What Loyalty Looks Like

This morning was a normal Saturday morning for me. Wake up, shower, throw on my button up shirt and sports jacket, grab a breakfast burrito and coffee, head to Folsom Field to pick up my press pass for the CU Buffs Football game. Wander up to the press box, grab a delicious blueberry muffin, followed by a brief stop down to the field where I stand in the end zone, watching warmups, looking for anything notable to use later on. Well, that used to be a normal Saturday morning for me, anyway…a decade ago.

At the time I was a student at the University of Colorado, working for KVCU, the student radio station. I had originally volunteered at the station in hopes of becoming a DJ and hosting my own specialty show, but found that volunteering with the sports radio show to be a quicker route to getting behind a soundboard and eventually on air. As an added perk, I got to be a producer for weekly broadcasts of the football games.

Andrew J. Coate Corey White

Admittedly, football has never been my number one sport of passion, but college football games are an experience like none other. There is a buzz, an excitement in the air, a frantic energy that you simply don’t get in professional sports. I witnessed this secondhand, a tacit part of it from a press box high above the stadium. I looked down on the often packed student section, clad in black and gold, enjoying the ebb and flow of their energy as they game progressed.

Go Buffs

Andrew Detch

Meanwhile, a pair of fellow CU students named Andrew Detch and Brian Hickey spent their Saturday mornings in a similar environment, yet in quite a different manner.

Brian Hickey

Their mornings involved all that buzz, excitement and frantic energy I referenced. They were not mere observers like me, they were participants. They were creators of it. Drew never left his house without Buffs colors and his cowboy hat glued to his head. Hickey often painted up. They analyzed the game in greater depth that many of the press writers I shared my Saturdays with. They weren’t just CU Buffs fans, they obsessed over CU football. They bled black and gold. They always showed up and showed up loud.

I left the University of Colorado before graduating, and I missed some of the football program’s darkest days. But as tough as those years were to watch, Drew and Hickey still watched. They still cheered. They still obsessed. They still showed up.

The wider world sometimes looks at this unflinching focus on a football team as silly. It’s just a game right? There are more important things to put your energy towards, right? Maybe, but the narrative here isn’t about a pair of sports nuts, it’s about loyalty.

I’ve been fortunate to witness this loyalty firsthand and to realize that it’s not situational. These are loyal men. They have been loyal to me as friends. They seen me up and down, lifted me up and brought me back down when necessary. They’ve stood by me. Last Saturday they literally stood by me as my groomsmen along with two other loyal men - Corey Gage and Eric Thompson. The type of loyalty these two display is rarely seen. It’s even more rarely appreciated or rewarded.

Best Men.

This morning, I had the opportunity to reward them - to give them the opportunity to literally stand by those they had long stood by figuratively. This morning they joined me at Folsom Field. They walked the press box, they stood on the field. The University of Colorado should be honored to have such men on their side, and I know they are, considering their willingness to help me create this experience (thanks Dave Plati and the Sports Information Office for your generosity).

Hickey and Drew on the Field

I’m thankful and humbled by the chance to revisit steps of my past, but I’m more thankful and humbled to have done so with these two men by my side. Again, tacitly watching their excitement, their buzz and their frantic energy, only this time from a tad bit closer proximity.

Thanks for your loyalty Drew and Hickey. Jerks.

Oh, and Go Buffs.