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Manning has enraptured the rapidly growing ranks of the formerly young in places far beyond the valley of the South Platte River.

I hardly understand what this sentence means in this context; "enraptured the...ranks of" what?

Wherever the guile and lore of age fights its valiant, doomed battle against encroaching youth, the Manning banner flies rampantly.

Fights what? Is "flies" a verb here or "banner"?

Can anyone provide a syntax analysis of these two sentences?

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These sentences assume that you are aware that "Manning" (that is, Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos) is relatively old as professional football players go, and that he has led the Denver Broncos to the Superbowl this year.

So, sentence 1 says that people who are "formerly young", which is to say that they consider themselves to be at an age where "I'm not old per se, I'm just too old to be good at the sport of my choice anymore" are pleased and excited by Manning's success, whether those people are native to Denver or not (the South Platte River is a river in Colorado, near Denver).

Sentence 2 is very similar, speaking again of Manning's relatively advanced age as fighting a "valiant, doomed battle" by using "guile and lore" to try and stay ahead of the up-and-coming younger players, and saying that everyone who is involved in a similar competition against rising youngsters will be cheering for Manning and his team ("flying his banner", showing their support for his side).

I can't give you a detailed analysis of the sentence structure, but flies is a verb here; a banner is a type of flag, and "flying a flag" = raising it on a flagpole.

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  • Also, metaphorically, flying a banner or flag means "being supportive of in a public or overt sense" or simply "standing for" (which is itself idiomatic).
    – jbeldock
    Jan 27, 2014 at 4:25

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