I HATED YOU
Scott Spillman, Meridian-Kessler Resident
I hated you. Not the playful “I hate you” while you smile and playfully hit your friend. It was more like the “I hate you” that Anakin spewed at Obi-Wan on Mustafar at the end of Episode III. If you grew up with me, this is not surprising. It took several life events and growing older to realize how much I actually love you. This probably requires some back story.
I've viewed so much of my life through the sports prism. By age 12, I knew that I was going to work in sports. I was a sports junkie and everyone knew it. There was only one tiny detail that was odd about my love for sports...I hated Indianapolis sports teams. As a Dallas Cowboys fan (later converted to the Houston Texans) and Chicago Bulls (who didn’t love Michael Jordan?), I took great enjoyment in watching the Colts and Pacers lose. However, the truth was that growing up, the Colts and Pacers didn’t do a lot of losing. The more these Indianapolis teams won, the more I became entrenched in my teams’ fandom and thus, the more I hated Indianapolis. To every new person I met, it was mind boggling to them that a person who was born and raised in Indianapolis could turn his back on his hometown teams.
After I graduated from Indiana University, I moved out of state. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Indy meant so much more to me than just the success of two sports teams. It was more about the other things that you, Indy.
By this point in my life, I've lived in 3 other states, in some fine cities, but none of them compare to you, Indy. Being away made me realize how much I missed Indianapolis traditions. For example, the Indianapolis 500. While I’m proud to say that I have attended 19 of the last 20 races, being in town for the entire month of May is an experience in itself. Additionally, the race is more than just cars going around a track, it's a connection to the city’s history and my own family history. My Dad has attended over 50 Indianapolis 500s. Every time I go with him it's like I'm adding another item to our family time capsule.
Furthermore, Hoosier hospitality is a real thing and this has become a point of pride for me. In Indy, we hold doors open for people, we wave hello to people walking down the street and we let a car out of a parking lot or over to our lane. The lack thereof can make a displaced Hoosier feel quite homesick. I don’t want to disparage the other places I’ve lived, but they are not the same. I could go on and on about the other things that I love about you, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the most important reason why I love you.
They say “home is where the heart is” and that couldn’t be any more accurate for me. I met my wife in Indianapolis (first dates at the Indianapolis Zoo and Newfields). We got engaged on Mass Ave, were married in Fountain Square and now live in Meridian-Kessler now. If there was any question about my feelings for you, Indy, I think this answers them.
All in all, it’s highly unlikely that I'll ever say the Colts or Pacers are my favorite teams, but even my feelings for them have lessened because of you. Loving your city is much like loving your family. It's not perfect, but it's yours. Now when I say “I love you”, it’s like Princess Leia saying it to Han Solo before he’s frozen in carbonite.
Indy, you are my city and I'll always be proud to call you my home.