On one side of the field: Peyton Manning. The person who is single-handedly responsible for me even being here in the first place. The person who made me love him, and conversely, football. My favorite player of all time, and also the very same person that broke my heart three years ago.
On the other side of the field: the Indianapolis Colts. My team, badly in need of a win. Beaten up and humiliated, facing an undefeated team and the best defense in the NFL.
Next to me in the stands: Eli. My son, attending his first NFL game. Seeing Peyton Manning for the first, and most likely, the last time in Indianapolis. To say this game brought up all of the feelings would be an understatement. Where was my imaginary shrink when I needed him?
Row 2 in the end zone at Lucas Oil Stadium. We usually try to make it to one or two games a season. Instead of investing in season tickets, we tend to splurge on our seats. If I’m going to pay $9 for a beer, my seats should at least be good. Mike bought four tickets last month, gambling on the fact that Peyton Manning might break Brett Favre’s passing record here in Indy. He thought as the hype built up that he might make a pretty penny on the seats. It’s a fantastic idea, unless you forget about said extra tickets until a week before the game! We listed them a couple of places, but had no luck selling them. Last Friday we had someone interested in one ticket. That was good news for Eli, who found himself tagging along with us.
There’s only one drink for me in Lucas Oil Stadium, and that’s Sunlight Cream Ale from Indy’s own Sun King Brewing. Speaking of drinks, I have a fun little post up over on the Colts Roundup blog about game time beverages. You should check it out. You should not make,photograph and taste test all three drinks in one day. I’m here to tell you that won’t end well.
My Post-Game Analysis:
I’m a firm believer that we can beat any team, especially at home. That doesn’t mean I expect us to win, though. I certainly didn’t expect us to be up 17-7 at halftime and to see so many three and outs … for the other team. Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton was fired last week. Stepping up to the plate was Rob Chudzinski, who told the offense that all they were missing was swagger. Well, they found that swagger, lost the holding penalties and interceptions, and won the game.
I haven’t seen Peyton play in person in anything other than a Colts jersey. As strange as it continues to be seeing him in Broncos gear, it’s even stranger in person. For every season that goes by since he parted ways with Indy, it gets a little easier. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter when I realized a true transformation had taken place. Peyton was sacked, and without thinking twice I leapt up and cheered. Just like Robert Mathis, I still hate quarterbacks (that aren’t mine). And when my Colts play the Broncos, that means Manning. I will always love him. He will always be my favorite player. But he’s not my quarterback anymore.
Sure, seeing Peyton play in person again was meaningful. (How I would’ve loved to witness him break that record. Three yards shy, it wasn’t meant to happen here in Indy.) And yes, walking away with a win was fantastic and so fun. But the highlight of this game for me was sharing the experience with Eli. He hasn’t really been into football, and we haven’t forced it. While we’ve watched games on the couch, he’s been content to play with friends or keep himself occupied. Something changed this year, though, and he wants to watch with us. It’s not just the Colts, either – he wants to watch other games as well. We thought what better way to cement a love for the game than by bringing him to one?
Well, let’s just say it’s going to be hard to ever top Eli’s first NFL experience. For one, it’s not every game that you sit in the 2nd row, right by where the Colts players exit the tunnel. Elena made Eli a sign that said “This is my first Colts game.” Guess who ended up on the Jumbotron?
The Colts play like they’re on fire and pull off one of the most exciting wins you can see in person. As if that weren’t enough, the one and only Frank Gore gave Eli his game-worn glove as he walked off the field (you know, the same kid who also has Robert Mathis’ glove to go with it). As you can tell, it was a terrible experience and he never wants to go to another game.
Eli’s first #NFL game experience: 2nd row seats, on the jumbotron, @colts win, and @fg2132 gives him a glove. He had a terrible time obvs. A photo posted by Angie Six (@angiesix) on
He asked me this morning when we were going again. I laughed and told him I barely get to go to any games, so it might be awhile. But the kid is good luck, it seems, and nothing would make me happier than to have him grow up cheering for the Colts by my side at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Next week we have a bye, which means I have a recap bye, too! Next up is the Atlanta Falcons, with another favorite Colts alumni of the Six family: Jacob Tamme. Here’s hoping we keep that swagger through the end of the season.