Yvette’s Very Excellent Adventure Chapter 53: A Night of Football

Sunday 20th October 2013

On my day of rest I found it hard not to be active.  Because Glenn and I were going to the Colts (Indiana team) and Bronco’s (Denver team) in Indianapolis at 8.30pm I was trying to be quiet and catch up with myself.  I started making lists for the next part of my travels, especially Santa Monica in December, and sending plenty of requests through Trip advisor.  I sent out more writing, I ate too much.

Glenn came at 4.15, bearing Colts jerseys and scarf from Debbie, and a jacket that didn’t fit over my ever increasing bum.  Thus decked out in the cobalt blue and white, I didn’t feel like a Cats or North’s supporter from the AFL, the blue was different.  I just felt like a Colt’s nutcase, even with my usual earrings and glasses, and bracelets.  Once I had the attire, we hit the road.  It takes 1 ½ hours solid driving to get to Indianapolis and Glenn took us along the freeway.  We stopped at MLC cafeteria and had a fabulous meal, I had roast beef and beans cooked just the way I liked it and an apple salad.  The taste was good home cooked flavoured food, it was plentiful and yummy.  Then we headed to the parking lot a few blocks away, one that would allow a quick getaway after the game.

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Heading into Indianopolis and where Dave Downer and Glenn saw basketball when he was here.

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Glenn gave me a tour of the town as we walked towards the game, pointing out historical markers, and a sea of blue was everywhere, with only a few skerricks of orange of the opposition colours. The crowd was building, as was the excitement.  We went through security.  Glenn and Debbie had warned me that I couldn’t take a normal bag, since the Boston Bombing security has tightened at all big games.  So they had provided a see through bag which held my blanket, hat and the program and water.

According to Andre, Matt and Shaun and Daniel from the bar the other night, this was the perfect storm of a game to see.  People from all over keep telling me what a special match this would be and they were all proven correct.  People flooded into the Lucas Oil Stadium.  I was wearing Debbie’s jersey with  Jeff Saturday (number 63) and Glenn was wearing Tarik Glenn (78), his first jersey from 9 years ago that has the football player and his own name printed on the back.  How rare is that. We went to the Pro shop and bought me a jacket as well.  The queues were huge but we found that downstairs register was clearer, so we went out that way.

And then around the stadium to find our way upstairs, to terrific season seats at the lowest seats of the third level.  With only one row of men in front, who didn’t jump up and down, the view was fabulous.  It was an awesome experience, the sea of blue, the buzz, the noise, the cheerleaders and the entertainment.  I loved how they draped a stadium sized flag for the national anthem, beginning with the length of the grounds and then spreading out to cover the whole area.  The Americans do this well, the celebration of themselves.  This was Sunday night televised football.  Most of the football loving communities around the country would be watching what we were watching.  That’s a lot of millions, it kind of shades the Australian Football Leagues biggest matches.  There was a 67,000 crowd to enjoy it with me and Glenn.  Debbie was watching at home, as was Andre.  I had Debbie’s season’s ticket.  Great seats, an open roof.

There was a story to the open roof.  A beloved long time player for the Colts, Peyton Manning had been delisted because of a series of injuries and age, and had begun playing with the Bronco’s.  This was their first meeting since the change of clubs.  Peyton Manning hated playing with the roof open.  Hence, the Colts made sure it was.  There was a pre-game thankyou from the Colts to Peyton Manning which included some of his highlights and the whole stadium standing up and cheering, their beloved former player was touched by the thank you. They thanked him and kept him cold.

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Yvette10The national anthem was sung by a performer with the most amazing voice, Sara Evans.  She also sung the three songs in the tightly timed ½ time break.

 

Three other Colts ex-players were shown on the screen and thanked, all former team mates of Manning.

The game was something else.  I got a taste of football when we watched the Louisville Cardinals last week. This hyped up football to a whole new level, professional, national and well played.  Unfortunately, there seemed to be a few injuries, the worse was for the Quarter Back for the Colts, Reggie Wayne, and he’s out for the season.  He played so well tonight.

