Yesterday was the big day. The first day of the 88th NFL football season. It got a rousing kickstart here in little Ol Indianapolis with a free concert in the center of town, in front of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. I forgot my camera so I was unable to take pictures, however it was a sea of blue clad masses. I got downtown after work (about 3, or so) used my IUPUI parking permit, parked my car in the IUPUI lot, changed from work clothes to Colts Cammouflage (blue jeans, blue colts 29 jersey-- Joseph Addai runing back-- and blue Colts baseball cap) and followed the crowd. It was a surreal experience, truthfully because everyone was walking around wearing the same thing-- blue (or white) Colts jerseys. The place was, to be honest, awash in blue. Any one wearing a Saints jersey stuck out like a sore thumb.
I followed the crowd to the monument after getting turned around I found my way to the stage area. I had to get frisked, women to the left, men to the right. Now here's the thing. It was a free concert, but the musical talent that performed didn't fit my idea of "football." The first group who I'd never heard of called Hinder. Came out rocked the cashba, they reminded me alot of Aerosmith. I've never really like Aerosmith. They were the band that made me lose hearing. An outside concert and my ear drums begged for mercy. After they screeched through their 45 minute set, we got Kelly Clarkson. This is the first time I'd ever really heard Kelly Clarkson. Let me put it to you this way: I left after ten minutes, so, aww shucks, I missed Faith Hill. Here's the rub, though, Hinder, Kelly Clarkson, and Faith Hill don't really scream football to me. NASCAR, maybe, but not football and certainly not NFL. Hank Williams, Kid Rock, and Terri Clark: they scream football to me. I think that's why I left. I just wasn't feeling it, that my feet were starting to hurt from standing for so long.
Leaving was, in and of itself, an experience. It is difficult, to say the least, to work your way through a sardine packed group mob of people. I'd say there were probably 15-20,000 people in front of me and probably 100,000 behind me. I found a stream of people moving through the crowd and got onto that train. I got to the back of the crowd where it was quite thinned out and felt a bit more trapped because everywhere I looked were fence-barriers. I finally sat down on the sidewalk to watch the crowd for a few minutes and try and figure out how to get out of the madness. Actually, it wasn't madness at all, it was quite calm, it was just very crowded. I used my powers of observation and discovered another single file stream of people meandering through the sea of people behind me. I got on that train, again and pushed my way through the crowd.
I finally popped out on a side street and that was when the surrealism got a bit overwhelming. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was dressed in Colts blue. They were sitting in restaraunts eating and drinking, they were steaming to the stadium, they were chatting on cell phones (I think that was the weirdest part of it, I don't know why, but it was) there were street performers playing guitars, they were panhandlers shaking their cups, there were ticket scalpers buying tickets, selling tickets, they cops trying to keep some kind of order, I found myself wondering how I would shoot something like this on film.
I was goig against the flow, I was heading to my car, but everyone else was heading towards the stadium. I got back to my car, and headed out of the city. The strangness didn't stop there. I had to drive by the stadium to get out of town. There guys standing in the street with bright orange flags beseeching me to park my car in their lot. The prices ranged anywhere from 10-20 dollars. I wasn't having any of it, I wanted to go home. I finally got myself on Meridian Street and headed south. The final surrealism was this: the further I got away from the stadium and madness behind me the more "normal" life became. Some guy was weedeating his yard, another looked like he was pulling some weeds, you know just ordinary stuff.
I got home, ate some dinner, and watched the madness on tv. I was quite amazed when I saw how many people were there... I was in that? So much for my agoraphobia kicking in.
I tried to watch the football game, I really did. I made it up to halftime and then I started to fall asleep. I know the Colts won, but I didn't see much of the second half through my lidded eyes. I was just tuckered and my knees hurt from standing all day.
Dang. Y'all take pro ball seriously. That's how we do college football in the South.
I couldn't have handled those crowds. No way.
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