'We' are not a part of the Colts



Like most of Indianapolis, my wife and I watched most of the Colts-Giants game on Sunday night. The game itself was pretty boring but we each loved the gorgeous HD aerial shots of our beautiful city after the dozens of commercial breaks.

We'd already had our TV football excitement of the day – Barcelona barely easing by Atlético Madrid, the grace of Diego Forlan losing out to the artistry of Lionel Messi – but watching a Colts Sunday night game at least gives us each something to talk about with our coworkers the next day.

Again, I've never set foot in the nearly $1 billion stadium my taxes have financed, nor am I likely ever to do so unless Lucas Oil Stadium becomes a refugee or detention center after either a natural disaster or a roundup of political dissidents by President Palin. I hear it's quite nice: a gathering place for the rich.

I'm mildly interested in the Colts as a football team but I'm even more interested in the phenomenon of poor and lower-middle-class people willingly giving their hard-earned money to the millionaires who own, operate and play for the team.

I totally understand Gov. Daniels and the state legislature taking taxpayer money and giving it to the rich; that's how they operate. Their ideology is based upon redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.

And I also understand wealthy people spending tens of thousands of dollars for tickets to the games. It's fun to get plastered on $15 beers and watch millionaire athletes give each other early-onset Alzheimer's. Better that they do that than something more destructive.

But how do you explain the gentleman I know, who makes $14 an hour but spent $300 for an authentic Colts jersey, has spent thousands of dollars for game tickets, and endlessly refers to the Colts as "we"?

It would be understandable if he were employed by the team in some capacity or had a relative who was on the 54-man roster.

Imagine buying a fifth of Crown Royal and then proclaiming yourself to be part of the British royal family, or purchasing a Big Mac and using that as a pretext to boss around Mayor McCheese.

Ridiculous, right? I'm not criticizing those who enjoy watching NFL football. I am questioning the logic of identifying yourself with a team that is the recipient of massive corporate welfare, whose success assures that you won't be able to cheer them on in person and the logic of opening your wallet and voluntarily giving them more money.

Don't give me the line about how much the team's presence contributes to the success of the local economy. Unless you own a tavern, parking garage or hotel located close to Lucas Oil Stadium, you're not seeing any of that money.

Even if those arguments were true, remember that the city and state are still close to $1 billion in the hole due to the team. By the time we taxpayers have almost received our money back for financing the stadium, the venue will be obsolete and we'll be forced, once again, into forking over money for a new stadium lest we risk losing the team to another city.

And remember, the Colts are one injury to Peyton Manning away from going back to what they were before he arrived: a mediocre team performing before an ever-dwindling base of fans.

Don't think so? How many people do you see these days sporting Pacers gear and babbling endlessly about how "this is our year"? I still love the Pacers but I can't name many others who do.

And at least the Pacers have a 43-year relationship with the city of Indianapolis; several generations of fans have watched the team at the State Fair Coliseum, Market Square Arena and the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Insurance Fieldhouse.

The Colts have a tradition of moving from one city to another in the middle of the night and of performing woefully for years after arriving.

Don't call me a hater; I'm just telling the truth. You are not part of the Colts; the Colts are a money-making machine that is more or less based in this city. The team could move away tomorrow and your life would not be affected even one bit.

If you want to cheer them on from the comfort of your couch, more power to you. Just don't forget that there is a vast gulf in class and wealth separating you from them. They have the money and are seeking more of yours, just like any other company rightfully tries to do.

Just like Lilly or Wal-Mart, you're not a participant in their profit-sharing plan, so it's silly to refer to them as "we."


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