My NFL Fandom started in my youth in the late 70’s. Indiana had no team, and my dad brought home a Wilson Joe Namath football. As a family, we didn’t know the rules, but sure had fun running around the yard. That same year my father and I watched my first Super Bowl, with the Cowboys versus the Steelers. I was hooked, playing and watching was now a part of my life.
The next summer we took our annual trip to New York, where my cousins lived. I brought my football and my Cowboys jersey. I remember my cousins jeering me in their Bills shirts, calling me "Mr. Bandwagon". They were real fans, as they had a hometown team. I began to wish for a team for my hometown area. I began Pop Warner, and the concept of my team really set in.
In my middle school years, my dream came true with the arrival of the Indianapolis Colts. I remember going to New York, and this time wearing my Colts shirt; and now receiving the validation from my cousins that my state had arrived. When attending my first game at the Hoosier Dome, it was massive. My football coach reminded me to key in on my position, so I could learn from professionals.
Each year my father and I would go see the Bills play, and we sprinkled in a few Broncos and Patriots games. The Colts became our bonding time. My father did not grow up with football, so it became my opportunity to teach him something about this incredible game.
As I grew, and went off to college, the Colts were still there for me. It became my source of pride and debate with new friends from around the country. Each week my dad would send new clippings of how the Colts did, as I posted them on my wall.
In my return home from college, the Colts games became a great way to socialize with new friends and old. The arrival of "Captain Comeback" Jim Harbaugh was just what the Colts needed, and with him success followed. We were proud of our Colts, and of course all knew that we were robbed of a Super Bowl due to lack of Instant Replay. At that point of my life, my roommate was a Sports Writer; so it was cool for us to get some of the backstory.
Then I moved from Indiana to new possibilities in California. For me, the things that I loved about home; became symbolized in the Colts. My fandom grew, going to West Coast games every chance that I got. The arrival of Peyton Manning made things better for me, as Indianapolis would now get national media spots; so I could watch games.
Within a few years, I would meet the girl that I would marry. I flew her home to Indiana to meet my family and experience her first football game at the RCA Dome. This was my mom’s first game too, and great bonding time; where we saw the Colts beat the Jaguars. New fandom was created, and a new Colts family was born.
As life progressed, and careers moved forward more magic would happen. I would have a son and a daughter, who both had their Colts gear from birth. Every game I would have a little Colts Cheerleader on my lap, and a boy running around with his Manning jersey. When we won the Super Bowl I held up my son to the TV with Peyton and snapped that picture. For years he would tell the story how he met Peyton at the Super Bowl, and of course we all laughed.
Suddenly Peyton was gone, a tough time and tears were shed at my house. We were Colts fans, but of course we still rooted for Peyton individually. I was filled with mixed emotions, as I believed the Andrew Luck move was the right one. I had a link, as I did course work at Stanford and aspire for the same for my own children.
As the Andrew era began, my son began playing football. My father, son, and I went to a game – sitting 1st row 50-yard line in San Diego. We had the banner "3 Generations Coltstrong", that would be televised and picked up by the media. A great memory. I would end up being my sons football coach, and we were the undefeated Colts. This year our family of 4 will travel to LA to see the Colts kick off the season, we are excited; as we have never experienced this with the 4 of us.
I have so many Colts to thanks for this – players, coaches, and especially Jim Irsay. Thank you for all of the joy and bonding that you give me.