Boise, Idaho – my birthplace and where I spent the first four years of my life. It’s where my families from and where my parents grew up. Yet, I never had the chance to call it home or truly invest in it. My parent’s jobs’ took us away from Boise shortly after I turned four. I remember crying as we packed up and left. Of course I was just a little kid, so I may have been crying because my parents said no to stopping at McDonald’s. Who knows. Either way, next stop … Oregon.
It would have made sense for me to be a Duck fan; we lived a mere 5 minutes away from Autzen Stadium. You could nearly see it from our house. We heard the roar of the crowd on game days. Green and yellow painted the town. Duck pride was strong and well spread and I …. could care less. As a little kid I was not enamored with football or the Ducks. My life was basketball. I lived it, breathed it, and spent all my time doing it. I was a Portland Trailblazers fan and my passion for sports lied there. Just four years after moving to Oregon, my family and I had decided the dreary and wet Eugene climate was not for us. Why not move to the state with the complete opposite weather?
Phoenix, Arizona was my new home and where I’d unknowingly spend the next 14+ years of my life. I was raised in Phoenix, a city that has a population of more than 1.5 million people, a state that has a pro team for every major sport. The similarities between Boise and Phoenix are faint and the differences are apparent. Despite spending more than three quarters of my life here, I have never felt Phoenix to be my home, just where I currently reside.
After leaving Boise I continually visited once a year during the summertime until reaching high school. My knowledge of BSU was minimal, the only information I possessed: my mom attended college there and the football field was blue. With each passing year my appetite for football grew exponentially as so did my curiosity for Boise State. Every time I visited, I felt myself gravitating closer and closer to becoming a Bronco fan. It didn’t take long to realize that Boise and Boise State are one in unison. A feeling I longed for.
Phoenix didn’t provide the hometown sports feel and still doesn’t. Arizona natives are few and far between; of those natives, the ones that cherish Arizona sports are even harder to find or may not exist. It is more common to locate diehard sports fans that enjoy ridiculing the likes of the: Suns, Diamondbacks, Coyotes, Cardinals, Arizona State, or Arizona.
The onslaught of blue and orange at my arrival every summer had me hooked. Boise residents paraded around their pride and joy - Boise State – with unconditional love. Conversations began and ended with the Broncos: Did you see who we got for next year’s recruiting class? What did you think of last week’s game? What bowl do you think we’ll go to this year? I was flabbergasted that educated sports conversations existed between complete strangers. You can understand how this caught me off guard if you caught a glimpse of my typical sports conversation with a Phoenix resident: Me – Can you believe the Cardinals have 10 wins? Them – The season started? …..
Despite having a plethora of pro teams and two Pac-12 universities at my disposal, I naturally cling to the Broncos. There is no overwhelming reason for me to be a Bronco fan and every reason to favor an Arizona school, but the fan base, the hometown feel, and the little school that could mentality swayed me to bleed blue.
The context I have included above has little to do with me and is just background information to the central thesis: Boise State is special, everything about it. ‘The Blue’ is special. The Bronco fan base is special. The culture is special. All of which is undeniable at this juncture. Bronco Nation is widespread and gaining more and more supporters each year. Boise State attracts an array of fans from all over that can’t help but respect what the Broncos have been able to accomplish without the funding or resources your typical ‘power conference’ school receives.
I like many others, ranging from many states, fell in love with everything BSU embodies. The iconic blue field paints the image, but it does not tell the whole story. The behind the scenes of Boise State and its blue collar attitude is a fantastic representation of BSU’s rise to success. As other storied programs have had their major highs and low since 2000, Boise State has been a model of consistency; winning the right way. The Bronco way.
Needless to say as the Broncos prepare to take on the Wildcats; my allegiance with Boise State will stand strong. On the 31st my family and I will be decked out in orange from head to toe at the Fiesta Bowl.
What do you say Bronco Nation, let’s paint Arizona orange. My blue home intends to.