I moved to Denver during the height of the Tim Tebow craze. And although I wasn’t a particular fan of Tebow or the Broncos or even football, I appreciated the blue and orange filled city. I loved the bars packed with enthusiastic fans and I hid smiles when my high school students would strike dramatic Tim-Tebow-on-one-knee poses when asked to do arduous tasks like write complete sentences.

I’ve missed sports. I’ve missed the way a city comes together during a playoff series. I took the Seahawks, Mariners, and SuperSonics for granted when I lived in Seattle. I didn’t even know that I’d found comfort in being part of a sea of blue and green clad people until I moved away.

Gambling being what it is in Vegas, no professional sports teams call the city home. Nevada residents have to cheer on L.A. teams if they have no other allegiances. Now that I’m in a decidedly un-sinful city (as long as you ignore the rampant marijuana use), I can be part of a fan base again. I can smile proudly when my students ask “miss, did you see the game last night?”

Although not a huge basketball fan, I found myself quite enjoying the Denver Nuggets a few months ago at the Pepsi Center. My basketball night involved parking by the capitol to avoid paying, taking the free 16th street mall ride up to the bars at LoDo, doing some drinking, and the finally picking up cheap scalper tickets sometime after the game started. Fun stuff. If you want to see the 2011-2012 Nuggets, you’d better hurry. They are working game-by-game to avoid elimination.

But all winter long, baseball was what I’d been waiting for. I’d been wanting to move to Denver even since watching Carlos Gonzalez hit for the cycle with a walk off home run a couple years ago. That 2010 game I’d seen was dubbed one of the most exiting major league game of the year, so I was afraid that my return to Coors Field would be anti-climatic.

Not so.

I’ve been to two game so far this year, both were great wins for the Colorado Rockies. The April 27th game I witnessed with my mom included an 11 run inning (for the Rockies), a grand slam (for the Rockies), six errors (for the Mets), AND a cycle (for the Mets). Most baseball fans are lucky to see one cycle in their lifetime. I’ve seen TWO in Denver. I think it’s a sign that this city is exactly where I need to be.

Next week my Seattle Mariners will be playing the Rockies in the Mile High City, and although I’ve decided to raise my daughter as a Rockies fan (she doesn’t have a name or a home yet, but I’ve got the important things figured out!), there is no way I can root against my Mariners. I’m excited to wear my blue and teal for the series, but I’ll be glad to bust out my newly acquired purple Dexter Fowler shirt for the rest of the season.

Parking around Coors Field is between $5 and $20. For a great slice of pizza before the game, bead to  the Wazee Supper Club on 15th and Wazee. Cheap seats start at $4, but for a view of the Rockies (the mountains, not the players), sit up high on the 1st base side.

Two summers ago I drove from Las Vegas to Albuquerque to Denver. It was around Father’s Day, so my parents flew in to the Mile High City to spend a few days with me. This was extra cool because they paid for a downtown hotel room. I was already really liking Colorado. The drive up from New Mexico was all red and blue and pretty. I ran a race in Evergreen, this cute town in the mountains. White water rafting in Cañon City was a bit scary, but (like all scary things are) very fun. Rocky Mountain National Park of course had great hiking. I didn’t even notice any altitude changes.

But Denver! Or my goodness, Denver was amazing. I usually connect more with small towns than big cities when I travel, but Denver was different. Colorado’s capital had exactly what I like in a downtown area – tons of great restaurants, a main thoroughfare set aside just for pedestrians, painted pianos set up randomly, a system of bike rentals that made navigating the town easy, a revitalized Lower Downtown area (LoDo) which was beyond adorable (in a rugged, outdoorsy sort of way), and the Platte River was brimming with families outside playing and picnicking. Everyone I met was into running, hiking, camping, skiing, and other things that I like. So of course I loved Denver immediately. But I wasn’t thinking about moving here. Not yet.

Then we went to a Rockies game. I’d bought my parents tickets (good tickets) to a Cubs vs. Rockies game. Being from Seattle, we are American League fans, but decided to root for the Rockies. It was a good decision.

Carlos Gonzalez’s first at-bat was a line drive that landed him on 3rd base. I filled in three-fourths of the diamond on my scorecard and snuck a hopeful look at Dad, who was doing the same thing on his scorecard. He gave me a warning look to keep my mouth shut. Verbalizing what I was thinking would be bad luck.

For all you non-baseball fans, I was thinking about the cycle. A cycle is when a batter gets a single, double, triple, and home run all in the same game. It happens very rarely. I’m not positive, but I think the Seattle Mariners (as a team) have had three players hit for the cycle in the 20+ years that I’ve been a fan. I’d never seen one in person.

Of all the four required hits, the triple is usually the hardest for a player to secure. This is why I’d given Dad a sidelong glance after that first triple. 

I’m unwilling to find my scorecard for fact checking purposes, but I remember that the game was an exciting one. It was back and fourth the whole night, with the Cubs pulling ahead and then the Rockies fighting back. Meanwhile, Carlos was busily getting his single and his double. At this point, cautious whispers throughout the stadium began quietly verbalizing what I’d been thinking six innings ago. By the ninth inning the game was tied (as it had been a few times previously). I don’t remember if it was the bottom of the ninth or the bottom of the tenth, but Carlos came up to bat. All he needed was a homerun to win the game and complete the cycle.

The stadium was screaming, but I felt doubt creep in. There was no way he was going to get a good pitch. That Cubbies pitcher had to know that Carlos would be trigger happy…ready to swing at anything.

He got his pitch.

Carlos slammed a walk off homerun and completed the cycle at Coors Field that night. In the midst of screaming, jumping up and down, texting this guy who’d been watching the game at home with me, doing more screaming, filling in a homerun on my scorecard, and jumping up and down some more, I decided that I needed to move to Denver. It was a sign.

So I went home and immediately applied for my Colorado Teaching License. And now here I am. I can’t wait for baseball season to start.