- Politics and Social Issues
Colorado Transplants: Adopt our Colorado Sports Teams
"It's my Manifest Destiny to move to Colorado."
Imagine this. It's New Year's Eve, and rather than don a sparkly dress to go sip wine at a local bar, I've decided to don sparkly leggings that match my Colorado Avalanche jersey. My New Year's Eve plans consist of taking in the Colorado Avalanche game as they host the Chicago Blackhawks.
This is the second time I've decided to make a Colorado Avalanche game the center of my plans for New Year's Eve. The previous year I'd watched an injury-decimated Colorado team gain victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Going to a game in which the Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Chicago Blackhawks is no treat, though. The Avalanche do have a winning record against the Blackhawks -- after this season, the Avalanche have 45 wins compared to 25 losses and 7 ties or overtime losses to the Chicago team.
Moreover, Colorado has a habit of ending Chicago's streaks. On an historic winning streak, Hawks? Ended. Trying to break records, Patrick Kane? Avs not interested.
That said, an Avalanche fan attending a game in which the Colorado Avalanche host the Chicago Blackhawks is a nightmare.
Mass Influx of Transplants
New Yorkers address you with brute honesty. Californians are fake nice. Chicago natives are a pleasing mix -- edgy from living in the city but softened with Mid-western manners.
I'd say there's no obvious characterization of Colorado natives. We have no accent. We're as honest as anyone else, but not brutally so. We're not the friendliest of people, but nor are we abrupt. Overall, we're kind of a passive sort.
That said, there's one thing we all have in common. We are all inordinately proud of being Colorado natives -- to the point that we carry a chip on our shoulder. And we're sick of the mass influx of transplants that hit our state on a regular basis.
According to the Denver Post, Colorado's population increased by 101,000 people over a year's span that ended July 1, 2015. That's a 1.89% increase in population. With that increase came the ills that Coloradans have come to expect, such as increased housing costs, massive uptake in traffic and fewer available jobs.
In other words, Colorado natives and longtime residents aren't exactly celebrating all these new transplants.
Colorado Sports Teams
Colorado is a sports-loving state. Many people appreciate the beautiful outdoors, and part of the mass influx of transplants is due to a desire to participate in outdoor sports.
However, we Coloradans also love our professional sports teams. For a state that "only" has five million people, the fact that we have seven professional sports teams might be surprising.
Colorado has the four major sports covered:
- Denver Broncos (football)
- Denver Nuggets (basketball)
- Colorado Avalanche (hockey)
- Colorado Rockies (baseball)
In addition, Colorado hosts three professional teams in sports that might be considered somewhat fringe:
- Colorado Rapids (soccer)
- Colorado Mammoth (indoor lacrosse)
- Colorado Outlaws (outdoor lacrosse)
All of these teams are based in the Colorado capitol of Denver.
Naturally, with these teams come the attendant sports arenas. The oldest stadium is Coors Field, which was built in 1995. By all accounts, it's one of the nicest baseball fields in the country. In addition to world-class facilities within the stadium, Coors Field is located in the heart of LoDo, or lower downtown Denver. It's surrounded by restaurants and sports bars, making attending Rockies games a treat.
The newest sports facility is Dick's Sporting Goods Park, built in 2007. It's home to the Colorado Rapids.
The Pepsi Center, built in 1999, hosts the most sporting events. It's home to the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth.
Colorado natives are very proud of our football stadium -- so much so that we stubbornly still call it Mile High Stadium, though its corporate name is Sports Authority Field at Mile High. It's home, of course, to the Denver Broncos as well as the Colorado Outlaws. Its architecture is one of the most attractive aspects of the stadium.
Colorado Sports Championships
In addition to having all major and even fringe professional sports teams located in Colorado, the teams are actually pretty good.
Of course, the best-known Colorado sports team is the Denver Broncos -- at the time of writing they are the current Super Bowl champions. In addition to having won Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos won in 1998.
Another team that has two championships is the Colorado Avalanche. In fact, the Avalanche brought the first-ever sports championship to Denver by winning the Stanley Cup in 1996. They won again in 2001. (Interestingly, though not NHL, the now-relocated Denver Grizzlies of the now-defunct IHL won the Turner Cup in 1994.)
The Colorado Mammoth won the Champion's Cup for indoor lacrosse in 2006. The Colorado Rapids won the Major League Soccer championship in 2010.
