May 012008
 
Authors: Joseph Haynie

No one knew thin air would mean thin talent.

Across the state, sports fans are shaking their heads at the poor performances presented by Colorado’s sports teams in the last week.

From the Nuggets’ getting unsurprisingly swept in four games to the Avs’ second round implosion, one has to wonder what happened to our beloved sports franchises. Even the Rockies, who just a few short months ago were the pride of Colorado, don’t even resemble the near-league champions they were back in October, though the season is not even a quarter of the way through.

Given the sad state of these teams, the upcoming Broncos season is starting to look better and better each day.

I won’t try to make the argument that Denver is “Title-town.” It never has been.

Compared to other American sports cities, Denver is rather pitiful – four championships in 12 years.

Boston, with the dominance of the Celtics of yesteryear, the Patriots football dynasty and recently, the Red Sox, has more titles than they know what to do with. Even St. Louis, a city similar in size and demographic to Denver, has not only had more championships in the last 20 years, but also has at least had something to cheer on lately.

The basket case that is the Nuggets organization has problems that only numerous transactions will be able to remedy. Bloated salaries and selfish, flashy players are holding this team back from being a contender. Stan Kroenke, the team’s owner, needs to find the reset button on his failure or just pull the plug altogether.

By dumping some of the exorbitant salaries on someone else and finding a willing taker to deal with Carmelo Anthony’s “maturation process,” the Nuggets would find themselves in a much better situation. They might even manage to win more than one game in the playoffs, something they haven’t done since 1994.

The Avs – it pains me to say – are in desperate need of rebuilding.

This season was supposed to be one of promise, especially with the signing of two all-star free agents, namely Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan. A fiery start out of the gate was quickly extinguished by numerous and simultaneous injuries to key players. As a result, the team was forced to call on a number of its promising prospects to lead the team – this has been especially evident in the playoffs, where 11 of the 20 players have received their first postseason experience.

Although this will ultimately be good for the future, it still shows a failure on the part of the team to live up to expectations. With an inevitable loss to those despised Detroit Red Wings, the Avs will have to address some key issues in the off-season – namely balancing youth with veteran experience.

With a crumbling economy, high gas prices and a war on the other side of the world, I’m sure that there are more important things to be concerned about than the success of the Denver sports market. Many of you may argue that professional sports are asinine and that the athletes are outrageously overpaid.

This may be the case, but it is not a collective representation of the industry as a whole. Professional sports, like movies and music, are a form of entertainment.

To argue that sports are asinine because of high salaries and stupid off-the-field antics – think Carmelo and his recent DUI – is to say the same about the movie and music industry. Look no further than Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears and Tom Cruise if you don’t agree with me.

Like movies, sports provide an escape from life’s problems. It provides a few hours of disconnect from the typical turmoil of current world events.

If anything, I’m upset that the escape provided by the Nuggets and the Avs won’t last a little longer than it already has.

Joseph Haynie is a senior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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