SPORTS WATCH | A First Class Ticket to Bronco Disappointment
by Gus Jarvis
Jan 17, 2013 | 1404 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

On Sunday, when I turn on the TV to watch the AFC Championship game pitting the high-powered offense of the New England Patriots against Ray Lewis’ Ravens defense, I will undoubtedly feel some sadness and remorse.

Most of those feelings will stem from the fact that Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will not be playing in a game they seemed destined to play in. Bronco fans around the country are still reeling from the loss and are in a dismal state of shock and sadness.

For me, the orange depression goes a little deeper, for, you see, I may have had something to do with this Broncos loss.

This story starts down in the swamps of southern Georgia where my wife and I were enjoying a little rest and relaxation with our families. While the western United States was experiencing arctic temperatures going into the playoff weekend, we were sipping on ice-cold beers in above-average temperatures near the beach.

We ate shellfish. Enjoyed the scenery of a historic island off the coast. Kayaked in the marshes in search of reds and any other fish that would take our bait. Yes, life was extraordinarily pleasant, especially for early January.

As always, reality sets in when a much-needed vacation comes to a close, and we were set to fly back to Denver on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Broncos had not coordinated their Saturday playoff appearance with our travel planning, and the harsh reality soon set in that we would miss most of the game. Maybe our flights would have inflight TVs? Maybe our flights would be delayed and we could catch the game in an airport bar? But most likely, we were going to miss most of the Bronco game.

After a scary, gusty-wind landing in the drab Houston airport, I frantically used a host of iPhone apps to get the radio broadcast of the game. We had only missed five exciting minutes. From the gate, we hustled to the E concourse, where luckily there was a Fox Sports airport bar just upstairs of our gate. One open table left, we grabbed it and I sucked down three of the coldest beers I’d had in awhile. (I am not sure if the beer was that cold or if it was the mugginess of Houston that made the beers so good.)

Going into halftime with the game tied at 21, Torie and I heard our flight announced; it was time to board. With no TVs on our last flight, we were sure we’d have to wait until we landed in Denver to find out the fate of our beloved Broncos.

“Maybe we should take a later flight?” Torie asked. “Maybe this flight is full and they are asking for volunteers to take a voucher and a later flight? I’ll ask.”

Torie went to the podium and returned saying with news that the flight is perfectly booked and they need no volunteers.

“Oh, let’s just get on the flight and get home. We’ll get to watch them next week,” I said.

Grumpily we handed the gate attendant our tickets and walked down the jetway. Our moods were sour, but not for long.

“This ticket says I’m in 4F. What’s seat are you in?” I said.


“How big is this plane? Are we in first class?”

As we turned the corner after we stepped through the plane’s door, there they were. Two oversized seats. TVs. Drinks. It was a dream come true.

“How did this happen?” Torie said as we settled into our seats, cold beers on the way.

“I don’t know, and I’m not going to ask,” I said.

“The game is on channel 393. DirectTV is free in first class,” the friendly attendant told us. “Would you like some hot roasted nuts? Another beer?”

We both thought we had died and gone to heaven. The plane lifted off the ground from muggy Houston. We had large seats. Playoff football. Free beer. Jack Daniels. A hot meal was served. Did I mention the large seats? Life was good. In fact, at that moment, life couldn’t have gotten any better.

During a commercial break, I found myself pondering this wonderful turn of events Torie and I were living. How did this happen? Why us? Is something bad going to happen next? Perhaps the airlines will lose our luggage? My car won’t start in the frigid Denver temperatures. Maybe a plane crash? This was too good to be true. Did Torie and I use up all our good karma in one first class swoop?

As it turned out, we did. The Broncos lost the double overtime heartbreaker of a game. It was hard not to think, as we taxied to the gate in Denver, that had Torie and I been crammed back into coach, as we should have been, the Broncos would have won that game without a problem. Now I’m not much for superstition or even karma, but things in first class were just too good to be true at that time.

There are a thousand reasons why the Broncos lost that game. Missed field goals. Interceptions. Sitting on the ball as the clock ticked. Blown coverages. Peyton’s glove. Ray Lewis’s final year destiny. Who knows? I guess there is always next year.

If there is any wisdom to be found in this column, it is this. The next time you find yourself sitting in first class for no apparent reason, think twice about it. There is a price for everything. Nothing is free.

Next time I see a first class seat on my ticket I will certainly think twice…and it probably won’t change a thing.

Twitter: @gusgusj

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