Colts vs. Dolphins: When a Win Still Feels Like a Loss

Happy holidays! Was Santa good to you this year? The three gifts I received this year helped me out tremendously on game day, but more on that later. Let’s get into the game.

Angie Six

My Seat:

I was back at home for this matchup. After a week straight of running around, either prepping for the holiday or celebrating the holiday, I was done by Saturday night. Stick-a-fork-in-me-done. The kids had several requests on Sunday for entertainment: Can a friend come over? Can we go to the mall? Will you take us to see Star Wars again? Each time I was like the voice of God: NO. All I wanted Sunday was to move from bed to couch to kitchen table. We kept football on all day long and meals subsisted of pizza delivery and leftovers. It was glorious.

My Drink:

Based on the timing of this game (1 pm) and my not-so-healthy streak of having had at least one alcoholic beverage for nine days straight, Sunday was also a day of rest for my liver.

I have a deep and abiding love for Diet Coke, so much so that I refuse to buy it at the grocery store. I know myself, and I know that if I have Diet Coke in the house I will drink it every day. I already struggle to drink enough water, and I know it’s not good for me, so Diet Coke is a special occasion drink. I drink it at restaurants and will sometimes swing through a McDonald’s or the gas station to treat myself to one of those ridiculously-sized troughs of soda. My parents, however, have a fridge in their garage that is stocked with sodas. You’d think it would be one of those grandparent perks that my kids would be giddy about, but they don’t like any kind of soda. Too “spicy,” they say. Instead I’m the one that gets giddy, and beyond the obligatory can I drink while I’m there, I always bring an extra can home with me. I did that on Christmas day, stuck it in my own fridge, and promptly forgot about it. When I opened the fridge on game day, I spied that glorious, forgotten can. I wouldn’t have been happier if I’d found a twenty dollar bill in the fridge. This is why we can’t have nice things Diet Coke in the house on a regular basis.

My Post-Game Analysis:

Am I getting away from the main topic – the game – too much in these posts? That’s because I just don’t know what to say about this team anymore. I have a theory about this season, but I’m going to refrain from going into it this week because we still have one game left in the regular season. I’m not ready to give up yet – there’s still a chance we see a playoff game. But the odds are very, very slim. I do know this, though: for the love of all things holy, please don’t play Matt Hasselbeck next week. The poor man has sacrificed enough! Frankly, I don’t think Andrew Luck should risk it either, even if he’s medically cleared. If Clipboard Jesus* can’t transform into Touchdown Jesus on Sunday, then it just wasn’t meant to be this year. I’m glad we won, and I don’t begrudge the guys for celebrating what could end up being a pointless victory. But our problems are deep, and I just don’t see this team making some miraculous turn around that lands us deep in the playoffs.

So how did my Christmas gifts help me out on game day? My first gift, a Colts winter pom pom hat, came in handy when I just couldn’t watch. Just pull the cap down and the game disappears! My second gift, an adult coloring book, providing just the release I needed when the tension became too much. Finally, my new Kindle took me to another world after the game, one where I could forget about lost opportunities and convoluted playoff scenarios.

Mike Six, Angie Six and Kalyn Kahler of the MMQB

On a non-Colts related football note, I saw the Concussion movie Saturday. I assembled a small group of parents with different feelings about football and various sports backgrounds to watch it with me and the MMQB’s Kalyn Kahler. Immediately following the movie we came back to my house for a discussion about the movie and whether or not it changed our minds about our kids playing the sport. I can’t say enough about the conversation we had – it was thoughtful, conflicted and eye-opening. I understand the movie is not the truth – it’s a Hollywood film and some liberties were taken. Still, I thought it was well done. I thought I knew more than the average fan about the dangers of concussions and head trauma in football, and I walked away from the movie changed. The full story from our groups thoughts on the movie will run later this week on the MMQB. I will update this post with the link when it’s available. I highly recommend the movie to any fan of the game, but especially those fans and parents who have children who play or may one day play the sport.

Update: Here’s the link to our feature in the MMQB – The Impact of “Concussion” on Moms and Dads.

Next week is the final game of the season, when we’ll take on Tennessee Titans at home. I have the best job on the morning of game day: helping the judge the fixings of the Colts’ Best Tailgate finalists! Until then, I hope you have a safe and happy New Year.

