For many years now the Boise State Broncos have been an amazing phenomenon in college football. It has been a hard fought battle of many amazing victories and a few agonizing defeats, but nonetheless, it has been quite spectacular. However, one of the most disturbing trends that I have noticed the last few years is the increased whining by the Bronco faithful.
Look, I understand that the system is not fair. I understand that certain commentators and writers don't give Boise State the attention or respect they deserve. I get all the arguments. All I am saying is—so what!
Last year the whining reached a fevered pitch. Arguments, analysis, polls, opinions, they all fed the monster of gripe that the Boise State fans seemed to ride with reckless abandon. Bronco fans found themselves in the position of constantly having to defend their team and denounce the system. In turn, a disturbing trend, at least in my opinion, found its way into Bronco nation.
Now, before I continue let me explain something. I have no problem with controversy in college football. In fact, I think it is part of the passion and fuel that feeds the fire. However, when that becomes something ugly I think we need to do some soul searching to find out what is important.
Last year it seemed, to me anyway, that instead of focusing on all the excitement and amazing rise of Boise State football, fans of the Broncos found themselves in a constant situation focusing on the negative aspects surrounding the game. Namely, the BCS System and the knock on Boise State's schedule. This lead to loud cries of "Unfair," and other things I won't say.
I believe whole heartily that many fans of the Broncos no longer found themselves enjoying the season, but rather enduring it. It created an atmosphere of negativity among Bronco nation that I personally had never seen before.
It was amazing to see the position that most Bronco fans found themselves in. Defending, whining, griping, complaining, arguing and the list goes on and on. This also lead to the very disturbing trend of rooting so passionately for others to lose rather than for the Broncos to win. Victory almost seemed to come second for Boise State fans. They became obsessed with teams ahead of them losing and their own team "not losing" rather than winning.
There was no greater example of this than the day it all came crashing down. Most Bronco fans know it as "Black Friday." Friday November 26, 2010 the Boise State Broncos versus the Nevada Wolfpack. It is a day that most BSU fans choose not to remember. But, I think it is important to remember that day. The day that the hopes and dreams of the Bronco players, coaches and fans came crashing down on the call of "No Good."
When Kyle Brotzman missed that field goal—we all missed it. Proof of that came in the hours after the game. Many Bronco fans began to bombard this young man, who had played so well for Boise State over the years, with hate mail and even death threats. Something ugly had reared its head.
Earlier that same day I noticed how many fans of BSU were watching the games of the teams ranked ahead of them. Oregon and Auburn both had tough tests that day. Arizona lead Oregon at halftime. Boise State fans celebrated wildly.
However, the final score was Oregon 48, Arizona 29, and you could feel the tension in the air. Then Auburn versus Alabama game was even worse. Alabama was up on Auburn 24-7 at half, make note of that, and so many of the Bronco fans were calling the game as if it were over. They were celebrating every time Auburn made the smallest error.
Well, we all know how this game turned out as well. Auburn mounted a comeback and won the game 28 to 27, and you could feel the air leave the Bronco balloon.
Later in the night when Boise State lead the Wolfpack at half time by that same familiar 24 to 7 score, Bronco fans were still griping about Cam Newton. Auburn got so lucky, they thought. Looking back, I wonder if that 24-7 lead at half for the Broncos wasn't a message. Maybe a lesson or parable for the Bronco faithful to learn by. Whatever the case, we know how it ended.
Now I am proud to say that the day after that horrible debacle in Reno, Bronco fans woke up with some clarity. Many rushed to the aid of the broken hearted kicker. Thousands piled on his Facebook account with encouragement and a page was even started to support him. The season continued on and finished with a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl over the Utah Utes. In previous years this would have been seen as a wonderful accomplishment, but somehow it didn't have the feeling it should have.
So what is my point? Simply this—enjoy the game.
Do not let the talking heads and overpaid analysts get to you Bronco nation. You are better than that. Do not stoop to the level of constantly griping and whining about things you can't control. Root for your Broncos to win. Do not root for them just to "not lose," and whatever you do don't make it your focus to tear down other teams just to make the Broncos look better. Since when in life does that ever make the one doing the tearing down look better?
Enjoy this season, embrace it. Show the world why this program, this city, and this state are so special. You can't do anything about the schedule, the league you are in, or who likes or dislikes you. But, what you can do is embrace what Boise State football is all about. Fierce independence, hard work, underestimation, respectful play, boldness, pride, the blue collar way and hard nosed football.
I once heard the advice to never whine, but instead shine. It's a bit cheesy, but powerful if you think about it. I think this advice should be embraced by BSU fans.
Keep being who you are at your core. Remember the old saying; "The cream always rises to the top." No matter what is said to you or about you, be who you are. Rise up Bronco nation and keep rising. Embrace where Bronco football has come from, where it is now and expect the rise to continue into the future.
Rise up Bronco nation. Don't whine—shine!