For those of you who don’t know, a few years ago several of the men in my family and our close friends decided to start a tradition where we’d travel to one road Packer game a year. Last year, our inaugural year, we traveled to Kansas City… where we watched the Packers lose their only game of the year. This year, we traveled to Indianapolis… and suffered a similar result. That being said, we still had a great weekend both times in spite of the disappointing results of the games! Here’s a censored look at what went down in Indy:
11:47 pm PDT
I board a flight from LAX to O’Hare International Airport en route to Indianapolis. In order to get to Indy in time to meet the rest of the crew affordably, I had to take the good old red-eye.
I arrive in O’Hare safe and sound. I grab some much needed coffee and breakfast from Starbucks, but not before I walk behind this curious fellow who, in an apparent effort of hipster resilience, decided against using the wheels on his luggage.
This wouldn’t have been so curious if he didn’t walk like this for the better part of 10 min. Oh well. I called the rest of the crew who were just getting on the road, and then I passed the rest of the time mingling with some Seattle fans on their way to South Carolina, and reading for work.
I arrive in Indy and hop aboard a cheap shuttle to downtown. On the shuttle, I of course sit next to a Packer fan traveling from Minneapolis to meet friends for the game. They have the same tradition as us, but have been doing it a few years longer. I love that Packer fans travel so well, and for the most part, are good people. It makes me even prouder to be part of this great community of fans.
I successfully check into our hotel, and embark on a quest for some food and beer (for the hotel room). As fate would have it, a Jimmy Johns lay waiting less than a block away. Jimmy Johns, for some reason, has not made it to Los Angeles, so I made the most of this golden opportunity and maxed a Vito with hot peppers.
After scouting a few local watering holes, taking in the downtown sites, and acquiring some beer, I returned to the hotel for a shower, a nap, and some college football as I waited for the rest of the gang to arrive.
3:15pm-ish - 12am-ish
The gang arrived! From there we bounced to the easiest of bars – The Wild Beaver, where we drank (surprise!), played cornhole, and saw Bryan Bulaga, Jeff Saturday, and TJ Lang walk past our heated cornhole game.
And from there… the rest stays in Indy. All you need to know is that many beers were drank, and good times were had by all. The only casualty was my phone, which was stepped on by one of the three Gelhars crashing in our hotel room.
Game Day – Sunday, October 7th
The gang awakens in various stages of hungry and a bit hungover, so we head downstairs for a stellar complimentary breakfast. After everyone loaded up and recharged we walked down to Lucas Oil Stadium, since our hotel was only a few blocks away.
There wasn’t much in terms of tail-gating, but we found a small event where they were serving cheap beer and had numerous activities so we joined in. Once we had our fill of mingling with the locals, watching cheerleaders perform, and playing NCAA ’12, we started the climb to our nosebleed seats in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Aside from the ball-busting stair climb to our seats, they weren’t bad at all. We were still able to see everything, and we were sitting in the endzone, which if I’m going to be that high up in the stands I prefer. I like being able to watch the whole play develop from the offensive and defensive perspective. Also, there was a beautiful few of the downtown Indianapolis skyline, which you can see below.
Finally, after months of waiting, the game started. If you remember, this was the first home game after Colts coach Chuck Pagano had been hospitalized with cancer. The whole NFL rallied behind him, and several Packer players even wore “Chuck Strong” T-shirts underneath their jerseys. It was the kind of day where the better team could be primed for an upset, but the Pack responded well and leaped out to a 21-7 half-time lead. Our group was feeling good, because we thought we might actually be able to celebrate a Packers win this year. However, after a costly Aaron Rodgers interception (I love how infrequently I use that expression) that the Colts quickly turned into 7 points… the whole atmosphere in the stadium changed. And it never turned back. The Colts ended up winning an emotional game for their team, town and coach, so good for them.
Even though we lost (again), we all still had a great time. And while our family, friends, and co-workers are screaming at us to stop our cursed tradition… I think we need to give it one more year. And I hope from there, it continues on for many more.