Dick Maynard Column December 03, 2008

It was a loss only on the scoreboard

Hangin’ with the Blakester. My eldest grandson — he’s 11 — and I have been taking in ballgames since he was 2.

Back then, he was living in Las Vegas where our first ballgames together were spectating the local minor leaguers. 

Then he moved to Seattle and the Mariners where, even with the incredibly talented Ichiro patrolling the outfield, the most exciting spectacle was watching the roof close over our head to avoid a Puget Sound soaking.

For the past four years Blake’s been a front ranger, allowing us to share bleacher time from Folsom to Little League parks, Coors to flag football and soccer fields. On a recent Sunday, he and I headed for Invesco and an ill-fated Bronco/Raider battle.

No matter how disappointing the outcome, from World Series losses to coming out on the short end against Oakland’s “Evil Empire,” we’ve shared some real heartbreakers. It’s still a unique-to-Grandpa joy watching on the field action while hearing about the world from a younger man’s perspective. The boy loves to talk.  Most in our family claim his ever-constant monologues are genetic, something inherited from his Grandpa.

“You know Grandpa,” he offered, as we walked from downtown to the stadium, “I think something special is going to happen today. Even without Champ Bailey.” His favorite Bronco was still recovering from an injury.

Then, per usual, his conversational tack turned on a dime.  “Grandpa” he remarked pulling his turtleneck over his nose, “Did you know second hand smoke is as bad for you as smoking? Why, the stuff in tobacco is the same thing you’ll find in rat poison, frog killers and toilet bowl cleaner.”  I acknowledged that scientific fact had passed me by. 

Evidentially, the same was true of the two smokers walking just ahead.  They stopped and sent an intense “evil eye” our direction while allowing us to pass.  I shrugged and kept moving.

The conversation turned again. “Who’s the better quarterback, Peyton or Eli Manning?” With Blake, all verbal thoughts begin with a question, not that he expects an answer other than his own.

“It’s Peyton,” he explained.  “But he was gypped as Super Bowl MVP.  Peyton’s prize was some run-of-the-mill SUV.  Eli won a Cadillac SPN with 23-inch rims. I think Peyton should have gotten a Lamborghini.”  As with most middle-school boys, Blake is big-time into cars.

Passing Pepsi Center prompted another conversational turn. “Grandpa, did you know the Nuggets and Av’s owner has a condo right in Pepsi Center? ”

I offered, “Bet it has great views.”

“Actually,” he replied, “The best thing about living there is you get to play basketball whenever you want.”

Inside Invesco the one way Q & A continued. “Grandpa, of the ring of fame Broncos, who’s the best player besides
John Elway?” I offered Floyd Little. “My Dad says it was Steve Atwater.” Then came a pause. He turned and with a wide-eyed look asked, “You actually saw Floyd Little?” The two guys behind us laughed out loud. One would think he’d just exclaimed, “You voted for Lincoln!”

Midway through the third quarter Blake headed for the hot chocolate counter. The two guys behind remarked,

“That’s quite a grandson. We should all be so lucky.”

“It’s too bad we’re playing poorly.” I told them. “He was convinced something special would happen today.”

Then the thought occurred: Forget the score; for those lucky enough to be a grandpa, Blake was right on the money.


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