Greg Mabe can’t remember exactly what year he got his Colts season tickets, but he knows he had them in 1998.
He was out of town recently working in Philadelphia when his phone rang. It was an Indianapolis area code, so he decided he better answer the call. It was Jake Romine, his customer relationship representative with the Colts.
“He introduced himself and proceeded to tell us what we had been picked for and I was just in a little bit of disbelief. Just really, really glad I ended up taking that call,” he said.
Greg was one of three season ticket members invited to travel with the team to Houston when the Colts played the Texans on Sunday Night Football.
“It kind of threw me off guard a little bit,” he said. “So I said, ‘Well, let me call my wife to make sure the family calendar is clear.’”
When Greg called his wife, Maria, she was just as shocked to hear the news as he was.
“We both knew it was pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity – a bucket list thing that we didn’t even have on our bucket list,” he said.
The Mabes were the first of the guests to arrive at the airport on Saturday afternoon and shortly afterwards a woman, Lori Starr, approached Greg.
“This was the wife of the season ticket holder who I used to sit next to up in the 600 level,” he said. “She came up to me and said, ‘Oh, how are you?’ And then her husband, David, came up and I instantly recognized him and he said, ‘Oh my gosh, you guys were picked for this too?’ So, we got to reminisce a little bit.”
From boarding the plane to arriving at the hotel, it was a rare behind the scenes look at the away game experience for Greg and Maria Mabe, David and Lori Starr, and Dolly and Raymond Starnes.
“The whole check-in process and even the bus ride from the airplane to the hotel, it was a little bit surreal,” said Greg. “A police escort, so I was kind of joking with everyone that we got another bucket list thing knocked off getting to be in a police escort. Just the fact that there were six buses, that kind of blew me away. It was a huge contingent.”
They had dinner that night with customer relationship representatives Jake Romine, Taylor Pulliam, and Megan Oldham, along with Larry Hall, Vice President of Ticket Operations and Guest Services for the Colts.
On Sunday, they boarded the bus and arrived at NRG Stadium early, which made watching warm ups a different and more intimate experience.
“One thing that struck me before the p.a. was on, before the fans were in, it’s just very quiet in there,” Greg said. “Watching Pat McAfee punt, you could actually hear the ball being punted. It was just a different way of seeing it and hearing it.”
And it’s an experience Greg and Maria hope the Colts will continue to offer fans like them.
“It definitely opened my eyes and it kind of renewed our passion for the Colts,” Greg said. “Because we’re big Colts fans, but everyone has lives going on and a bunch of moving parts. But this kind of put an increased emphasis on what we have here in Indy.”
The game didn’t go as planned. But for the Mabes, the trip more than made up for it.
“We’ll take the memories from Texas, even the end of the game, that was still something I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
A really exclusive experience saved for the most loyal fans is how Hall describes the trip.
“These are the types of things we like to do for our season ticket members. Obviously, we’re always thinking of new and creative ways to do things like that. Whether it’s sending someone to the draft to literally announce a draft pick, the early renewal incentive program trips (to Denver, London, and Green Bay), our season ticket member lunches,” he said. “We can never thank them enough.”
“It’s just one more reason to be a season ticket member.”
For information on becoming a Colts season ticket member, visit: http://www.colts.com/tickets/season-tickets/waitinglist.html.