So it finally happened. I finally got to see my beloved COLTS play in PERSON! My parents and I flew New York to Indy to watch my beloved COLTS take on my dad's beloved Bills. When I first learned we were going, I was beyond excited. I pretty much could not believe that we were actually going to a game! You have to understand-- I've been a fan of the COLTS for years now, and had never witnessed a game in person. In 2009 when Buffalo hosted Indy, I remember being sour that we didn't try to get tix to the game. My dad kept telling me that it would be cold, snowy, miserable, and the Colts would rest their guys. Unfortunately, all of the above came true. However, our time had finally come. Week 12. Lucas Oil Stadium.
When I saw the stadium for the first time coming into the city from the airport, it finally started to hit me. This was for real. We were REALLY here. Ate dinner Saturday night at the Colts Grille and had a BLAST. Walked around the city a bit and visited the Monument Circle-- beautiful! Having travelled all day, we headed back to the hotel and bed around 10PM. The next morning was game time!
Sunday came. We got ready to head over to the stadium; all three of us in CHUCKSTRONG t-shirts and wristbands (I had bought 3 of each for myself and my parents), me in my Luck jersey, my ma in my Unitas jersey, and my dad is a Stevie Johnson jersey. We headed over and got some pictures with a couple of the cheerleaders, and headed inside as soon as they opened the gates. This is when my trip was MADE!! I took some pictures of Andrew and a few of the guys tossing around and warming up, as well as a bunch of the Bills players (Fitz, CJ Spiller, Kyle Williams and others), then headed to OUR side of the field.
My ma was with me while my dad stayed to watch the Bills players warm up. The two of us got down to the front row next to the SuperFan section. Those guys were awesome-- I got a picture with them and they were all smiles! A couple of minutes later, I saw Cory Redding pacing around with the most intense look on his face. He walked right up to where a bunch of us were standing. I extended my hand to him.... and received the most amazing hand-shake of my life. I was speechless. A couple of people next to me had things for him to sign and he didn't turn anybody down. I pulled out my program and a sharpie and he signed it for me. I thanked him and wish him the best for the game-- what a class act Mr. Redding is! A truly inspirational and powerful figure wearing our uniform.
That autograph and hand-shake absolutely MADE my trip (the first of many!) to the Luke. Win or lose, I was completely absorbed by the moment. We got to our seats about 20 minutes before kick-off and watched the kickers. I will never forget the goosebumps I got when they aired the video of the highlights of the season just before the starting line-up was announced. When The Who started playing, I was so pumped up for the game that my eyes were filling with tears. When the fireworks went off and the boys came running out, it was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I knew we had the best fans in the league, but when that team came out of the tunnel and when Chuck received a standing ovation in the fourth quarter, I realized how special this ball club and the fans really are. When Megan and Crystal Ann had their heads shaved as well, everybody was such a class act.
The trip to Indy was truly a dream come true. The atmosphere at Lucas Oil Stadium as well as all over the city is truly spectacular. As cliche as it may sound, I am truly honored to have been a part of that 12th man effort on Sunday. I felt a little bad for my dad, but I was surrounded by over 60,000 family members, and we were ALL #CHUCKSTRONG!