I sat on my knees. My eyes lay fixed upon the television screen which stood before me. It was the night of December 31st, 2006, and I was at a friend’s house celebrating New Year’s Eve.
Yet as everyone else partied outside and shot off fireworks, I sat watching the end of a football game. The Denver Broncos were playing against the San Francisco 49ers.
If the Broncos won the game, they would make the playoffs.
If they lost, the season would be over.
The game was in overtime and the 49ers had the ball. Joe Nedney, the 49ers kicker, was poised to score the game-winning field goal.
I hoped for a miracle: a bad snap, a kick that was wide right, or a blocked kick.
Anything. I listened to the announcer.
“The kick is up and ...”
My heart stopped.
There was no miracle for my Denver Broncos. The game was over. The season was over.
“Listen to the stunned silence of the Bronco faithful here,” said the announcer.
The room I sat in was as quiet as Mile High Stadium. My eyes were moist with tears. The season was over.
I watched the replay, numbingly turned off the TV, and then I walked outside. Dad asked me whether or not the Broncos had won, and I told him the news. He didn’t say anything; he just stood with me in empathy for a long time.
I finally spoke: “Well, I suppose if I can’t deal with a loss in sports like this, I won’t be prepared for something difficult in real life. So I had better get over it.”
That New Year’s night, I slept dreamlessly while the world partied.
I woke up the next morning around eight o’clock, and soon after went onto the Internet to see what people were saying about the upcoming Wild Card playoffs. Since Denver lost, the Kansas City Chiefs had qualified to take the final playoff spot. I mused on the headline: “Hail to the Chiefs.”
But then something else caught my attention. It was a picture of a Denver Broncos player. My eyes darted over to see what the article was about.
Darrent Williams, a cornerback, was the man in the photo.
I assumed that he had been in some sort of trouble related to New Year’s Eve partying. Perhaps he had been arrested? Yet as my eyes scanned the headline, I caught the keywords, “[S]hot and killed.”