As an Indianapolis resident, we are taught one hard and fast lesson: the New England Patriots are the bane of our collective existence.
Yet, here they are, spending the next week in our fair city, practicing at the Colts’ facility ahead of Super Bowl XLVI.
Some have called this rubbing salt in a wound. I don’t see it that way – the Colts had a tough year. The Patriots, as much as we might despise them, had an amazing year on the field.
While we’ve put out the “Hoosier Hospitality” signs and welcomed tens of thousands of their fans to our region with open arms, I thought I’d give a bit of perspective on their city.
My best friend (a born/reared Iowan) moved to Boston several years ago after leaving Penn State’s graduate program. I was thrilled when she told me – I’d always been fascinated by that part of the country and started plotting when I could visit.
I would make my first trip out there (by car) in 2007. It was then I fell hopelessly, head-over-heels in love with Boston. First, we went to Cape Cod. My mind was blown – the Cape mixed the modern with history and beautiful beaches. It wasn’t just a place to look for the Kennedy family – it was warm, welcoming, with great food, great wine (the Truro Vineyard), and a town at the tip that is widely called the “Gay Mecca of the East Coast” (Provincetown). In short, it was heavenly to me. Same-sex marriages were treated equally.
I then would go on to take the train into Cambridge (home of some very prestigious schools). Cambridge was filled with cute shops (including the legendary Newbury Comics) and some of the prettiest campus area I’ve ever seen (Harvard).
As a lover of radio who still believes in its greatness, I was delighted to be introduced to WFNX (101.7). To this day, I listen to this station daily via Itunes and I consider it one of the last great terrestrial alternative-formatted stations in the nation.
I have returned twice since (in 2010). That spring, we walked much of downtown Boston and sat on Race Point Beach, drinking beer and enjoying the warmth. I would get to visit Cheers and walk the legendary Newbury Street (here’s a hint: the Chanel boutique sits directly across from the Burberry boutique). We had blueberry mojitos next to the Donna Karan showroom.
The people were friendly and didn’t say a word when I’d say I was from Indianapolis. We’d talk football, but comparing the Colts and Pats as rivals because of their collective group of talent. Even some of those folks didn’t like seeing Head Coach Bill Belichick refuse to shake then-Colts coach Tony Dungy’s hand at the end of the AFC Title Game in 2007 (the now-infamous come-from-behind Colts victory over the Patriots that would send them toward their Super Bowl victory over the Bears).
The people I met from Connecticut would commiserate about not being able to buy alcohol on Sundays and having to drive to New Haven to hit up the IKEA.
No, we’re not as large as Boston. No, we don’t have a Chanel boutique (we do have a Burberry store though). No, we don’t have an NHL franchise either. The nearest beaches are at the Indiana Dunes.
But, we do boast some of the best amateur sports in the nation. We have a nationally-ranked roller derby league, wineries like Easley, Chateau Thomas, and Oliver, and one of the best selection of vintage and consignment stores I’ve ever seen!
Indianapolis, as a community, is a lot like “Cheers:” everyone knows your name.
In that spirit, let’s make Pats (and Giants) fans feel at home (then they can go home and write nice things about us…hopefully).