So it's Memorial Day already. Spring is quickly becoming summer (read: too hot for comfort in Oklahoma). We've had several severe thunderstorms in keeping with the season.
And speaking of thunder, the OKC Thunder are playing in the Western Conference finals. The excitement in town reminds of the buzz when the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup during their first year in Denver--and several years later, when at last John Elway and the Broncos won the Super Bowl (on their fifth attempt? something like that.) Madness, euphoria--watercooler talk gone mad. Everyone in the city is talking about it.
I love sports. I think given the incentive, I would have enjoyed them as a child. However, the only sport my mother had interest in was boxing. She listened to fights on the radio with her father; maybe they heard the now-famous bout between Max Schmeling and Joe Louis.
But I remember following the Red Sox during the Yaz years. . . and I had to attend all forty high school football games as part of the marching band (in four years we only won or tied ten of those games).
In college our soccer team competed in the national tournament for Christian colleges. We were good.
But my keen interest in professional sports developed in my years as a single mother. Two events stand out in my mind:
Watching Jimmy Connors rise to the quarter-finals of the US Open--a man not much older than I was, defying the odds. I stayed up until midnight, watching him play, and then fell asleep, exhausted.
Denver was the first (the only!) four-sport city I lived in. I made it to hockey, baseball, and basketball games (both my kids got to see the Broncos. I didn't. Boo hoo)
I remember the Rockies' first year, when they played in the old Coors Field. I watched EY's (Eric Young) home runs to begin and end the season, and the "Big Cat"'s (Andres Gallaraga) pursuit of the batting title. We sat on aluminum bleechers, that thundered under thousands of stomping feet. The fence was so low, I felt like I could reach out and touch the legends of the game--stars like David Justice and Steve Avery of the World Series Champion Atlanta Braves.
I was in Denver for two Stanley Cup wins by the Colorado Avalanche, two Superbowl wins by the Denver Broncos, and one World Series appearance by the Colorado Rockies. And I loved it.
This year the Denver Nuggets played the OKC Thunder in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
I was rooting for the Thunder.
I guess I really have become an Oklahoman.