Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reflections on Living in Denver

On Saturday for my Denver Living class I had to visit the Colorado History Museum and see the Denver 150 exhibit. It was quite an experience riding the bus downtown and then getting off and going to the museum. At the museum I learned all about Denver’s last 150 years, as this year is now their 151st year as a city. I learned all about Denver – everything from Molly Brown, who was a Titanic survivor, to the past mayors of the town, to the advanced city transportation system Denver had with the horse railway system, then street cars, and now the light rail, and I learned about how at one point there were more horses in the city of Denver then there were people. It was really interesting to learn about people that came out here looking for gold and managed to strike it rich in another industry, like Charles Gates and his tire company, but it made me wonder what happened to the rest of the people who did not find gold and left broke. I learned about the KKK influence here in Denver around in the mid-1920s and the airport where Frontier Airlines started and the Red Rocks concert venue. I also learned that Denver is the only city to have been given an Olympic games, but then to reject the gift from the IOC, as they did with the Winter Games in 1976. I also learned two fun facts about how Colorado is home to five of the top fifty breweries world wide and that the Winter Park ski resort is actually owned by the city of Denver. I was really interested in the Western Stock Show and it started here in Denver in 1906, and it was great to go see it a few weeks ago. Downstairs in the museum I visited exhibit about female cowboys, Native Americans, and mining in Colorado. When I was reading through the 5280 magazine about Denver I read an article about the history of Denver. It said, “Years the Ute Indians have lived in Colorado: approximately 850. Number of years since the first U.S. citizen set foot in Colorado: 194.” It just reminded me that we were not the first ones here in Denver by a long shot and it really made me proud of the relationship that AHS has with the Arapahoe Nation. It just amazed me how much history is present in this city of Denver and how each of the 79 neighborhoods has its own little unique features that make it special. It is really fun each morning to drive through each neighborhood on my way to AHS. I pass through like twelve different neighborhoods on the way to school, and as much as people that live in small towns comment on their love for the small, close knit atmosphere I think people in a big city find that in their neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a special little feature about it, whether it is the style of homes, the price, or the fact that it is situated around a park each one is special and exciting in its own way. You share the property with your neighbors and you get to know those people in your neighborhood, which is one thing I look forward to doing in the future – where ever it is I am working and living come the end of this year. This experience has given me a really good look at what the city of Denver is really about, what it was build upon, and how it has such a great history. I will continually appreciate the neighborhoods I am in as I pass them on the way to work and the ones I get to live in now and in the future.

Saturday night I also got the pleasure of going to a Colorado Mammoth game, which if you do not know is the professional lacrosse team here in Denver. Another student teacher and I were picked up and taken out to dinner and the game by two Wartburg alumni. We went to the Pepsi Center, which is the hub for all professional sports here in the city of Denver except for soccer and football, because the professional hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and arena football teams all play there. The atmosphere inside the arena was awesome and they had a rock star DJ as the announcer of the entire event. The players on the Mammoth were good and it was really fun to be entertained with a sport I had not watched a lot of before, thankfully I understood the basic premise and a majority of the rules. It was a lot like watching a combination of basketball and hockey, because these players really beat up on each other – like literally hitting each other with their sticks. It was really fun to watch and the crowd was a lot bigger than I expected it to be too. Going to this game reminded me that sometimes the most fun events are the cheaper events. Yes, it is fun to go to the professional ballet at the Denver Center for the performing arts, but at the same time I could spend a fraction of the money and go to a play at a small local theater. The same idea goes for athletics. I could pay an arm and a leg to go see the Nuggets or the Avs, or I could go to a Mammoth game or a Rapids game, the soccer team here in town. They both have their advantages, but I think the last two options are a lot more fun and cost a lot less. In the future I was inspired and I am going to look at getting tickets to the soccer team here in town and go see them instead of footing the bill for the Nuggets – plus soccer is a lot better than basketball anyway. The Mammoth game was a lot of fun and it was a pleasure to get to know two awesome alums living in Denver.