, and games like Brass Boots and Border Wars look to be a real fistfight while he’s in town. His successes look to have that program on an upward curve as well.
The CSU men’s basketball program also has some bright lights of its own, having just beaten an also-contending CU men’s team at Moby Arena. The CU Women’s hoops team has also been a bright light for the school, recently losing their number 3 ranking, but still off to one of the hottest starts in the program’s history. Look at the athletics programs right now at any one of Colorado’s major colleges… Air Force, Northern Colorado, Denver University… You’ll find a sports program or three that is energizing a community with their winning ways.
For Colorado’s pros, the prospects in these moments are no less bright. One of the advantages of Colorado late falls and early winters beyond our snow sports is that our football, basketball, and hockey teams are in full swing, and this year is offering one of the most compelling examples of the bright spots the Broncos, Nuggets, and Avs can offer.
Denver’s Broncos find themselves in the midst of the league’s longest current winning streak after starting the season 1-5. The wailing for a head or three to roll, including from yours truly, has been replaced by anything from incredulity to outright awe, depending on how predominantly orange your kool-aid is. But however you take your drink, these Broncos have turned a corner in their season, and find themselves in the thick of the AFC Playoff hunt for the first time in far too long. The sheer breadth of Broncos fandom in Colorado has turned up the ambient temperature in the state a couple of degrees from sheer hope.
Meanwhile, Denver’s Nuggets have pulled themselves out of a recent slump they were mired in with one of their stars out to injury. While the team is still a bit banged up and has a decided target on their back this season, it’s simply from the warmth of the nuclear glow of hope their championship banner and trophy have brought to the season. While hopes and expectation will stay high until they either win the next one or bow out trying, that ring is too close and sparkly to be anything but bright lights for Nuggets fandom all year long.
Colorado’s Avalanche have a trophy of their own only a year further removed, but you’d not know it by the way they are playing this year, primarily possessed by last season’s first round exit and the embarrassment they felt. This year’s crew still pulled a point out of a tough OT loss in Phoenix Thursday night after having won their last four games prior. While they still have some leaks to plug and rotations to tighten, the team looks like a monster already, and one that still hasn’t fully found its rhythm.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a quick shot of hope this holiday season in and amongst all the challenges this time of year can provide, you could do a lot worse than spending a few moments with your favorite Colorado sporting venture. No matter which way you look this winter, there’s certainly a lot of reason to have hope.