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It’s time to just close your eyes and chuck one downfield.

by Mike Rogge

Illustration By kevinhowdeshel/

Let’s get this out of the way, EO readers. Do any of you really care about football? Coach Prime, sure, sure, but the game? I’m going to make a few assumptions here. One of them is you’re at least a little aware of the pigskin. The other is you care very little about it. That is based on the fact Deion Sanders is the most famous recent resident of your state, and he went 4–8 for the beloved Buffs. Like, you care, but not that much.

One time the author Peter Kray and I argued about boots versus sandals in these pages. I won with sandals. Today? I’m here as a guest columnist to make fun of the punch-drunk-lyrical poet in his own column, “Elwayville,” which I’ve appropriately renamed to “Manningville” after former New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning. Kray loves to tell you how Colorado used to be. I’m hoping if you take anything from this page it’s that you—yes, you—can be part of the way it’s shaped in the future. Because here’s what Eli excelled at…just f*cking chucking a football into the air, eyes closed, and hoping it all worked out. That’s a nice way to live your life sometimes.

I’m not here to advocate the huck-and-pray model of living. Lord knows a landing is as welcomed off a cliff as a wide receiver is in the endzone. But isn’t there just something to…winging it? Closing your eyes and hoping the ball falls into the hands of the right situation? I’m mixing metaphors here, but sometimes it’s nice to swing for the fences and hope it works out—like going for a run without Strava and just, ya know, running. You’ll get home eventually.

I’m going to assume—here’s another one—if you haven’t already tossed this issue in the trash for writing about football in March, many of you moved to Colorado. Do you remember why? I doubt it was a well-thought-out plan. Plans are for East Coasters, of which I used to be one and occasionally still identify as when I need an excuse for bad behavior. Winging it is for the wayward sons and daughters who heard a song one time, picked up a magazine, or watched a ski film and thought, “Maybe that state is for me.”

If Elwayville is how Colorado used to be then Manningville is advocating for how Colorado should be. Get off the internet. Start leaving your phone and smartwatches at home. Go for a bike ride. Just ride. Smoke a doobie and go see a band you’ve never seen before. You live in Colo-freaking-rado for Eli’s sake! Maybe a pickup Frisbee game in the park? Drop-in hot yoga, anyone? Adopt a dog, maybe two. Eat a burrito for every single meal. Fall in love in the moments. Drink it all in and up. Slurp it.

Drive up to Eldora without a plan and see if you end up skiing a bump run, making a new friend on the lift, or running into Jon Kraukauer on the skin track. It could happen. Go into the wild. (sorry, Jon, had to).

But first? You have to ditch the idea of Colorado in favor of the reality of Colorado. This is a place built by pioneers, some from other places, who wanted to see what lay beyond the next mountain pass. If you haven’t done it, technically, it’s a first descent for you. Those trailblazers of the ’90s—the Dave Matthews Band fans with their hacky sacks—who discovered Boulder, they had gumption. You can have gumption. You just need to stop making plans, scrolling Instagram, or trying to live some rose-colored-glasses version of the outdoors. Instead start living in the moment. You’ve heard and read it all before. “Boulder used to be better. Colorado used to be cooler.”

F that. You’re here. You’re writing the next chapter of this state. Make it a good one. No need to rewrite the past. The future is bright, so you better wear shades. Coach Prime Shades by Blenders, of course.

But what do I know? I don’t live in Boulder, and I’m not from the state. Chances are, you aren’t from here either. So why not mix it up, close your eyes, and chuck it downfield? Now is your time. You’re in the big game. It worked for Eli. He beat Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time, twice in the Super Bowl. And if that makes you mad, then I know for sure you’re not from here.

Mike Rogge is the editor of Mountain Gazette, a biannual mountain culture magazine that does not write about football. He lives in California so you can completely disregard everything he wrote here.

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