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READER QUESTION: If you moved here voluntarily, why don’t you embrace the local sports teams the way you do other aspects of the local culture?
Chris Zacher, executive director of Levitt Pavilion Denver:
At the turn of the century, cities across our country boasted multiple baseball teams. Allegiances to teams were determined block by block, city by city. Rivals spilled to the streets for stickball, bragging rights and pride were the prizes. Then the Dodgers moved to L.A. and it all changed…
Indoctrination is a real thing. I moved to Denver well over a decade ago from St. Louis, via Ponca City, Oklahoma, via Little Rock, Arkansas. When I was a child I remember my mother telling me that I root for the Oklahoma Sooners, even though I lived in St. Louis. At the time my extended family was attending the University of Missouri so this was a bit confusing to me. Nonetheless I accepted my fate and still accept it today. It’s similar to being told that you are Catholic or Muslim as a child. You have no clue what this means. You didn’t pick it, it picked you or was picked for you.
In 2005 I arrived in Denver bringing along with me a college football team, an NHL team and a MLB team. These are deep-rooted associations. I remember watching Darryl Porter jump into the arms of Bruce Sutter when the Redbirds won the pennant in 1982, I remember watching Doug Wickenheiser finally become relevant for the Blues during the Monday Night Miracle, I remember watching Wayne Gretzky wear my team’s jersey and being there for Albert Pujols’s first MLB game. I watched the Red Sox celebrate their first World Series title in 85 years — on my team’s field. I have traveled to spring training multiple times to watch the Cardinals and have taken days off work to watch multiple Blues training camps. I have celebrated with indescribable jubilation for these men I do not know. I have wept, I have stared angrily at the TV — long after the screen went to commercial, I have played Monday morning quarterback and I have uttered the phase “next year is our year” more times than I can count. This is what we do as sports fans.
As a Cardinals fan, I have watched my friends who root for the Cubs suffer year after year. Starting with the advent of cable television they could have switched alliances but they didn’t. Instead they continue to live with the agony that has been part of Cubs lore since 1908. This year, they may finally get to celebrate and not just for them but for the generations of fans who never had the opportunity to. Why would we ever want to take that joy away from anyone regardless of where they live or who they cheer for?
By the way, I love the Broncos — they have been embraced! But even if I didn’t root for the Blues and Cardinals there isn’t much to like about the other teams in Denver. The owners don’t care about the fans or winning. They only care about how much you’ll spend when you visit those fancy buildings that your tax dollars built.
Chris Zacher is the Founder and Executive Director of Levitt Pavilion Denver, he has been working to increase access to the arts in Denver since moving here in 2005.
The Levitt Pavilion breaks ground in Ruby Hill Park on Thursday, Nov. 10, and you’re invited.
Denverite invites non-native Coloradans to answer questions from Colorado natives in the “Ask a Transplant” series. Got a question for a Colorado native? You might be interested in our “Ask a Native” series. Send us your questions, or volunteer to answer ’em, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out this form.