Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beginning of the End

I have a lot on my mind (per the usual), but the most prevalent thought I have right now in this very moment is football. Is my name Nikki or something? ;-) So if you could care less about football, I wouldn't waste your time reading this.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a Colts fan. I've got 3 Manning jerseys, a Clark jersey, and somewhere in the depths of a closet, I've got an Edgerrin James jersey. Anyone who follows my car, knows I'm a Colts fan by my license plate holder on the back. Anyone who steps into my classroom, knows I'm a Colts fan by the shrine of posters behind my desk. 

However, changes are on the horizon, and I find myself having a physical reaction to them. My stomach is in knots and no matter how hard I try to shake them, I keep coming back to the fear that my love for this team is fading.

WHAT? You can't do that! You have to be a fan for life! You can't just abandon them!

You're right. I can't just abandon the team I grew up loving, but that team is no longer. The changes all seemed so positive at first. New management. Yes! New coach. Yes! New quarterback. WHAT THE HELL?

A year ago, Peyton Manning was ready to play more football. One neck injury and a serious neck surgery later, and the man is still ready to play more football. The fact that all signs are pointing to the face of this team being sent packing is beyond disgusting.

I could be wrong. Peyton could either still have a home in Indy or he could be deemed unhealthy enough to play (which, honestly, is what I'm hoping for), but I have been reading too many articles and too many ridiculous Twitter posts from the ownership and I just feel it coming.

I don't really follow college football, so I will be really honest in saying that 1) I don't really know who Andrew Luck is and 2) I don't really care. I do know that he is presumably a 22 year old kid fresh out of college who will no doubt struggle in his first season in the NFL, and to just throw away a 4-time MVP, Superbowl Champ, and future Hall of Famer because this kid is the next "big thing" is foolish in my opinion. Ever heard of learning from the best? Ever heard of riding with training wheels? Ever heard of any of the other #1 draft pick rookie QBs sucking ass because of lack of experience, strength, knowledge, intelligence, etc?

All of those big decisions will of course be made without my input. No one is calling me and asking what I think, and maybe I'm just a little too sentimental, but I just can't fathom being a fan of a team that no longer resembles any of the reasons I have loved it for so long.

For starters:
1) The new GM seems like a total douche bag. I kind of want that shady old Bill Polian and his nepotism back.

2) I don't know much about the new coach, but I do know that no coach will ever compare to Tony Dungy.

3) From what I hear, nearly all of my favorite guys, who not only are great on the field but also are kick-ass human beings, will be gone undoubtedly-- Jeff Saturday, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne. Will I know any of the names on the back of the jerseys?

4) Jim Irsay has gone off the deep end. Prescription drug abuse again? Not sure. His Twitter feed is a waste of the Internets.

5) #18. Enough said.

So, here we are, in the waiting game until supposedly March 8th, when we find out if the Colts will pay Peyton his signing bonus-- which I am the first to admit that it is way too much money for any human, whether you have 1 year left in the NFL or 10.

Until then, I will be left to wonder one thing. Will my loyalty follow my team, or will my loyalty follow Peyton Manning? Right now, I'm leaning toward following Manning, despite the fact that I saw something on Sports Center about him going to the Jets and nearly threw up. Maybe I'm leaning toward not turning on my TV next fall and being done with football forever.

Why is it that football gets this kind of reaction out of me (and so many others I know)? It's just a stupid sport full of athletes who make WAY too much money. However, I can't ignore that the memories attached to this sport, and namely the Colts, are too sweet to ignore.

Watching games with family and friends-- sometimes high-fiving perfect strangers. Eating good food and enjoying time with friends...guts in knots together and celebrating the victories and mourning the losses.
Going to the Colts exhibition at BSU several years ago and being a few feet away from Manning himself.
Hearing a collective scream in the streets at IU when the Colts made it to the Superbowl the first time.
The Tampa Bay Monday night game where I was the only one awake watching the comeback from my bed and whisper/screaming loudly.
Attending their last game in the RCA Dome which honestly felt like the beginning of the end for this team. Lucas Oil really doesn't compare.
Doing touchdown dances in the end zone during our tour of Lucas Oil.
The game where Reggie Wayne didn't wear his belt and you could see his butt crack the whole time.
Learning that Indy would have the Superbowl in 2012 and fantasizing about what it would be like if the Colts actually played in that game.

And I will never, ever forget being in the Dishmans' old small living room with teal green carpet, watching the AFC championship with the Steelers and us missing the win with the help of a pass interference no-call in the end zone.

My list really could go on and on and on and on and on. My love for this team runs deep. My mom and brother have Notre Dame. My dad has UT. The Colts were my team. It feels like a death.

Maybe what makes this whole situation saddest of all is the realization that all anyone cares about is money. The world is about money. I see that every day with the education system. Every decision made is made with one thing in mind-- money. The NFL is of course all about money. It's not about the memories or treating people with respect and dignity or honoring their contributions to a city or listening to the people who are going to putting their asses in their seats on Sunday afternoons. It's about money.

Thanks for the memories, Colts. Here's hoping Peyton's new team color looks good on me.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, now....I think about more than just football ;-)

    But I think you're right. Don't think Peyton is sticking around. I saw rumors today of him being a Dolphin (really?) and then another from an fellow-NFC East fan coworker say that he'd bet anything he's going to the Redskins (insert me puking here).

    I honestly do not think Andrew Luck will be as successful in the NFL as people think he will be. The reason they can't have the "riding with training wheels" called it. Money. $28 mil due to Manning in March just to then also have to pay Luck a first rounder's money, then to have one of them always sitting on the sidelines? As a GM or owner, that would be unfathomable to me.

    Thirdly, people may think Jerry Jones is the devil incarnate, but at least he generally sounds intelligent when he speaks in public. Jim Irsay embarasses the sport in general....that Twitter comment last week directed at Rob Lowe sounded like a retort from a 16-year old. Yikes. know that I can sympathize with the physical pangs of supporting your lived with me and have known me long enough to watch me be physically ill over a game. It's a sickness. Seriously.

    The next couple weeks will be interesting to watch - hang on for the ride!!