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XLVI - The Sweet Super Bowl Hangover & the IMA
Spud Webb & Joey Greco Were Here!!!!
Like almost everyone here, I applaud Indianapolis’ planning and execution in hosting Super Bowl XLVI. Local movers/ shakers prepared well, exhibited some creativity, and even stole some good ideas – the zip-line from Vancouver and the last Winter Olympics – and managed to turn the Super Bowl Village - Monument Circle to Georgia Street - into what I heard aptly described as a French Quarter Light. It was an amazing week in which sleep was gladly sacrificed and the national media largely praised our fair city. A good time was seemingly had by all, with the exceptions of M.I.A. and Tom Brady's wife.
NOW LET’S DO IT FOR US
A friend described cities like Fresno, Oklahoma City and Indianapolis in the same boat, as “having a chip on their shoulder.” Places that have something to prove to the big boys, in other words. Harboring a grudge, they try harder. Indy might have crossed that threshold in some ways by pulling off this Super Bowl caper with some aplomb. At least one hopes so because if we can shed our unspoken inferiority complex and the desire to ‘please important company’ when it pops into town - usually in the guise of some national sporting event - perhaps Indy can go to the next step.
So now, why let downtown return to a canyon of overpriced hook-up bars and steak houses? The prolonged party that was Super Bowl Village emanated a vibe heretofore unknown in these parts that can be a gateway toward a new dynamic. A big-ass winter street festival every February is one idea; an annual barrage of bands, food, drink, zipline-esque adventures, and general city-swagger that shuts down the triangle from the Circle southward to the Pacers Fieldhouse and brings the local denizens back into the streets every winter. Some version of said, anyway. Let’s just do it for us from here on out.
Took my two boys downtown on Super Bowl Sunday to bask in the atmosphere. On the drive home, we passed some seriously decaying neighborhoods around Sherman and Prospect. It was a stark reminder that a city is far more than its shiniest components.
In the run-up to the Super Bowl, our mayor, a corrupt buffoon named Greg Ballard, announced his enthusiastic support for a comprehensive smoking ban in bars, etc., which he has since reneged on. Similarly, the mayor announced his support for a long-needed local mass-transit system following his re-election in November. Seemed odd when he announced support for anything so bold by local standards – contrary to his past low expectation-conservative ethic. Time will tell whether he pulls the plug on this promise too.
OTHER STUFF WHILE I’M @ IT
Let’s push this nascent civic pride wave as far as possible. If we can’t fix up crack-infested ‘hoods, go smoke-free, and get a decent local rail system, we can still push the envelope in other ways. Take the Indianapolis Museum of Art, for example. Picturesque, wooded grounds that provide a great backdrop for the Penrod Arts Fair each September. But the museum itself – please. Here’s where perhaps we can take some cues from other cities. The artwork displayed in the IMA is uninspired and pedestrian at best. Take a stroll through and you tell me if it appeals to your creative side or would make the “average person” more art appreciative.
Memo to the NFL: Dole out future Super Bowls to Wichita, Anchorage, or Fargo next chance you get. The undersized, cold-weather cities with a chip on their shoulder try harder.