I left home a little after 8 am, thinking I would arrive in time to be there before the players came out for practice at 9:30. Ha! Little did I know just how many people attend these things. As soon as I got into town and crossed Scatterfield Rd. I saw signs where you could park for $5. I knew the University was charging $10, and I figured they already have enough of my money; plus the lot I saw was almost full when I got there... So I pulled in and parked right beside another charcoal Ford Focus. Then I started the walk to the practice field. You could only walk in certain areas, and pretty soon everything funneled into one sidewalk that everyone had to enter on. I swear it must have taken me a half an hour to get to the field. It was wall to wall people, and we took a few stops, then stopped; took a few steps, then stopped. I was starting to get claustrophobic and I hadn't even seen anything yet! I finally wound my way to the entrance - which just happened to be right by Dunn Hall, which was son Isaac's home the first 2 years of college. Then... once you got back by the football field, it was like a circus. There were blow-up games and concession stands, and souvenir shops, and tents, and all kinds of other stuff. It was just a bit nuts.
I finally made my way into the football field area, and it was pretty full of people too. I found a nice spot along the fence behind the people in wheelchairs. I watched the backs practice there for awhile. Then they called everybody together and they ran through plays as a team. I walked around to the other side of the field and checked out some different spots. There were people everywhere. I was a little bummed that they weren't wearing pads. I didn't even think about that. So there was no contact. It was also really quiet, I thought. The players were quiet. Every now and then a fan would shout something out. It was also interesting - in light of the Brett Favre brewhaha recently - that Peyton Manning was out there doing the exact same things everyone else was doing. He was no different than anyone else. The same with Dwight Freeney, and all of them.
Later on I went and stood under a tent for a bit, because the sun was a tad warm. I was just south of the bleachers, and not too far from the fence. A coach blew his whistle and called the team together in the middle of the field, then all of a sudden players took off. Most of them went out the players exit (we weren't allowed there), but some spread out and ran towards the fences. Just then I noticed that Peyton Manning was running towards the fence right in front of me! Had I been paying attention I could have been first in line to get an autograph. But I wasn't paying attention, and I didn't have a pen anyway. So I stood and watched the people just swarm to that area. I needed to leave because I was starting to freak out. So I headed toward the bleachers (where everyone was coming FROM). I got down a ways and a lady was getting an autograph from an older man along the fence. He kind of looked at me as I approached... I smiled at him; he smiled at me. I had no idea who he was. I got up into the bleachers to look over the situation and the guy behind me says, "Why didn't you get Bill Polians autograph?" Ha! I didn't know he was the president of the Colts. Oh well.
Just then Isaac texted me that he was on his way to the stadium. It still hadn't dawned on me that the morning practice was over. It was only like 10:45 or 11 o'clock. So, I mosied around and trudged through the crowd back towards the entrance. I met up with Isaac and showed him around the circus area. Then we headed to Perkins to get lunch. It took us forever to get there because of all the people in town. I think this should help out Anderson's economy a little bit.
All in all it was a pretty fun time. Practice wasn't much to watch, but it was neat seeing all the people - some were quite decked out in Colts paraphernalia. Isaac and I accidentally happened to wear blue shirts at least, so that was good. Here are a few of the picks I took. Click on the pic to enlarge it.
You can see Peyton Manning just to the left of the football held in the air. He came here to sign autographs right after practice (only so many sign autographs each day).
This was right after I got there - I watched the offensive backs practice. That's Peyton with the ball (#18).
The offense was in white, and the defense in blue jerseys. Peyton is on the far right in this picture.
These cheerleaders were signing autographs all morning. There was a long line from start to finish.