I should be saying this with my feet on a barrel head, with a nod and spit toward a spitoon, as I intone "back in 'aught 2...." Growing up I never heard anyone refer to the 1900's as "aught 3" etc although many were alive who had lived those years. Mostly done in movies. But 2002 is a useful, and close, reference point, in this week that was. Return with me now to those days of yesteryear (no I won't be wearing a mask; those days, like a lot other things, for me, are gone).
This time In '02 (plus 3 weeks) I was watching us play Iowa State in the Humanitarian Bowl. I was impressed and happy to see us play, and beat, those guys. That year began with us beating Idaho, then losing the game and our QB in South Carolina. It would be the last time I would see the Broncos physically dominated on the line, both sides of the ball, for 4 quarters.It was also the last loss that year; we surprised Hawaii (and me), and I'll never forget the Fresno game which despite the score was competitive which made the annihilation sweeter. I watched the Broncos that entire season with abandon; long as we won, who cared by what score? Style points? WGA(BW). Just enjoyed and when we ended up #12 in Coaches and #15 in AP I was elated; I remember hearing Paul J. talk about it, and I almost had to pinch myself (those days gone too). I watched Broncos in a comparatively stress free manner. I said comparatively; yeah I wanted us too win, and got tight when things did (not very often, if at all, if memory serves), but nothing like the churning I've experienced since......when? When did that start?
I guess '06, when the first true BCS hope arose. Before then it was dismissed out of hand re: BCS-no way. '05 dreams got flattened early and emphatically. '06 I started having more white knuckle time; Wyoming, San Jose stand out. Any loss or even poor play could mean the bubble would burst, and its hard to breathe riding a bubble. Waiting to exhale-well, even when we made BCS in '07 and '10 I still worried.
Back to '02; watching the Broncos with the Iowa State all-around QB who would play for Seattle and whose name I can't remember-wait, Seneca Wallace. It was fun, the season was fun, being a serious Bronco fan didn't seem so...serious.
I can already hear it; OBNUG, I'm not saying I want the Broncos to lose, to never compete for NCS or BCS. We've gotten the whole country so over-lawyered now everyone uses the rhetorical attorney tricks, over-simplification, reducio ad absurdum, extending the point 'til it breaks. Spare me; I'm a pro, do it for a living, and bleaching reason does to it what bleaching wheat does to flour. As Dennis Miller says, don't overread me.
So let's be honest; this season has been exquisite(in the sense of intense), but there has been an undeniably desperate quality to it. Have I been the only one who's felt vaguely haunted, as I'm sure our team has felt hunted? Unless I've entirely off the pulse of OBNUG I'm not.
POINT: Recrimination, "what if"'s, looking back, ruefulness-everything that is summed up in the worst emotion in the world-REGRET-let's abandon now. Yes, you heard me; I'd rather you kill me and laugh when you think of it than regret it. I hate regret, have no use for it, never give voice to it, will not allow it to creep in my consciousness like some mangy cur but beat it relentlessly with the rod of Hermes( my will,intellect and soul), and despise anyone who extolls it. We can relax for 2 more games, and enjoy our Broncos like NUGies should.
It all starts again soon, after 9 months of our daily Broncophilia.If next season starts like this one, we'll be on the razor's edge AGAIN for months, or until we get to feel another Black Friday.That's how it is; like the song says "something lost and something gained". Or as Impracticus the Stoic posited :"That which is completely within your power,hold; all else, alow to come,or leave, as is its wont" (NOTE wont:in the habit-Impracitcus sold dictionaries on the side).
CODA: We lost to Nevada and went to , what, #11? If you had told me in 'aught 2 that that could POSSIBLY happen-well, no one would have said it. Literally, and I mean that literally, not rhetorically, inconceivable.