The Indiana Pacers game Saturday night was throwback night for me. It sounded like there were almost as many people at
Conseco Fieldhouse rooting for the Boston Celtics as their were for the hometown Pacers.
In the 1980s, that was a common occurrence. There were always at least as many people cheering for Larry Bird and the Celtics or even the Showtime Lakers as there were for the Pacers.
And I hated it, even if Larry Legend was a hometown hero. It made Indianapolis look like a soft market with bandwagon fans, and I always envied places like Chicago where fans remained mostly loyal to the Cubs and Bears in good times and in bad. And heaven knows, there have been plenty of bad years in Chicago.
But I figured this weekend was an anomaly, with those fervent followers from New England coming in to our city for a two-game swing, catching the Celtics on Saturday and Patriots on Sunday against the Colts.
Here's hoping the Celtics' supporters Saturday were imported red coats and not local turncoats. Thing is, there were no more people rooting for the Patriots last Sunday than there were for the Houston Texans the Sunday before.
Now I have no problem with Hoosiers not going to the games because it’s too expensive or the game-time experience is not seen as the value it should be. But for locals to pay up, turn out and cheer for the visiting team … that I don’t quite understand.
I guess I’ve always been business-minded, even as a youth. And I could never understand cheering for a team that does nothing for your community—other than make a couple cameos a year.
The home team on the other hand has the potential to do so much more than win games. Even in lean years, they have the potential to bring the city national exposure, lure visitors, enliven downtown and create jobs. And in the best of times … well, we all have something to cheer about.