My Triumphant Woos Shall Echo Across the Appalachians

Well, it looks like all the Indianapolis Colts needed for a successful season was for old Colin to move out of town. I suppose it was the least I could do.

Now here I sit, 600 miles away, in a town where nobody can even picture giving a rip about professional football, getting asked by my coworkers if my white-and-blue number 18 jersey is for the Patriots.

The Patriots?

I'm an Indianapolis boy. I know the team came to us under shady circumstances, and I know the good people of Baltimore still hold a grudge against the circle city and against the Mayflower moving company, but c'mon.

It's been 23 years without a trip to the Superbowl. 23 long years, through times when season ticket holders couldn't give their seats away, through heartbreaking losses -- quite a few at the hands of the Patriots -- and a doubtful nation.

Did you know that my hometown has been so rarely successful in professional sports (no major titles since the 1973 Pacers) that there's actually been a conspiracy theory? People actually started to suspect that the league didn't want us to win. We're a small market, you see, compared to New York or Dallas or Seattle, and if Indianapolis goes to the championship, who really cares besides us?

I guess people care now. The number-18 Manning jersey is a number-one seller, and all the national news outlets are running stories today about Peyton beating his demons and winning a big game. His celebrity seems to overshadow the team's, and indeed even the city's.

For me it's bigger than Peyton Manning, though. I've placed my hopes on him many, many times and applauded his heroics for years, but I'd be just as happy if my jersey instead had the #33 of Dominic Rhodes, or #93 for Dwight Freeney, or #44 Dallas Clark. Heck, I'd be proud to swim around in a triple-XL #63, for center Jeff Saturday, who made a key play in last night's game and gave a rousing speech to his teammates before kickoff.

It's about the whole city, you see, and how narrowly we missed what would have been the most devastating defeat in the city's history. To lose again, to the Patriots no less, last night would have taken the wind out of our sails for a long, long time. And it was very, very close.

Besides, those other guys have gotten their rings already.

So yeah, I'm rooting for my home team, and loving these two weeks of glory and anticipation. I'm happy for them. But I have to say I'm not too concerned about the outcome in Miami.

To have come this far, for me at least, is already a huge victory. They won a big one, and they get to play in the biggest event of their sport. (Even if nobody cares outside the midwest.) Don't sweat it too much, boys. Your successful season is secure.

Speeches like these are perhaps why I'd make a terrible head coach.

Still, though: Go Colts!

And any of my friends making the trip to Florida are welcome to stop in here on their way down.

Just look for the only house that isn't decorated in Gamecock garnet and black.


sheri said...

Go Colts!!!!

finchard said...

I feel like the entire city of Indianapolis turned a mental corner with the second half of that ball game. Cheesy as that sounds. The whole metro area feels more self-actualized this morning.

Thomas said...

Collectively everyone let out a relaxing exhalation, and today our shoulders are looser. They did try to kill me in the first half though. I about died of a broken heart when Manning threw that pick.

Colin said...

I'm extremely grateful to have missed the first half, being midway between Beaufort and Columbia in the I-95/I-26 nether region of radio reception.

Though I too nearly died when I got into town and heard, "21-3 Patriots, at the 2-minute warning." I thought it was the fourth quarter already.

Anonymous said...

We're going to the Superbowl!!!!!!! Go Colts!!! Go Peyton! Go Marvin! Go, all you oversized human beings with superhuman strength and endurance.. just show those Bears who's boss :) In the words of the site author (as shrill as they were in my eardrum on Sunday night as I listened to my voicemail) - WOOOO HOOOO! (He was mocking me... that's what brothers do)