Awkward political conversations are as baked into Thanksgiving as turkey, stuffing and stuffed jalapeños wrapped in bacon. (Well, maybe that last one is just my family, but you get the point.) Uncomfortable conversations are almost inevitable when people who work in different fields are forced to spend a couple hours in a room together and booze if flowing.
Talking politics is OK as long as things remain civil. But if you need some filler, there’s a simple way you can steer the conversation back toward a point where you don’t think anyone will brawl in your living room: Talk about sports.
Most people have an opinion about them. And even if someone is spouting off something nonsensical, it’s not a big deal because we’re talking about grown men who throw balls around for a living. It’s a foolproof tactic to avoid the uncomfortable on one of your only week days off of the year.
Denverite supports you if you wish to wade into the nitty gritty about politics with your family. But we’re also here for you if you wish to avoid it altogether. Here are three sports conversation starters you can quickly change the subject with.
Trevor Siemian isn’t that bad.
The Broncos’ offense is bad for the second season in a row. This year, Denver is actually averaging fewer yards per play (5.1, 27th overall) than last (5.4, 19th overall).
A lot of folks want to hang this on Siemian. I get it, to a point. He is maddeningly conservative at times, and has a propensity to throw the ball short of the sticks on third down. But zoom out a little bit, and things really aren’t that awful. He’s on pace to throw for 3,244 yards, 19 TD and 11 interceptions.
The real issues are on the offensive line — new bookend tackles Russell Okung and Donald Stephenson just haven’t worked out — and at running back, where Denver lost C.J. Anderson in late October to a meniscus injury. Denver is averaging 3.7 yards per carry and still hasn’t hit the century mark (974 rushing yards) as a team.
Siemian is a stopgap solution at quarterback. Denver will likely either give Paxton Lynch a chance to start next season or sign a veteran (hey there, Tony Romo) this summer. In the meantime, the Broncos have Siemian, which is OK.
There are real reasons to be optimistic about the Nuggets.
They’re 5-8. This feels like another 30-something win season. I know, I know. The Nuggets look to be in the early stages of building something special, though. There is so much young talent on this team. Eight players are 22 of younger.
This year’s draft class already has shown glimpses. Juancho Hernanagomez — a 19-year-old rookie from Spain — “just does stuff,” as Nuggets coach Mike Malone aptly put in earlier this year. And 13 games in, it’s pretty clear Jamal Murray’s offensive wizardry is going to translate at the NBA level.
The Nuggets have dealt with injury issues so far, with Will Barton and Darrell Arthur sidelined. There’s a convincing case that they also played the toughest opening 10-game stretch to begin the year, too. Don’t write them off yet.
Nolan Arenado is an alien from the future sent to crush baseballs and make barehanded plays.
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is good at baseball. Like, really, really good. This is the most non-controversial sports take I can think of when it comes to Denver sports.
In 2016, Arenado hit 41 home runs, 133 RBIs won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. He’s the first third baseman ever to win four Gold Gloves to start his career. He’s the third player ever to record consecutive 40-home-run, 130-RBI seasons before turning 26.
Arenado is extremely good, and he has the chance to be great. Hopefully, this is something we can all agree on in such divisive times.
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