Monday, January 11, 2016

Show Your Team Pride!

Patrick Says...

Tonight is the College Football National Championship, so I figured it would be an appropriate time to talk a little bit about college sports and the crazy pride that goes along with them. In the last post, I briefly mentioned team pride, more specifically the allegiance we have for certain schools and sports teams. These allegiances usually develop when we are young and stick with us through good times and bad. These allegiances can also come to us later in life, for example the college you choose to go to, or maybe a new career in a new city adjusts your pride. 

Something Shay has wanted to mention in the blog but hasn't had the chance, is the intense love she has for the University of Colorado Buffaloes.  I also have love for the Buffs, however our allegiances came from two different avenues. Hers was developed when she was young, but was cemented when she had the opportunity to attend the University of Colorado, which brought her pride to a whole new level. My story is a little different as I did not attend CU. When I was a kid the Buffs were good…I mean really good. We’re talking National Championship, Heisman winning, powerhouse good. Unfortunately, the program has taken a turn since the glory days, but there is no doubt my pride comes from growing up near Boulder and during that time. As my Dad used to tell me, root for the Buffs because they’re the only school in the state that will have a chance to win a championship. This might have been a subtle hit on CSU, but with how the conferences and the NCAA is set up, it had some truth to it. 

Now to be clear, my family wasn’t fanatical when I was growing up the way a lot of families are. I understood that families had traditions that go way back and generation after generation rooted for the same team. However, it wasn’t until I started dating Shay that I realized how deep the pride can go. The team I’m talking about here is not the Buffs, but The University of Notre Dame. At the beginning of our relationship Shay mentioned her family was from Indiana and that her Great Grandfather had run track for ND back in the day. Then, at a wedding her Aunt hinted at the intensity of the family's devotion, saying not long ago, the outcome of a Notre Dame football game dictated the mood of an entire day. It wasn’t until we were in her mother's hometown for Thanksgiving I realized how entrenched the whole family is and was able to develop a greater respect for this type of tradition. Over the next couple days, it was always a topic of conversation. Where was everybody going to watch the bowl game? Or what the Irish need to do differently, advice coming from every part of the family. Multiple shirts and hats worn from old to young, pictures of the family and Lou Holtz together on the wall. I left that weekend with a greater appreciation not only for the University, but for the way team pride can bring a family together. I think the unity is the most important factor. Sharing that experience with others.

Can you think of anything better then yelling at the TV with friends and family? Or have you ever called a friend the next day to see if he watched the game? I was watching a game the other day and sat next to a guy at a bar who had the same allegiance and we became instant friends. It's these experiences that build pride we pass down to the next generation.

Rocky Mountain Showdown // 2012

Anyway, back to the Buffs. If I don't have any cool family stories or deep tradition in the school, then where does my pride come from? I believe it goes back to the time period and the region that I grew up in. As I mentioned earlier, Colorado was quite good in the late 80s and early 90s. I remember watching Rashaan Salaam (the only Heisman winner from CU), Eric Bieniemy, and my favorite as a kid, Kordell Stewart. I also recall being enthralled watching Ralphie run onto the field before games. Shay is adamant and will tell anybody, there is no better mascot in all of sports than Ralphie. I would wear black and gold together all the time just because I thought the colors looked so cool. I imagine the same will be true tonight when kids from Alabama and South Carolina watch their home teams take the field. As a kid, what could be better then watching the hometown team compete at a national level? In the end, this is my hope for the University of Colorado...a return to prominence. I know it's an uphill battle since the Buffs recently moved to the PAC 12, one of the most competitive conferences in college sports. I, for one am not giving up hope as the past season showed spurts of movement in the right direction.  With quality wins against home state rival CSU and against division foe Oregon State. There were games that were so close and CU barely let them slip away. Big games too...against powerhouses Oregon, USC, and Arizona. The Buffs should have come out on top in every one of these games. As I look toward the future I can envision good things...a return to recruiting greatness Coach Bill McCartney had when he was building the great teams of the late 80s and early 90s. To paraphrase Coach Mac, there is no better place to play football than Boulder, Colorado.  He's right, it is a beautiful school, in a beautiful's deserving of greatness.

When I picture my own future, I imagine my kids watching the Buffs and taking in the special moments the same way I did.  Building memories filled with pride, where the guys wearing Colorado across their chests come out victorious more times than not. We can share moments of yelling at the TV in joy, building a family tradition that will continue on down the line.

Shay, her freshman year at CU, in the student section.
She misses those days... tells me all the time. 

Shay graduated from The University of Colorado, Boulder in 2009
(She wouldn't like it if you did the math there)

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