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The Scores were thus:

1

2

3

4

T

DEN

7

7

3

16

33

IND

10

16

7

6

39

I finally understand the systems, the running, the ball movement and watched, with all others, Denver Bronco’s start the scoring but get overwhelmed by better play from the Colts, and then scoring really well in the last quarter to only lose by 6. The game was tense until the final few moments, with all the skill and time-outs and different plays, the Bronco’s just couldn’t get that final score.  It was a close game all through, meaning it was engaging and tense and the crowd revved all by themselves.  The signage also did lots of encouragement, but the fans were so gripped by the game and by the cheering and the excitement on the field that they didn’t need to be told how to behave.  They spontaneously kept going nuts.

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It was very cold.  Thankfully, I had my new jacket, as well as my warm coat, and my Red Sox blanket. The other strange thing is when you buy bottles of water, the servers keep the caps so bottles can’t be thrown as a weapon.

It was the crowd of the Colts who got to celebrate.  The few orange and blue people had disappeared by this stage. It was 12.30am before the game was actually over. I kept trying to imagine an AFL game going that late and I couldn’t.

I now feel I understand the defence, the offence, the long kick-offs, the yards gained and their significance, referee decisions and penalties.  Not well, but I could now watch any game and understand the basics, which is what I need as it is only the beginning of the football season.

It also helps that I watched “Remember the Titans” and then, the next day “Radio” with Cuba Gooding Jr and Ed Harris, fabulous acting, two football based movies, both incredibly moving and both true stories.

It got me thinking of the role of sports in developing our personalities and characters, sense of team work, engagement with others, whether through playing or spectating. It’s a parable for life, at sports best, it is about having a go, giving your all, respecting what others bring, working together, development of your thoughts and skills, and being the best you can. Of a competition and battle that doesn’t involve guns or bombs. So much rubbish gets in the way, but this is what is good about sports.  A different level of human endeavour to go along with others like art and writing and working to create a better world.  They all have their place.  Sports gives people a different path in life, and the choices people make determine what kind of humans they turn out to be.

On a purely practical level, the employment it generates is enormous, from stadium staff to all the staff involved in football, in the report on TV, papers, radios, web, to the factories who make the balls and the uniforms, the parking, food, security.  It all makes the economy tick over.

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At 12.30, we hit the bathrooms before heading the long and winding road home.  It took ½ hour to walk back to the car park, but from there, it was quick to get onto the freeway and it took us ONLY 1 hour and 20 minutes to get home.  I stayed awake to keep Glenn company, and the only way was to talk about St.Kilda, the trades, the past players, his visit to Australia.  St.Kilda was the only thing that could engage me enough to keep me awake at 2am I the morning.

It has been great getting to know Glenn and Debbie, they are fabulous hosts and tonight topped off what was a great visit. And I met them through writing for the Almanac, commenting on Glenn’s first article and now this. To go to such an event, to travel there and back, to experience a big league football game, to get to know two good, thoughtful, loving people, was a gift. Just like the Almanac is a gift. I always admire and enjoy watching people in love.  Good solid relationships nourish life and I was blessed to be part of it for a bit.

When I got home, I was still so hyped and it took me another hour to get to sleep.  I texted my kids who were all still up.  Finally, at 3am, I crashed but unfortunately awoke at 8.30am.  That was going to be it.

About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it’s about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Evette great that you have made friends on the other Sid of the world thru
    The Almanac . Found the high numbers worn interesting do some players wear 3 , digit
    Numbers ? Totally agree re what time the game went too and yet come the Aussie
    Tennis open it is common for late finishes suppose it is just the accepted way .
    Spot on re sport developing character and friendships ,
    Great Photos , Thanks for the insight in too American , life and sport Evette

  2. mickey randall says:

    Thanks for this. As a. Denver fan I am interested in the match day experience. It certainly seems to share similarities with AFL whilst being a very different process also. The cold at an open stadium and the commute would be humbling too. Good luck with the rest of your trip.

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