*UPDATE: Clipboard Jesus (aka Charlie Whitehurst) was placed on Injured Reserve today. I don’t even know who next QB up is anymore. Bueller? Bueller?

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Colts vs. Texans: The 12th Man Doesn’t Use An Inside Voice

The Colts and I have something in common this week: we’d both like a do-over. The Colts would happily go back to end of the first half and do things a little differently. And me? I’d like a few words with the woman sitting in front of me who threatened my husband. We’ll get to that, but first the usual details.

Angie Six Colts Blogger

My Seat:

Mike and I returned to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the game with my sister, Ana, and her boyfriend, Greg. We had the same seats we had for the Broncos game. In other words, our seats were pretty sweet. Well, other than the fact that no one ever scored a single touchdown on our end of the field. The last time my sister and I went to a game together was the 2006 AFC Championship game. You know, just that legendary game in the RCA Dome where we beat the Patriots on our way to a Super Bowl Championship. Let’s just say that game was a little more fun than this one.

Sun King Cans

My Drink:

There’s only one drink for me at Lucas Oil, and it’s the locally brewed Sunlight Cream Ale from Sun King Brewing. Mike made a comment about the fact that this particular beverage costs $9.25. My sister didn’t miss a beat – “Worth it,” she said. She’s absolutely right. If I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life, this would be the one.

My Post-Game Analysis:

I’m going to go in a different direction here than I’ve done in the past. For one, what can I say about this game? It was utterly disappointing. I’m scared for Matt Hasselbeck’s health, and if I was his wife I’d be hiding his keys so he can’t drive to the Colts facility anymore. This is not our year. I’m resigned to that now. Instead, I want to focus on what has to be the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me at a sporting event.

Our seats were in the second row, right where the Colts players come out and warm up. In the row in front of us sat a husband, wife and two boys, which I would guess to be around middle-school age. As the first and second quarters progressed, I noticed two things about them. One: they were pretty quiet for Colts fans. Two: the woman turned around several times during the first half and gave Mike what I would call “the stink eye.” It’s the same look my kids get when I’m trying to wordlessly communicate I’d give them what-for if we weren’t in public.

Before I go any further, let me tell you a little story about Mike and his decibel level. He’s a loud guy. I’ve been know to give him the stink eye myself, most often when we’re in a public place and he answers his phone. Hush, hush, voices carry, dude. Just last month, the kids and I had a conversation with him at the dinner table, suggesting the numbered chart they use in Eli’s school for how loud you should be talking at any given moment might be helpful. For reference:

voice level chart

He’s pretty much a four in a world of twos. And we love him for it (mostly). So back to the game. It’s the second row of an NFL game against a division rival in a matchup that has playoff implications. I’m going to say Mike was at a 4, with spurts of 5 during crucial moments. The drunk guy two rows behind us? Constant 5. The extended members of T.Y. Hilton’s family behind us to our right? Fours and fives.

At halftime, the woman turns around to Mike and says in all seriousness, “If you don’t stop screaming, I’m going to punch you in the throat.” We looked at each other like, “Is she serious? Surely she’s joking.” Mike said something to the fact that he’s just excited, it is a football game after all. Her husband joins in. “Do you have to be so loud? Could you maybe take a break during halftime? It’s ridiculous.”

We were stunned. My natural inclination is to avoid confrontation at any cost, and so I whispered in his ear, “Please don’t poke the bear.” To his credit, he let it go. He could’ve engaged her and her husband, and it could’ve gotten ugly fast. But he didn’t. Did he pipe down? Some. The fans sitting around us, however, were dumbfounded. They handled it in the best way possible: they got louder. Every down, every run, every penalty … they screamed. I wanted to hug each and every one of them.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. I’ve been to many sporting events where you’re sitting by that guy. The one that doesn’t know when to stop. The one who uses profanity, the one who has to tell the ref he sucks for every call that goes the other way, the one who makes you cringe for every fan under the age of 12 within earshot. Mike’s never that guy. He doesn’t taunt other fans and he never swears. He just gets every penny’s worth of fun out of the exorbitant cost of his ticket to an NFL game. If he were that guy? I’d let him know, and it wouldn’t be with a stink eye. There are a lot of things I agree would be inappropriate and disrespectful for your fellow fans at an NFL game. Using your outside voice isn’t one of them. (And no, a closed roof doesn’t necessitate inside voices at Lucas Oil.) The 12th man doesn’t motivate the team by sitting quietly.

