I got this email from Dustin McNichols this week:
I grew up in a Bears home, with a Packers extended family and in the late 90's, for some reason, to my entire family and father's dismay, I started following this Peyton fellow and his team from Indianapolis - and have bled blue every since.
Fast forward more than a decade and I still had not been to an NFL game. That was until Christmas of this past year, and upon opening my present from my fianceé, discovered two 16th-row tickets behind the bench for what would turn out to be the down-to-the-wire season finale against Tennessee.
I promptly soiled myself.
We drove to Indy (our first time to the city) the Friday before and spent two days enjoying the city. We made that first trip to the official pro shop and before you knew it, Sunday had arrived. We walked to the stadium, and I was already shaking (partly from the cold but mainly from nerves) and entered Lucas Oil - which I have to ask, is there a more impressive stadium? - and it was all a constant roller coaster drop from there. The excitement and passion to see all these Colts fans together was so surreal, such a thing to behold.
We got to our seat section. My fianceé didn't realize she had purchased the VIP treatment and we entered through our guarded glass doors. I haven't felt like a little kid in quite a long time. This was just a constant, hours long feeling of being a little kid in the home of his heroes. Its so hard to truly convey.
The game was astounding (maybe not by traditional standards), and I had the treat of learning what you do whenever the Colts get a first down. I loved that. Then came the 4th quarter, and we all know how that went, but needless to say I did not have any voice left and Kate (fianceé) insists I need my blood pressure checked when the Colts play. My emotions sky-rocketed back and forth in a manner I have never experienced before - we're talking in a manic quarter to quarter, down by down sort of way.
Being able to actually hear Manning bark orders, watch Mathis go to work, see Saturday stretching before the game, see Vinatieri kick a field goal... Holy hell it was all so remarkable.
And to think my biggest smile may have came as the Colts were stretching together, 'In the Air Tonight' playing overhead, and I look down field to see Brackett air drumming to that one part in the song (you know the part) - I really just couldn't stop smiling.
I want to thank Dustin for sharing his experience but also encourage you to visit his website. Dustin is trying to raise money for the fight against Breast Cancer. His grandmother was diagnosed recently, and Dustin hopes to raise $2300 through the Susan G. Kormen 3-Day Walk for the Cure this fall. He's just shy of $1,000 right now, so head over to his site and lend a hand.