Are you thinking of heading to the USA to learn English here in Denver? If so, perhaps you should think about packing some blue and orange and get ready to cheer on the Denver Broncos, Colorado’s professional American football team.
The New York Giants’ Superbowl victory in early February may be well behind us and the quarterbacks and wide receivers are now nursing their hamstrings and their bank accounts in the offseason. But it won’t be long before the new season starts up again in late summer and you might well want to time your stay in Denver to coincide with the matches that take place involving Denver’s favorite professional sports team. The season runs from late August to February.
The idea of football not involving a round ball and being a sport played all over the world may sound completely foreign to you visiting students. Don’t worry. Many of the students who have passed through the doors of 915 South Colorado Boulevard have had little knowledge of the sport and the Broncos before they came here. By the time they left Denver, however, many of them seemed to be more than a little familiar with the happenings of the Mile High City’s number one supported team and had turned into big fans themselves.
Chilean student Nicolas Pandolffo Gomez, who has just returned to his native country after six months at BridgeEnglish Denver, said he got into the sport largely as a result of his host family who were big Broncos fans.
“I stayed with a host family in Denver and my host father watched all the Broncos games,” Nicolas said. “He explained to me some rules and things related to football. I became a Broncos fan because of my host father and because of Tim Tebow. This guy does awesome plays.” Tim Tebow is the much publicized quarterback for the Broncos, as famous for his plays on the field as his opinions off it. Unfortunately for him, he was traded to the New York Jets in late March as the Broncos signed star quarterback Peyton Manning from the Indianapolis Colts.
Nicolas, who follows soccer in Chile through supporting Universidad de Chile and would often come to class dressed in various soccer jerseys, never managed to get to a live Broncos game but vowed to do so if he comes back to Denver.
“I went to some bars and clubs with friends and I noticed that there are always people talking about football,” he said. “Tebow is really popular in Denver, so to know about him and football was very useful to me when I talked with native American speakers. Now I understand better why the Superbowl is so important and fun for Americans.”
Swiss student Philipe Muller said he stayed up until 1am in his home country just to watch the start of the Superbowl, such is his affection for the sport he enjoyed during his time in Denver. He’s actually on a mission to educate his Swiss friends about the sport.
“Now I can convince my friends that football is a good sport to watch if you know the rules and some of the important positions such as quarterback, running back, and wide receiver,” Philipe said. “Ever since I was in Denver, I liked the Broncos and I love American football. We were watching a game by the second week of being in Denver.”
Philipe even says he likes the sport more than soccer and will watch as many NFL games as possible next season, including, of course, the Broncos. Nicolas said he hopes the sport is played one day in Chile.
Even so, it’s always difficult to ditch what you know well and the sport won’t be taking the place of soccer completely in Nicolas’ affections. Fans of the pigskin can rest assured, however, that the Broncos have a place in several hearts across parts of the globe where American football is barely known.
“I think that I really like football because it is a very complex and strategic game,” Nicolas said. “I really like football but I prefer to watch or to play soccer rather than watch or play football. But I will continue to watch out for the results of the games because I really am a Broncos fan.”