It was the greatest sports moment I had ever seen live, so what was with all the dread I felt? It was the night of October 15, 2007, and I was driving from Denver back to Colorado Springs. I went to Game 4 of the National League Championship Series with a few friends of mine. Each of us, not too long before that drive home, was flying high. We just watched the Rockies win the dang pennant! But I had a sinking feeling.
Not 40 minutes before, I was hugging strangers screaming “we’re going to the World Series!” (“The World Series is coming to us!” one person returned). My throat got scratchy watching the on-field celebrations, cheering Clint Hurdle’s expression of confidence in his club (“These guys know what they’re doing”). The raising of the banner in the left-field concourse was anticlimactic, but it was countered by the overwhelming feeling of community outside of Coors Field. Throngs of people, many carrying brooms, vocalized collective joy out on Blake Street.
Re-finding my friends was like that too. We were four, but we didn’t sit together. With tickets scarce, we could only manage to get two tickets in one section and two more in another. As we came back together, we exchanged breathless and pointless questions. “Did you see Holliday’s home run!?” “I have to tell you about Eric Byrnes eating dirt and Todd Helton being the best!” As if we spent the last few hours flipping through magazines are watching the baseball game in front of us when time permitted. We joined the crowd and marched back to the car, ready to head south.
Maybe it was the drive. We couldn’t keep up the enthusiasm the whole drive back to Colorado Springs on I-25. Game 3 between Cleveland and Boston was still on, so we listened to that. Cleveland’s win re-energized the car a bit. But that’s when the first dark thought entered my mind. “Great, Cleveland’s up 2-1. Much better to face them than Boston. But what if Boston comes back? What if the series goes long? What then? Best to banish the thought. We’ll see whoever in the Series.”
At some point, probably between Larkspur and Monument, that feeling started to wear off as well. Then my thoughts started to expand. “The Rockies have to win the World Series,” I thought. “Otherwise, this whole amazing stretch—15 of 16, Game 163, steamrolling the Phillies and Diamondbacks—will be diminished, if not forgotten.” I didn’t just want the Rockies to win because I love them, I wanted them to win so that everything that happened in September and October would have that little extra stamp of historical authority.
Reality turned out to be worse than those first dreadful thoughts; however, the memories of everything that happened leading up to that car ride home are as resilient as ever. And the one could not have existed without the other.