Friday, August 31, 2007

Royalty returns to Boise

As we grieve the passing of our beloved Princess Diana (can it be 10 years?!!?), Boise's royalty has returned.

I'm talking, of course, about our beloved BSU Bronco football team. They are on a lofty pedestal, and there is some serious Bronco Worship going on about town. (They better not lose, though, or the fickle fans will turn on 'em like a Michael Vick Pit-Bull. I've seen it before, and it's ugly.)

GAME DAY

Actually for a couple days leading up to Game Day, I've been seeing more cars with the tell-tale BSU flags a-fluttering, etc. "WOW! Those people must be BSU fans!" I always think to myself. "And they're serious fans - not just ho-hum fans with maybe a T-shirt, or a bumper sticker."

On Game Day, I decided just for kicks to ride my bicycle around the stadium and absorb some of the tailgate vibe. It was around 3:30pm.

My time wasn't wasted... there was a sea of blue and orange - vehicles, shade awnings, banners and flags. I was picking my way carefully through a sizeable crowd, motor homes, pickups, barbecue grills, souvenir vendors, etc. (Mid-afternoon on a Thursday! Awesome!) Off in the distance, I could hear a man's voice bellowing, "Boiiiiisssseeeeeeeee!" (The first half of the stereophonic Boiiiiseeee.... Staaaaaaateeee! chant that's so popular at the games.) I didn't hear the second half. At 3:30pm, it was probably still an hour or so too early.

THE BIG GAME

Season opener. BSU vs. the Weber State Wildcats.

Let me wax nostalgic for a moment.

Back in the Big Sky days, they played every year, BSU and Weber State. I can remember sitting in the student section. My brother John and I would start a special cheer, just for that game. "Cream o' Weber!!!" (That is a brand-name for a Utah dairy; Cream o' Weber milk could be purchased at the Smith's grocery stores.) At the beginning of the game, people would be lookin' at us funny-like. But by the end of the game, 500 or 1000 rowdy students would be shouting "Cream o' Weber!" in unison. Beautiful thing.

This time around, I watched on the teevee at home. Being there "in person" is way too rich for my blood these days. Bronco Nation will never again be a refuge for po' folk.

It was a lopsided victory for BSU. They looked powerful, and won handily. I believe the score was 56-7. (It was 49-0 going into the locker room at halftime... the fat lady hadn't showed up yet, though, so they came out and went through the motions for another 30 minutes. Everybody on the Bronco team got to play quarterback, for at least a couple downs.)

Ian Johnson is amazing to watch. He seems to be in a different time-dimension from the other 21 players out there. Einstein, and that wheelchair guy, could explain it but I wouldn't understand. When he has the ball, the other 21 go at it for 5 seconds, and then Ian seems to pick his way through the rest of them, as if they're all frozen in stop-motion. (I think his nickname should be "Magic" Johnson. Is that already taken?)

For me, perhaps the most amazing thing about the game was the "sports team" doing coverage for KTVB.

It was the regular guys doing the pressbox-talking - David Augusto and Scott Slant or whatever-his-name is. They do okay, although I think they make WAY too many comparisons with a play they remember from a preseason scrimmage, or a game that BSU played 5 years ago or whatever. Who cares? (They should save that talk for when they're in their rocking chairs on the front porch of the Old Sportscasters' Home, a few years out.)

Some people listen to the radio guy - Paul J. He's been "the voice of the Broncos" since the broncos were roaming among the mastodons and triceratops. But he's an "acquired taste" - a taste I've never acquired. (IMO, he should've taken his place in front of the Old Sportscasters' Home maybe 10 years ago.)

I was truly baffled that KTVB still has oafish-but-lovable second-string weatherman Larry Gebert prowling the sidelines, instead of their new SPORTS-BABE, Kerith. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING??!? She would be perfect for the sidelines - she seems to know her stuff, and I've gotta think the coaches, players, etc. - pretty much EVERYBODY, except possibly for Senator Larry Craig - would enjoy talking to her more than to Gebert.

(CREDITS: Football game photo stolen from the Idaho Statesman website; news-people photos stolen from the KTVB website.)

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