Unlike some of the younger writers, I’ve not always been a Colt fan. Growing up in Muncie in the 70’s, meant you watched the Bears and Bengals. It wasn’t by choice, it was your market, so you could embrace them or hate them for being the god-awful team you had to watch. I chose the latter. My pre-Colt years stretched from 1970 until the Colts announced that they were coming, which covered my ages 9 – 23 years. I had two favorite teams. The Cowboys, since that’s who dad liked (He was a Navy man), then I backed the Dolphins. Yep, when they were going undefeated, I was at that fanboy age of 11.
That all changed when the announcement came that Indy was getting a team. I dropped the Dolphins like Dwayne Allen drops footballs, even with Marino ready to make himself a star. I tried to "win" season tickets, but only 50,000 of over 200,000 applicants got them. I still managed to make it to a game that year and the Colts beat the Steelers on a late reception off a tipped ball. Hooked!!
I got lucky the next year when a married couple, who were friends of my parents, divorced. They would be giving up the tickets and I snatched up the opportunity in a heartbeat. From that time, I had the tickets for 26 years and two stadiums. 26 rows up, in the corner of the end zone, but on the isle! That meant not walking over people to get the 6 or 7 20 oz. beers per game and the pisses that came along with them. I like to believe that I missed more extra points than anyone in the history of football. I also perfected the last play before the 2-minute warning beer/piss run, freeing me up to sit in my seat during halftime, while the rest of the stadium was in the concourse. I have to list Frisbee dogs and the rifle corps as my favorites.
Since both tickets were mine, I went to games with a boat load of friends. Simple rules, you drive and buy the first beer and the ticket is on me. I got to know passing friends well, and good friends like brothers. Taking someone to their first game was always as much for me, as it was my guest. I even got a few gals to agree to go with me, with the game as my "carrot". No, I didn’t make them drive or buy the first beer. My friends and I solved all of the Colt’s problems along with many of the world’s problems on the hour long drive home, that usually didn’t happen until after a couple of drinks downtown and a stop in Castleton for dinner.
Those early years were a struggle, but there were some perks. If you chose to stick around for the 4th quarter, you could move down as close as you liked, without much resistance. The concourse staff got to know me and I could order a beer as I walked past, on the way to the restroom, then stop and pay on the way back to my seat. Being a good tipper is advantageous. I’ve got some pretty foggy memories of some games, like when they gave out a poster of some kind, which turned into an all-out effort to fly your paper airplane poster all the way onto the field. A couple of them made the field and everyone claimed to have been the pilot.
I’m a fan because I could decide on a Friday night, that flying to Jacksonville for the Colts away game was a good idea. Ya’know, it was. I got a cab from the hotel on Sunday morning after buying a 12 pack of beer, a styrofoam cooler and a bag of ice. When the cabbie dropped me off at the stadium, I saw a Colts flag flying and met some guys from New Castle. They took me in and we had a blast.
I’m a Colts fan, because it has defined my fall and winter Sundays for what, 33 years now? While I had my season tickets, I missed 3 home games. Youngsters may not believe it, but the Colts/Patriots games back in the day, were must miss events. I also missed the SCAB game, since I was a card carrying UAW member. I don’t always know what I’m going to get on Sunday and things are a little different since moving to North Carolina, but I know I’ll be tuned in to see. I may never again feel the energy of the stadium when Marlin Jackson sealed the trip to the Superbowl, but I’ll keep being a fan in hopes of the possibility.