How many people can say that becoming a fan of a football team literally changed their life?
Well, that’s exactly what happened to me.
I grew up in Minneapolis and moved to Indianapolis in 2004. My husband was a long-time Colts season ticket holder. I told him I’d gladly go to the games with him and had no problem cheering for the Colts — as long as they weren’t playing my team, the Vikings.
I attended my first Colts game at the RCA Dome on September 26, 2004. I watched Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts beat Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. As a Vikings fan, I couldn’t have been happier.
I didn’t realize it until November, when the Vikings showed up to play the Colts on Monday Night Football. But by then, it was clear. I was already a Colts fan. And I’ve never looked back.
I fell in love with my husband, my stepchildren, and the city of Indianapolis watching the Colts play football on Sundays. It bonded me to my new family, my new life, and my new home.
In 2012, Colts Vice Chairman Kalen Irsay invited me to take part in a focus group for the Colts’ female fan club. I had the privilege of getting to know other female fans and was amazed at how similar our stories were. Many of us grew up watching football with our dads or brothers and now watched with our husbands and sons, but for ourselves. We were the bigger fans. We were the better fans. And together, we helped to form the Colts Blue Ladies group.
For the Blue Ladies, it’s not so much about being right, about second-guessing, about placing blame. To us, it’s about immersing ourselves in the game. It’s about the excitement, the dread, the passion that only football can elicit. The stories of the players who inspire and amaze us, and the love and pride we feel for them, even having never met them. I think women support their team much like they do their family members — not in spite of their flaws, but embracing them — all of them. We don’t expect them to be perfect, we just try to support them as best we can.
The Blue Ladies support our team, but we also support each other. We have celebrated and mourned together and not just for our Colts. Inspired by these women and our fandom, I tapped into my news background and started a blog, The Blue Mare. And now, I’m writing on the Colts website.
I never really chose to become a Colts fan. It just happened. And through the ups and downs of being a fan, the Colts didn’t just become part of my life…they became part of me.
I guess you could call it luck. But, I prefer to think of it as fate.
I was destined to be a Colts fan.
And the best is yet to come.