Monday, April 19, 2004

The Right Pryce

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm a huge Denver Bronco fan. When I first got married, my in-laws were big into driving up to Greeley for Bronco training camp. I got to meet Shannon Sharpe and Neil Smith that year and so needless to say, I was hooked.

The first Elway-less year we had with the Broncos, I went up to Greeley with my friend, Christina, who was a big Bubby Brister fan & had just recently shelled out the bucks for a Brister jersey. That day Mom had come up with us but while we were standing on the sidewalk watching the players ride by in their little golf carts, she decided it was too hot and she went to wait for us in the car.

A side note about Mom that day: she was determined that she would get autographs that morning. She had her little pad of paper and pen and she practiced asking while the guys were scrimmaging. But when it came right down to pushing her way through the other fans, she couldn't bring herself to do it. "I'm a failure as an autograph hound," she announced sadly as the last Bronco trailed off the field. She made me sad.

So anyway, we watched the guys zip by in their carts. Brian Griese and Trevor Pryce both waved at us which totally made my day. Trevor was a sophomore player and he had won my admiration by his tough rookie play the year before and his sleepy eyes and sweet smile. I'm still pretty shallow when it comes to athletes, I'll admit that freely. But the Trevor story comes later. Right after my mom left for the car, here came Bubby. I heard him say to the driver, "Pull over here" and point to where Christina & I were standing.

"Did he just say 'pull over here?'" Christina asked me. I just nodded as I stepped back and Bubby's cart pulled up in front of us. He smiled brilliantly at Christina and nodded at her shirt. "Like your jersey," he drawled in his Louisiana accent. "Thanks," she smiled back. He gave her another nod then pointed forward. "Let's roll," he instructed the driver. I just thought it was cool that Bubby stopped like that when no other players did.

We got back to the car and I burst in with "You'll never guess what happened to Christina!" My mom's reply to this day still cracks me up. "Did she get run over by a golf cart?"

Well...this started an uncontrollable obsession on Christina's part with Bubby Brister. We went to Dove Valley A LOT for practices, hanging out on the corner in front of the Broncos' Training Facility. A lot of players would stop there and sign autographs or stop and chat. One time, some player I can't remember stopped and looked at us, grinning. "You know who's behind me?" We shook our heads. "It's Elway! Nate Elway!" The player behind him was Nate Someone...I can never remember his real name anymore because I can still hear that guy yelling "NATE ELWAY!" as he drove away laughing like a loon.

Bubby never stopped again but he would yell out his truck window as he drove past: "Hey, number six!" at Christina. I thought that was kinda cool, too.

During this time, I had decided that my new favorite player was Trevor Pryce. Christina & I had gone to a preseason game against the 49'ers at the old Mile High. That was when you could walk around the track and be really close to the field and the players. I don't know what came over me that night but during one of our passes by the Bronco bench, Trevor Pryce was standing with Neil Smith and Alfred Williams. Now, for those of you who don't know who Trevor is or have never seen him...he's HUGE! 6'5", 310 pounds and can look downright mean when he's not smiling. He was scowling about something that had happened on the field and I just yelled, "I LOVE YOU TREVOR!!!!" His whole face transformed. He smiled real big and yelled back "I LOVE YOU TOO!"

After that, I decided I needed a Pryce jersey but they weren't available to buy at SportsFan or anything then. No one knew of him yet. So I went to a little place in Westminster and paid big bucks to have one made. It's authentic and a 3X so it's huge on me. But I wore it with pride that first day at Dove Valley. Trevor was driving out in his black BMW and Christina instructed me to turn around so he could see the back of the jersey. Pretty soon I hear a gruff voice: "Excuse me. Where did you get that jersey?"

I turned around to see Trevor Pryce leaning out of his car window, looking at me. "I had it made," I replied.

"You had it MADE?" He sounded incredulous. I nodded. "You want me to sign that for you?" I think - no I know that I just gaped at him for a couple seconds before grabbing my sharpie and running to his car. As he was signing, I asked if he remembered the girl who yelled that she loved him at the San Fran game. He laughed and said, "I still love you, too." Hee hee hee!

He's still my favorite player...I wear his jersey to every game I go to and practically every game I go to, he gets a sack for me. I tell everyone that he loves me. It must be true, he said it twice. :D

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