Welcome to the refreshed Ralphie Report. To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. If you used to use the new stories feature at the top of the sites (like me) you will have to use an RSS reader (try Feedly) and this link.
As a Colorado native it’s not hard to root for the best teams in the state. We’re truly blessed to have great teams with a history of winning and tradition. Before Colorado had the Denver Broncos’ Super Bowl runs in the late 1990’s, there was one team who resided in the foothills of Boulder that dominated the nation.
Colorado Buffaloes football represents a family fighting in the trenches, being “shoulder to shoulder” with a band of brothers. Names like Salaam, “Whizzer”, Anderson, and Williams are just some of the legends who have left it all on Folsom Field.
You can say I was born into being a CU fan. As far back as I could remember watching Ralphie lead the Buffs out onto the field was magical. My dad took Saturdays as an opportunity for my brother and I to learn college football. Starting at the age of six, I started following the sport by creating my own top 25 rankings. It wasn’t long after I graduated to score predictions and doing my best as a mock analyst.
I always admired the style of Larry Zimmer. Not because he was one of the best play-by-play guys in the nation, but rather Zim painted a picture for me like nobody else could. I must have driven my parents crazy by insisting to mute games on television in favor of hearing KOA’s broadcasts synced up with the coverage. Those moments made me a Buffs fan by hearing the electricity in Zimmer’s voice calling plays that would later be cemented in Colorado history.
My era of CU football began in the 1990’s with one man who was a father to many on and off the field. Bill McCartney’s style of coaching was fierce and his competitive nature dominated his career. He was the face of the Buffaloes during his time in Boulder for many reasons. A gentle god-fearing man who’s driven with an absolute purpose. It was hard not to like him, unless you were an opposing coach like Osborne or Switzer. There was no denying that Mac was a true leader.
Those times in the 90’s with CU’s national championship runs was the defining mark for the future in Boulder. Everyone wanted to come play for Coach Mac and recruits were coming from unlikely places. It was a great time to be a fan, especially knowing every Saturday usually meant a CU victory. I still remember where I was for the “fifth down play” and “Miracle at Michigan”. And the way Kordell Stewart would run for a touchdown and run up on the blacktop at the south end of the stadium was an art form.
I lived for the last game of the season against Nebraska. There was nothing worse than seeing the combination of red and white on the field. I loathed everything about the so-called “Blackshirts” and the town named after our 16th president. What I despised even more than anything was Tom Osborne himself. He was so damn good as a coach and carried himself with an arrogant swagger that was sickening. Beyond my hatred for Nebraska, I respected Osborne’s contributions to the game of football. Even though, he disrespected CU and the Big 8 conference by voting against them for the 1990 national championship. That’s right, we didn’t forget.
Even with McCartney leaving and Rick Neuheisel’s lackluster years of the “fly by night circus” act that started a shift with the program, the interest was still strong. I saw a great coach in Gary Barnett lift a program up once again. The score of 62-36 will never be forgotten, neither will the Big 12 Championship that followed.
The hard times felt long but passed and led into a new chapter with Coach MacIntyre. He often reminds me of McCartney with the ‘Field of Dreams’ mentality of building a program with next to nothing. Both are unique and will be viewed as influential to CU’s history. What I thought of as a sports was actually the foundation that evolved into my career today. And it all started from watching CU football.
Want to tell us your own story of why you became a CU fan? Write a FanPost and you could win $500!
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