LOPRESTI: I’m Lucas Oil Stadium, and I’d like your support

December 14, 2013

mike lopresti sportsMy fellow Hoosiers, Election Day is approaching and I am here to ask for your vote. My name is Lucas Oil Stadium, and I’m running for the office of best stadium in the NFL.

USA Today has a contest going to pick the finest pro football stadium in all the land. With the voting deadline Dec. 16, I’ve decided to take my case to the people. I open my heart, not to mention my roof, to you. I need a good turnout. You think I want to finish behind Soldier Field?

I thought about coming up with a catchy campaign slogan: “A Kinder and Gentler Stadium.” Or “I Like Luke.” But no.

Better to just state my case. I warm you in the Midwestern winter. Nobody has to go to a Colts game dressed like he’s a Sherpa working Mount Everest. You think you’re going to keep your gloves in your pocket at Lambeau Field? My only ice is in your soda cup.

I’ve tried to be good to the home team. Who thwarted the Manning invasion this year? Who slapped around the Seattle Seahawks?

But I can’t do it all. Don’t try to pin the Rams deal on me. I wasn’t returning kicks.

I’m not afraid to put my qualifications against the big spenders. Jerry’s World in Texas? Ask them if they’ve found those lost Super Bowl seats yet. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey? Let’s see how the Super Bowl customers like shivering in February, as they sit there trying to figure out if they’ve paid a thousand bucks to watch a football game or the Iditarod.

The Superdome is big, but so is a rhinoceros. Gillette Stadium can brag about all its championships, but if it’s that nice, how come Bill Belichick doesn’t smile more often under his hoodie?

Heinz Field in Pittsburgh? I’m going to lose to a place that has giant ketchup bottles on the scoreboard?

I have a Super Bowl championship banner, too. Maybe it was a hand-me-down from older brother, the late RCA Dome, but doesn’t it look good on me?

I also have tried to be a swell host for the Big Ten championship game. The Michigan State people had a good time, anyway. I was afraid to ask Urban Meyer how he liked me. After the Michigan and Ohio visitors slogged through winter storm Cleon to get here, I hope they appreciated my climate control. Best to keep the game here in the future, though I am always suspicious of that troublemaker Ford Field up at Detroit trying to steal it.

Unlike Congress, I get along with my colleagues, especially my neighbors. I am not jealous when everyone swoons over Hinkle Fieldhouse’s tradition. I just ask at which place they’d rather use the rest room.

It didn’t bother me that Bankers Life Fieldhouse got Barnum and Bailey’s elephants. Then the real circus came to town. LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Whenever Bankers Life gets full of itself, I just ask how many Final Fours it’s hosted.

I’m always glad to give directions to IUPUI’s Jungle, which is so hard to find, Tarzan would get lost. Just go to the swimming pool and turn left. 

I have so much to offer, even if the occasional rail collapses and my popcorn is salty enough to leave cardiologists aghast. I’m easy to find, since I’m as conspicuous as a 747 hangar in a soybean field. And in 10 minutes you can walk from my door to the statehouse, Monument Circle and a gazillion restaurants. They can probably see me from the international space station. You need a GPS to find FedEx Field.

My name might not have a lot of pizzazz, but at least it’s not strange. Arizona’s candidate is the University of Phoenix Stadium. The University of Phoenix doesn’t even have a football team.

But I know it’s an uphill battle. The media’s not on my side. That’s probably because watching a Colts game from the press box is like spending Sunday afternoon in the Goodyear blimp. 

Also, I don’t have a lot of really historic moments, except Super Bowl XLVI, and my team wasn’t even playing. If only I had an Ice Bowl.

But I’m campaigning to the last minute, promising dry seats and shirt sleeves for my playoff game next month. Plus one last pledge, if I can talk my team’s owner into it: Read my lips, no new tweets.•

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Lopresti is a lifelong resident of Richmond and a graduate of Ball State University. He was a columnist for USA Today and Gannett newspapers for 31 years; he covered 34 Final Fours, 30 Super Bowls, 32 World Series and 16 Olympics. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at mlopresti@ibj.com.

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