Last week was just like any other here in Indianapolis. The predictable homicide victims, usually by gunfire. Firefighters risking their lives put out flames on abandoned homes torched by cheap-jack gangbangers or meth-heads. Undocumented Asian massage parlor gals busted while their “managers” and patrons escaped arrest. Tech geeks hanging out to get wrist bands to purchase the latest iPhone model and discovering its new mapping system might locate their home address somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
The screed of political candidates waging their war of truth against their opponents. And the endless road work around town and Interstates 465, 65, 70, 74 and 69 – numerals which truly explain why our city is dubbed the “Crossroads of America.”
But near the end of the week a story appeared in the Indianapolis Star, written by sports writer Phil Wilson who covers the hoof-beats of our beloved Colts. It was a simple feature/sidebar he wrote about this fellow from Knightstown, Indiana, who has been tam fan long before the late Bob Irsay high-jacked Mayflower trucks under the cover of darkness to bring the team to our city. It would take years and a few guys named Peyton, Dungy, Pollian and Jimmy to turn things around. But those are wonderful anecdotes.
Let’s talk about Danny Webber of Knightstown. In the old days, he had attended games in the former Hoosier-then-RCA Dome, a massive structure whose top resembled a festering blister on our city’s mid-skyline. In fact, Danny’s support goes back to the Baltimore Days when QB Johnny Unitas was making his bones for the horse.
Danny has been battling cancer for a number of years and has won a few of the battles. But now he’s the underdog and freely admits that the war is all but lost.Among his final desires was to witness his first and perhaps final game in the relatively new and stately Lucas Oil Stadium.
His caregivers and friends at Heritage House, a senior community in nearby Greensburg, got the ball rolling and were able to obtain him some tickets. When the Colts management learned of it, they immediately corralled better accommodations for Danny and his guests.
And yesterday, with the Colts taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars, a true fan with face painted in blue and holding a sign proclaiming Today is My Lucky Day!! Before kickoff, rookie QB Andrew Luck greeted and presented him with a signed football, and other players stepped up to wish him well. Danny, a retired sewing machine mechanic and Navy veteran, even managed a few dance steps to cheer on the Colts along with the backing of the tens of thousands packed into the pew of that secular cathedral.
Unfortunately, the game’s outcome was a great disappointment to Colts Nation. In the small scheme of things, football is only a game. You have a winner and loser. On a different plane, professional sports is a serious business and a high-stakes arena.
But not necessarily on one crisp, early autumn day, when a humble fellow stepped into the Coliseum to cheer on a team he has followed and loved throughout his life. Danny Webber has the will of a gladiator but the soul of a Blue Horseshoe.
God bless him and all of those who gave him those special moments yesterday afternoon.