AURORA, Colo. — Every football Sunday, Loisa Van Schoick opens up her "Broncos basement" to family and friends to watch the Denver Broncos in a longtime tradition that has become a part of her Hispanic heritage.
She sits in the same spot every week – because “if I sit someplace else, they lose,” she said – and everyone who comes to her home gets a traditional Mexican meal. Loisa still makes her own tortillas.
"I wonder why I make good Mexican food. I'm certainly not a Mexican," she said with a smile.
Everyone who comes on football Sunday pays Loisa – in respect.
"They call me Abuelita Loisa," she said. "Most of them call me Grandma, well, you figure I'm 85 years old. What else can they call me?"
They can call her a fan of the Denver Broncos since 1960, the year the team was created. Her basement – painted in orange and blue – is full of hundreds of Broncos collectibles dating back decades: tickets, newspaper clippings, jerseys, posters, figurines and knickknacks, decals, framed photos and other team merchandise. She has it all, and she said she hasn’t had to buy any of it. Everything was gifted to her.
PHOTOS: The Broncos Basement of Abuelita Loisa
But, Loisa said, more important than the memorabilia are the memories. She sits next to friends she made in the 1960s and ‘70s.
"Marilyn? We've been friends for 52 years," she said. "All four of us work for the Denver Public Schools."
Her family is there, too, like two of her sons, Richard and Bobby.
"I've been a Broncos fan since 1963," Bobby Swanson said. "I don't know about the family, but to me they're everything. It's the longest relationship I've ever had with anybody other than my mother."
> Watch the extended interview with Loisa Van Schoick below, as she gives a tour of her basement:
Bobby painted the basement and helped Loisa with her collectibles. It is part of who they are, Loisa said. Cheering on the Broncos for 62 years has become a part of her heritage.
"The Broncos have brought my family together," Loisa said. "It made us closer."
"This has definitely brought us way closer together, way closer together,” he said. “It's all something that we enjoy. And that's what (the Broncos) are to us. They are an extension of our family."
Abuelita Loisa said that being there for the Broncos also means being there for one another.
"Say hey, I have a problem and they're here for me, which without this, we wouldn't have had," Loisa said. "That's the reason I am a Bronco fan."
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Sports