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Zoned Out The SI columnist's home state deserves a little more attention, thank you

Dec. 15, 2003
Dec. 15, 2003

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Dec. 15, 2003

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Zoned Out The SI columnist's home state deserves a little more attention, thank you

Here in Colorado there is one thing we pine to hear, three little
words from the rest of the country that would finally make us
feel loved: "7 p.m., Mountain." ¶ Why must every freaking kickoff
be, "9 Eastern, 8 Central, 6 Pacific"? Why do you forsake us, Mr.
Announcer? What have we done to deserve this, Ms. Chiron Typist?
¶ What are we, tundra? You think it's just prairie dogs between
Kansas City and Bakersfield? You think it's the Land Before Time,
as though we all just walk around without watches, bumping into
each other, going, "Does the sun look kind of 4:30ish to you?" ¶
Throw us a freaking bone here, people! My God, look what Colorado
has contributed to sports! ¶ --The most exciting quarterback ever,
John Elway. Or don't you remember the Drive, the Drive II and
the Dive? Do you forget first-down-and-98-to-go and Elway
telling his boys, "We've got 'em right where we want 'em"? Do
you remember his two aorta-halting fourth-down completions in
the final drive to beat Houston in the 1991 playoffs?

This is an article from the Dec. 15, 2003 issue Original Layout

--The greatest slam-dunk contest in history--David Thompson versus
Julius Erving at McNichols Arena in 1976, during which hoops fans
were elevated to a dizzy nirvana never approached since, with Doc
winning on a cloud-gatherer.

--The feel-good moment in NHL history, in 2001, when Avalanche
captain Joe Sakic handed the Stanley Cup to Ray Bourque for the
first time in Bourque's 22-year career. They say even the statues
in the Denver Civic Center cried that day. And yet where does
Bourque hold his parade? Boston.

--The greatest college football play ever, Colorado's Kordell
Stewart to Michael Westbrook for 64 yards on a planned tip with
no time left to beat Michigan in 1994. And all we ever hear about
is Flutie, Flutie, Flutie.

--The highest-scoring NBA team in history, the 1981-82 Denver
Nuggets, featuring Dan Issel, Kiki Vandeweghe, Alex English and a
coach, Doug Moe, who never called a play. They averaged 126.5
points a game. The next year, that team scored 184 points in one
game--and lost! These days a team scores a lousy 100, they give
away 15,000 hamburgers.

So with all we've done, why do you snub us? We could see you
saying, "9 Eastern, 6 Pacific and you Flyover States will just
have to do the math." But no, you mention Central time, you hook
up most of Nebraska, a place so flat you could watch your dog run
away for three days.

It's not funny! Because you forget us in time, you forget us in
history. Do you realize that there isn't one Denver Bronco in the
Pro Football Hall of Fame? The Broncos have played in six Super
Bowls, second only to Dallas's eight--and yet seven Cowboys are
enshrined.

No Rich (the Sheriff) Jackson, who would've blown away today's
sack numbers, if they'd kept that stat in his day. No Floyd
Little, who retired as the seventh-leading rusher in NFL history.
(The six in front of him are in.) No Randy Gradishar, who had
twice the tackles of fellow linebacker Ted Hendricks, who's in.
Teams with fewer Super Bowl appearances punk Denver
continually--Pittsburgh (17 Hall of Famers), Oakland (12), Miami
(8), Minnesota (6). Even Tennessee has two. Shame, shame, shame.

Look who we've contributed to sports history: Jack Dempsey, Damon
Runyon, Byron (Whizzer) White, Hale Irwin, Frank Shorter, Peter
Forsberg and, of course, the Barrel Man. How many stadium whack
jobs have their own books?

Look at the places we've taken you. To mind-numbing,
spleen-jiggling, old Mile High Stadium. The middle of the
halftime marshmallow fight at Folsom Field for Colorado games.
The freestyle runs at Winter Park, where the bumps are slightly
larger than VWs. Well, we've had it. We do and do and do and get
nothin' in return. So ... we're closing the borders.

You want to come swoosh through our champagne powder? Forget it.
You want to train your Olympic athletes at our world-class
facilities in Colorado Springs? Tough tomatoes. You want to come
fly-fish streams so stocked you have to lock your tackle box to
keep trout from jumping in? Try Kansas.

You want to pretend we don't exist? Fine. We don't. We're keeping
it all to ourselves, beginning at noon tomorrow.

(2 Eastern, 1 Central, 11 a.m. Pacific.)

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY JOE CIARDIELLO

SI senior writer Rick Reilly is a Boulder native.