Today is the Friday before "the Game." The American Football Conference Championship game. This is the last football game that will decide who will advance to the Super Bowl on Feb. 4th. It is going to be played right here in my own little corner of heaven: Indianapolis. The game will pit the Indianapolis Colts versus their Arch Rival and often parade rainer the New England Patriots, three time Super Bowl winners.
There is a certain feeling of excitement, but I think it has been tempered by the fact that the Patriots have had the Colts' number in the big games. The Colts have beaten the Patriots twice I think in the last two years, I know for sure they beat them this season (hence the Pats coming to Indy instead of the other way around).
Most fans I talk to are cautiously optimistic. They are ready for the big game, but sadly, Indianapolis Colts fans tend to be Fair Weather fans. There are always bandwagoners when it comes to sports, I know this, but here in Indy it seems that more people hop on the bandwagon and then hop off again. Earlier in the season, when the Colts had decided it would be fun to lose four of six games, the Colts fever seemed to waiver. But once they started to win again, and their defense decided it might be even more fun to show up and give it a go, the fan base swelled again.
I need to make something perfectly clear. First and foremost I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I have been a fan of the Steelers since I was a but young novice of a Disgruntled World Citizen. Since moving to the Indianapolis area, I have become a Colts fan. I enjoy watching the Hometown team play. Am I a Colts Fair-weather-fan? I don't know exactly. I haven't lived here long enough to experience a 3-13 season.
Colts fans are often criticized for being too "nice," or "not tough enough." They are usually compared to Eagles fans or Browns fans. Colts fans were well grilled last week when they were compared to the Baltimore Ravens fans. Colts fans are friendly, they are nice. I think that they realize that it's just a game first and foremost. Its not, say, life or death like a Raiders fan or an Eagles fan might think. They certainly aren't as rapid as say a hardcore Steelers fans who are known to follow the team to practicly any venue they play (case in point: last year's game between the Colts and the Steelers... there were, supposedly more Steelrs fans in the RCA Dome then Colts fans).
Indianapolis has a bit of a "self esteem problem." I think, in general, Indianapolis feels kind of slighted, or perhaps maligned when it comes to Big City Props. In the scheme of things, Indy is a small big city, or maybe a really big medium sized city. The fact that Chicago cast such a big shadow is a source of angst. Indy might not be a New York or a Chicago, but that's fine. Its still a nice city. Its easy to get around (save for the one way streets), its clean, and for the most part its a fairly safe place to be. And it does have a lot to offer.
Indy has given itself a facelift of sorts. Businesses are busting with "Blue Pride." You can see "Go COLTS!" Signs all around and the city is lousy with up-turned white horseshoes. There is a reason for this, too. Indy is hoping to host a Super Bowl in the future, I think they are shooting for the 2010 Super Bowl. So the city is trying to put on a great show not only for the Colts, but also for the great juggernaught that is the NFL).
I don't have a class this afternoon, so I am going to walk around downtown to see what's happening. I'm sure there is something going on in the circle. I'm going to take my camera, make like the Third Worst Poet and document the world.
So, Go Colts!