Fan to the Core
For the first time in 15 years, my favorite football team is playing in the Super Bowl. For the first time in my career, I’ll be on the radio hosting a post game show right after my team plays in the Super Bowl. People ask me how I do it – how I block out all the emotions that come along with being a fan in order to do my job. They want to know how I go from crazed fanatic to calm professional. And make no mistake about it, “crazed” describes me perfectly when it comes to the Denver Broncos. I fell in love with this team at age 13 when I saw John Elway lead them to an exciting fourth quarter comeback. That was before I knew anything about football and way before I knew what career path I would take. The love affair survived three Super Bowl losses, including a pair of devastating defeats (42-10 to the Redskins and 55-10 to the Niners) that broke my young heart. That was the lowest of the lows, but the highest of highs came in the late 90s as the Broncos won back to back titles to send Elway out in style. I still watch games the same way I did as a kid: standing up and then sitting down, pacing, talking to the TV, making sarcastic comments, pumping my fist, battling the pit in my stomach. The only thing that’s different now is I yell a lot less to preserve my voice…oh, and I also tweet while I’m watching. Haha!
I know some people expect me to have zero rooting interest and stay neutral no matter what game, sport or team I’m following. In fact, being a fan makes me BETTER at my job. Not only can I relate and empathize with sports radio listeners, but I bring to my shows the same passion, fire, and enthusiasm I feel for my teams. Being a fan is not the same as being biased. Being a fan doesn’t mean I’m not objective or can’t criticize my favorites. I’d say the opposite is more often the case…I’m harder on my teams than other people might be. All season long, I’ve been saying the Broncos’ defense isn’t good enough to win a Super Bowl and pointing to their beat up secondary as among the worst in the league. After the AFC Championship, I finally had to admit I underestimated Denver on that side of the ball. Fellow Broncos devotees accuse me of being a terrible fan or get mad at me when I point out their flaws and mistakes. Some listeners who don’t know my rooting background have no idea I cheer for Denver. I take that as a compliment. It means I’m doing my job the right way, but it was a skill that took some time to master. I can best describe it as a switch that flips in my brain…a switch that turns off the irrational, illogical crazed emotions of a fan and turns on the analytical, cognitive approach of a broadcaster. It may sound impossible; but I like to tell people that in addition to my Master’s degree in TV & Radio, I also have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Two opposite sides of the same brain. When I work during major sporting events that involve my teams (in the past, the World Series, NBA Finals and March Madness), the rooting interest bears no part. My credibility is on the line when I’m on the radio, and the drive to do my job to the best of my ability takes over.
What a strange convergence in my brain this year: my first time working Super Week and my favorite team will compete for the championship. I’m thrilled for new opportunities like spending time on Radio Row, networking with members of the media and football communities, and attending some of the annual events. I’ve been asked to emcee the Women’s Super Bowl Tailgate Party to benefit the American Cancer Society. If you’re in town, I hope you’ll join us! www.femalesfootballphilanthropy.org In addition, an NFL agent friend invited me to the EA Sports Madden Bowl which will also be a first. Of course, the best part of the week is hosting After Hours Friday and Saturday nights (11p-3a PT) and the CBS Sports Radio post game show on Sunday right after the winner is crowned. I can’t imagine a better Super Bowl party than that!
I remain a fan to the core, and as always, I bleed Denver Broncos orange. Because I’ve been a fan all these years, I know what a privilege it is to talk about sports for a living. There may be two sides to my brain, but only one heart…one excited, nervous, enthusiastic, grateful heart.