While the Colorado Rockies couldn't finish out with a total win, they did appear in the World Series in 2007.
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The Pain of Opponent Fans
I'm not a full sports fan -- I only like hockey, so I'm going to focus on that for the moment.
I hate how many seats in the Pepsi Center are filled with opponent fans. I understand that their money goes to support the Colorado Avalanche, but it reminds me of how frustrated I am by the influx of transplants.
What's more, opponent fans don't observe our sports traditions. It's not just that they come in wearing the other team's jerseys and proceed to root for their team -- I respect that as their right since they bought tickets. It does set me on edge, though, when they proceed to boo or trash talk the Avalanche. That is just poor etiquette when you are essentially a visitor.
No, what I hate the most is opponent fans who treat the Pepsi Center as an extension of their home arena. Chicago Blackhawks fans are the worst. To offer some context, the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups in the last six years, so they've acquired a large following of bandwagon fans. What's more, a large percentage of the transplants moving into Denver come from Chicago.
I get that the weather is awful in Chicago for several months out of the year and that it's very expensive there. That's why so many Chicagoans are heading here. Indeed, they think it's their Manifest Destiny.
Now I'll explain the opening quote. It was New Year's Eve. I had just watched the Colorado Avalanche lose to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime. The pain was exacerbated by my being surrounded by Blackhawks fans hooting and hollering throughout the game and afterwards hooting their way through the halls of Pepsi Center as if they owned the joint.
I had plans to meet up with friends after the game, so I sat in my seat. I was fuming at the Avalanche, but also at the cockroaches in Blackhawks red swarming what was supposed to be my home arena. Finally, I'd had enough, I spied a small group of young Hawks fans who hadn't joined their brethren in rejoicing outside the viewing area.
"Hey!" I called out to them. "Go home!"
One male Hawks fan snickered my way. "I am home. I live here now."
"That's my point! Go home to Chicago!" Behind my words was the frustrated rage from the game and the growing anxiety of rising rent prices.
That made his response all the worse: "It's my Manifest Destiny to move to Colorado."
I admit that what came next was not my finest hour as I called him a nasty name that included an expletive. He just chortled. And why not? He was the victor.
Now, remember, Manifest Destiny was the 19th-century attitude that western expansion was the natural state of affairs. The attitude was a large part of the genocide of the Native Indians.
And here this Chicagoan was telling me it was his right to invade my home and eradicate my culture.
Our Colorado sports culture may not mean so much to outsiders. However, we natives and longtime residents hold them dear. For example, one of our customs at Colorado Avalanche games surrounds the singing of the National Anthem. We maintain respectful silence while Jake Schroeder sings until he gets to "our flag was still there." At that point everyone in the arena sings along in joyous celebration of that long-ago victory.
The Chicago custom is different. They hoot, holler, cheer and applaud throughout the entire Anthem. That's fine when it's in their home arena of the United Center. It is not ok in Pepsi Center. And it is most certainly not ok to yell "Go Hawks" during the quietude of the anthem in Colorado.
In other words, it is not opponent fans' Manifest Destiny to take over our cherished sports arena. It is, in fact, just bad manners.
Adopting New Sports Allegiances
Should transplants adopt the native sports teams?
Proposal for Opponent Fans
Adopt our sports teams.
While there are a few people who have to move to Colorado because of work, the large majority come because they like the state and the lifestyle. They choose to come here.
People who have chosen to come here have a duty to the state they're adopting as their new home. They have the duty to try and maintain the native culture. When it comes to Colorado, part of that culture is exemplified in our sports customs.
I understand that giving up a sports allegiance is difficult. If I were to move to another state, I would never give up my Colorado Avalanche. However, I would be respectful whenever I attended a hockey game in that city's arena. I would wear my Avalanche jersey and cheer for my team, but it would end there no matter the final score. If the Avalanche were victorious, I wouldn't rub the host fans' noses in it.
Eventually, that state's team would become my second favorite. If I had children, they would be raised loving their home team.
That is the common courtesy I'd like to see from transplants to Colorado. Adopt our sports teams the way you've chosen to adopt our sunny weather and our proximity to the mountains. Because transplants are bringing with them the ills of increased traffic, rising housing prices and fewer job availability.
To be brutally honest, new transplants owe us the respect of our native culture in return for bringing these ills.
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