A childhood dominated by soccer saw many of my summer days spent on the sprawling grounds of Dove Valley. There, surrounded by the burnt-sienna landscape, sat acre after acre of impossibly verdant, illegally watered fields. Soccer players -- from the skilled Hispanic city dwellers to the bleached-blond suburban machines -- would turn out in droves for popular summer tournaments. Everyone fought hard for a medal; soccer was truly king. And every summer, without fail, there came a day when that determination would abruptly end. Players could no longer be bothered to show up an hour early for a match; even making it by game time became difficult. But all the coaches knew exactly where to find their errant teams: the giant bubble dome with the Denver Broncos logo on the door.
Because once the football team's training camp started, the importance of a sport played without hands lost meaning. The multi-colored jerseys that had dotted the soccer pitches instead surrounded the walls of the training field. It became football season then, and the Broncos were men among boys.
Soccer moms, prepare to check your egos once again.
The 2004 Broncos Training Camp opened this week at the Dove Valley Training Facility, 13655 Broncos Parkway in Englewood. Fans are welcome to attend the free practice sessions, which take place most days at 8:30 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. Gates open at 7:15 a.m. and 3 p.m., and players are usually available afterward for autographs and pictures. Training continues through August 20; check the schedule at www.denverbroncos.com.
Come watch your favorite gridiron heroes regain their form, because it's football season in Denver -- and there's nothing more right than that. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
We Don't Need No Steenkin' Oceans Local windsurfers make the most of what we've got SAT, 7/31
When thinking of windsurfing, one usually pictures bronzed bodies on surfboards with sails, gracefully gliding over cool ocean waves. Rarely does mention of the aquatic sport conjure images of pasty-white ski bums frolicking in mountain lakes. The organizers of Learn to Windsurf Day would like to point out that this is a mistake. "Most people picture the sport on the ocean," says John Marriott, co-owner of Larson's Ski and Sport, organizers of the free annual event. "But I'd say 90 percent of windsurfing takes place on lakes."
And what better place than the Soda Lakes, 15600 West Morrison Road in Lakewood, to allow the hopelessly landlocked people of Colorado a crack at the sport (and kiteboarding, too). Instructional clinics by half a dozen certified instructors will be held today at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a special clinic for women and girls of all abilities from 2 to 4 p.m. Demo gear will be available for use by already savvy shredders.
"It's an easy, cheap way to try out a great sport," Marriott notes. For details, call 303-423-0654. -- Adam Cayton-Holland