And so to the woman of Section 136, Row 1, Seat 6 sitting in front of us at Lucas Oil Stadium yesterday? We are not sorry. I’ve reviewed the NFL Fan Code of Conduct. There’s nothing in there about cheering for your team, but they have a little something to say about threatening other patrons with words and/or actions. Perhaps next time, instead of threatening violence in front of your family to a fan simply having a good time with the other 66,000 yelling, screaming, clapping fans, you watch the game from the peaceful atmosphere of your couch. Save those front row seats for the 12th man.

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Colts vs. Jacksonville: Goodbye Riches, Hello Embarrasment

After a humiliating loss to Jacksonville, it’s time for the Indianapolis Colts to put the hard hat on and dig out of this hole.

Indianapolis Colts hard hat

I think I understand now why sports writers aren’t meant to be fans of a certain team anymore. As a fan, writing about your team the day after a painful loss is anything but fun. I don’t feel like rehashing any of it, instead preferring to just forget it and move on to the next game. But I promised I’d finish the season out with weekly recaps, win or lose, so let’s make like a Band-Aid and just rip this baby off.

My Seat:

Let’s start off on a positive – I left my couch for this one! My sister, Ana, is one of the biggest Colts fans I know. I love having other female fans to relate to throughout the season, both for the highs and the lows. Having that kind of connection within a sister relationship is just the icing on the cake. We usually chat on the day after a game, trading “Did you see that?” back and forth. She often hosts friends on game day, and she always invites my family as well. For some reason, I never made it over for a game last season. Oh, wait … I know why: because I’m awful to watch games with. I don’t want to chit-chat or miss a play. I’m obnoxious when we’re winning, impossible when we’re losing. I prefer Twitter and my husband (not always in that order) to anything else on game day, other than actually being at the game.

Eli and I did go, though. While I’m not sure I’ll get invited back, I did appreciate the ability to drown my sorrows in piles of good food, all while seated in a comfy chair with a built-in drink holder.

Indianapolis Colts Freaker

My Drink:

I know you can’t tell, but my drink of choice was a Sam Adams White Christmas. It was tasty, downright festive in its Colts sweater and cozy in its drink holder.

My Post-Game Analysis:

Remember that “embarrassment of riches” we had at the beginning of the season? Remember when we were the favorites in Vegas to go to the Super Bowl this year? Remember the Titans (game)? Now we just feel like an embarrassment. Harsh? I don’t think so, not when you lose back-to-back games by 35 points, not when you let a 4-8 team score 42 points on you … in the second half.

I can accept that we have struggles. I can accept that an injury to your franchise quarterback can throw a wrench in things. I can accept that other teams are better than us on any given Sunday. What I can’t accept is my perception that it’s not a big deal to the team. No one seems hungry. No one seems angry. No one seems embarrassed. I like Pagano as much as anyone else, but you know how I feel – warm and fuzzy won’t win us any championships. Double-digit losses are not the time to pat people on the back and say you believe in them. It’s the time to get ugly.

I’ll be right there cheering them on for the rest of the season. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Andrew Luck come back healthy and recharged, ready to right this ship and lead the team to the post season we thought we’d have. Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling that it’s too late for the captain to get us back on course. I sense that what’s wrong goes deeper than the players. Maybe what we need is to be embarrassed for the remainder of the season, to see all the warts and flaws we’ve tried to cover with quick fixes and cute plays exposed. Maybe if we hit rock bottom we can get hungry and angry enough to make the changes needed to get us competitive again, to make our opponents fear us instead of laughing.

Speaking of fear, the Colts will meet J.J. Watt and the Texans next week. We’ll be watching the game from Lucas Oil with my sister and her boyfriend. We were a little worried when we bought the tickets that this would be a meaningless game, that maybe our starters wouldn’t even play. How cute and naive were we?! Now it’s a game that means everything to both teams. Here’s hoping the Colts remember the team they were supposed to be and play like they’re mad at what they’ve become.

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