On September 23, I went to my first NFL game! I got the opportunity to go to this game through the National Guard. They ask soldiers to go to Indy to help with flag detail at the beginning of the game. Flag detail is when they have a huge, field-sized, American flag stretched out across the field during the national anthem. In return, they would give us a free meal and free tickets to the game!
I woke up around 5am that morning to meet up with a couple of sergeants at the armory to make the trip down to Indianapolis. On the way down we had a little extra time to kill and stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s. Eventually we found parking and made our way to the stadium. I never knew how big the stadium was until I walked right up next to it. Of course you can see the massive building from the highway, but that doesn’t do it justice. We waited around a bit before they took us to the field to practice. The flag was already stretched out and we picked it up and practiced waving it and scooping it up in a timely manner. This huge line would form when we picked up the flag and carried it off the field.
After practice, they gave us some time to walk around the stadium, go to the pro shop gift store, and head out to the tailgate area. Our armory drove down their national guard hummer and in the back they had a Xbox set up with Madden in the system. We hung outside for a little while until it was time to go back to the stadium to do the actual thing before thousands of people in the stadium.
We picked up the flag and walked out to the sideline. The players were being introduced as they ran out of their respected tunnels. It was so awesome to be right down on the field for that. I was holding one of the shorter sides of the flag, so I was standing in the end zone when some players came running right towards me to take a knee in the end zone right behind me. National cameras and photographers all around me getting the best pictures of the big athletes. The national anthem was sung right behind me as I held a part of that flag. It was a crazy awesome experience that I will never forget.
After the flag responsibility was over, we got our tickets and found our seats to enjoy the game. It was very different from watching NFL on television. There were two huge jumbotrons at Lucas Oil. The Colts ended up losing a tough fought game, but overall the time I had, was priceless!
This was something to cross off of my Bucket List!