What are some interesting notes about your personal life that you care to share?
My name is Rudy Espino and I believe I am the senior-most contributor at MWCConnection. I am a child of the 60s, grew up in the 70s, and jokingly say I crashed and burned in the 80s. I grew up in the Central Valley of California, graduated from the University of the Pacific in 1981, left California in 1994 for a business opportunity in Seattle, WA, then was transferred to Boise, ID, in 1998 and have lived in the Boise area ever since.
I have always loved sports and both sides of my family always played whatever game was in season at family gatherings. It was always competitive, especially on my mother’s side. Both of my parents came from large families, so I had many uncles/cousins that joined in to play. My love of sports carried over to watching sports on TV and being closer to the Bay Area, my teams growing up were the San Francisco teams of the 60s (Giants, Forty-Niners, and Warriors). Some of my greatest memories are those sitting under our backyard oak tree in the summer shade, listening to the Giants games on my radio and hearing the exploits of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Juan Marichal.
I carried that love and played team sports growing up and into high school. I became not just a player but a student of the game and how each player had to do their job to accomplish the team goal. I still watch sports in that manner.
When I moved to Seattle, I became a fan of the local teams (Seahawks, Mariners, and Sonics). I was there in 1995 when the Mariners made the playoffs for the first time. I went to quite a few games down that stretch in the Kingdome and saw firsthand the greatness of Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Randy Johnson, to name a few. I also attended Seahawks and Sonics games during that same time, saw Michael Jordan play in person, and still remember standing for the whole game with a couple of buddies at Game 7 when the Sonics beat the Jazz to go to the 1995 NBA Finals and play Jordan’s Bulls. I am still a rabid Seahawks and Mariners fan and hope that the NBA puts a team back in Seattle.
When I moved to Idaho in 1998, I heard about Boise State, and I watched their games, but it wasn’t until 2001 that I became a fan. It was when the Broncos (my high school mascot was the Broncos, too, so there is some synergy) went down to my old stomping grounds and beat the then #8 Fresno State that I first saw the blue-collar ethic and was hooked. I became a big Bronco fan, go to almost all home games now and follow pretty much all Bronco sports and attend when I can.
There are many more things I could say because when you’re old, you gather a lot more memories, but will stop here for the sake of time.
Why do you like writing?
I have always liked writing and believe it is in danger of becoming a lost art. I didn’t have smartphones, texting, social media, etc., growing up, so both the written and spoken word were the only ways to communicate. Think about it; I didn’t have things like video games, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, and the like, to occupy my time so one would have to be creative not to get bored. Heck, there were only three TV stations available at that time! So MWCConnection gives me an outlet to combine two of my great loves, sports and writing! I also get a chance to infuse a bit of humor (some say sarcasm) in my articles, so there’s that, too.
Why do you follow college sports?
I mentioned how I became a Bronco fan earlier, but going back to my own college days at UOP, there is something about school pride that takes over you. I also became friends and had classes with players in the various sports whom I wanted to encourage by being present at their games. I played intramurals in college but not being good enough to compete at the college level never deterred my rooting interest for my guys. And even though I am not a Boise State alum, I feel that same school pride for the Broncos from being here for almost 25 years. School pride runs deep if you let it.
What led to writing for MWCConnection?
I live on Twitter and started following those that tweeted on or about the Broncos, specifically, Mike Wittmann and Jeremy Rodriguez. I then started interacting with them on Twitter and developed a dialogue with them. A few years ago, I saw that Mike was coming to a Bronco game, so I made it a point to try and meet him in person. Always good to put a human face to a Twitter handle, I say. During halftime, I went over to where Mike was sitting and introduced myself and talked to him for a few. I hope one day to do the same with Jeremy.
About a year ago, Mike reached out to me and asked if I would consider contributing a couple days a week. After finding out what that took, I accepted the offer and have happily tried to create interaction between MWCConnection and fans around the Mountain West. Although I am a Bronco supporter, I try to keep the homerism in check and reserve my homer thoughts and comments to Twitter.
What do you like about writing for MWCConnection?
Mike really gives me flexibility on what to put in an article, and I try to put stuff in from a fan standpoint and what would interest me. This is a conference forum, and I try to include items from all schools in the conference and from all sports and not just the two big sports, football and basketball. Fortunately, the MWC always seems to have things happening and I try to make sure all MW fans are kept in the loop on what is going on with their favorite schools. Sports and writing, who wouldn’t love that?