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Thank Heaven for Little Elway Fans

January 25, 1998|T.J. SIMERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — I know this pathetic, pitiful little girl, raised in Denver and dressed all in orange and blue, pompoms in her hand, a homemade Bronco logo stitched across the front of her shirt.

A real loser.

A little girl so excited about John Elway, her first sports idol, treasuring his signature in her Snoopy autograph book, thrilled at the prospect of the Broncos winning Super Bowl XXI, and then Super Bowl XXII, and one more time in Super Bowl XXIV, all giddy and giggling before each one, then being left in tears.

A little girl, who moved to San Diego, adopting the Chargers as her heroes, taking a liking to their quarterback, Billy Joe Tolliver, who couldn't hit the Pacific Ocean if allowed to walk to the end of the Crystal Pier.

Bobby Beathard sends Tolliver packing, because at that time he was still the smartest man in the NFL, and writes an apologetic note to the little girl, the only known Billy Joe Tolliver fan in San Diego, and still she's crushed.

The little girl hangs tough, still rooting for everyone in the Charger organization but Bobby Beathard, and the team makes a pact with the devil or bribes NFL officials but somehow gets to Super Bowl XXIX, and she has lightning bolts painted on her cheeks, which later dribble down her neck as the tears come with defeat.

She gets bigger, goes to Notre Dame to be educated and party and selects Ron Powlus as her favorite player, fired up every Friday night for the Irish pep rallies, believing every word Lou Holtz has to say and then standing in the rain, a dripping, pathetic, pitiful sight every Saturday, Powlus proving to be a bust, a bum, maybe even worse than Billy Joe Tolliver.

She is so consistent, taking an interest in the Denver Nuggets, because the basketball team has hired Bill Hanzlik as coach, and she grew up knowing Hanzlik, a friend of the family, and like her, he attended Notre Dame.

Hanzlik is now 3-38 as a head coach.

She becomes a senior at Notre Dame and a young man catches her fancy in accounting class when she should have been listening to the professor, and as you have already guessed, Scott Cengia is the symbol of all that is crummy in sports--a Notre Dame kicker.

Twenty-one now, and old enough to be on her own, she has come full circle, dressed in orange and blue today, a Bronco sweatshirt, with undying faith once more in John Elway, who is on the brink of making the city of Denver the all-time loser in Super Bowls--worse than Minnesota, worse than Buffalo and the butt of everyone's jokes.

Can't wait to see who my daughter marries.

Probably a Cheesehead.

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