The Super Bowl: It’s not just for Sundays

Superbowl XLVI

All photos in this post are by hubsterdisney from thisphotoset which is CC BY-NC 2.0

I feel like I left Indianapolis and they’re having a big party without me, probably because I left Indianapolis and they’re having a big party without me. Indianapolis is hosting of the 46th Super Bowl this week which means everyone gets a 20-foot tall lesson in Roman numerals.

Roman numerals

Indy has been prepping for this event for years, and you could hardly go a month in that town without hearing something about it on the news. They expanded the convention center and even built a shiny new hotel. (Literally, very shiny.) But it wasn’t until I saw the photos and videos published this week that I started to comprehend that the Super Bowl isn’t just about dozens of hulky men running around a fake grass field. This is, like, a FESTIVAL.

I lived in Louisville, Kentucky for eight years, so I am no stranger to the Derby Festival that runs for two weeks, a somewhat absurd amount of time to spend revving up for an event that takes about two minutes to complete. But hey, they shoot tons of fireworks off the Ohio River and there’s a balloon race that’s usually cancelled for weather and even a half-marathon that detours onto the track at Churchill Downs, so a good time is had by all.

The Super Bowl is evidently the same sort of event, something that gives the city an excuse to PAH-TAY! They started closing downtown streets and setting things up over a week in advance of the game. There are too many concerts and live stages for me to count. They’ve installed tons of heat lamps on the street, which I wish they would keep up indefinitely. (After all, I am the woman who moved 600 miles away to escape the cold Indiana winter.) To add to the confusion, streets are now sporting new signs naming them after football teams.

Where the streets have new names

There are 36 Indy racecars lined up on Meridian Street, each one skinned with the colors and logos of an NFL team. Around the corner from that Jimmy Fallon is filming his show live from Indy all week. I also learned the downtown Nordstrom’s had closed because they’re now using the space as a “Huddle” spot to warm up at if you’ve gotten cold wandering around the blocked off streets. Or you can get your blood flowing by jumping in a huge hamster wheel and attempting to run 100 yards for the win.

That is the biggest hamster I've ever seen

The biggest attraction appears to be the zip line they’ve set up on Capitol Avenue, a street that they’ve covered in Astroturf and renamed Touchdown Alley. Zip lines are the trendy new thing that have popped up in places like the Vancouver Olympics and in Las Vegas on Fremont Street.

Touchdown alley

I used to drive down Capitol Avenue every day on my way home from work, but never once did I think, “Geez, I really wish I could zip line home instead.” Obviously I wasn’t being creative enough in my mode of transportation. I bet it’s rather cold zipping across downtown like that, so I hope everyone is bundled up under their safety helmets. That is, if you can make it to the top of the stairway. View a video of an Indy Star reporter zipping down the line here.

Zip line

Indy really is a nice town, and if it didn’t get so effing cold and grey in the winter I probably would have stayed there. The stadium and convention center and hotels are all close together downtown, so you can walk anywhere you need to go. Which is good because you won’t be driving. The traffic must be crazy right now, so I’m glad I don’t work downtown anymore. Under normal circumstances I would often got annoyed by single lane closures for construction, and there was that one time my route to the Tea Room was totally blocked by a gay pride parade. They’ve even blocked off several roads near my old apartment in Broad Ripple, which was already difficult to get to because of narrow roads and heavy pedestrian traffic. I guess that’s what happens when George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars perform at a stone’s throw away from the trail I used to run on.

Before I saw all these pictures of the festivities I was glad I wasn’t in Indy anymore because I wouldn’t have to deal with the traffic and a city so packed that people were renting out their houses to strangers for big profits. But now I have to admit I’m a bit bummed that I don’t have a chance to see all the crazy up close and personal. It’s made me think that I make far too many decisions in my life based on traffic. Perhaps it is worth idling in a car for an hour to experience certain things. My hatred of gridlock is pretty strong though. Maybe I can start taking a zip line every where instead.

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Debbi Does Dinner Healthy • February 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Traffic is a good excuse to make life decisions. You might be feeling left out only because you’re not actually there, if you were still living there, there is a good chance that you’d be writing about how you were hibernating this weekend to get away from the crazies. It might be just a matter of perspective. I have to shake my head at the crazies, I mean, it ‘s a 3 1/2 hour game. The lengths and money people will go through for a game is amazing.

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Mary Jo • February 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

I love Indianpolis and I’m an Ohio girl. You can walk to practically everything. And there is nothing like going to the Rathskellar and partying to the Polka Boys. I’m kind of disappointed we won’t be there this weekend to see all the preparations and be in on the excitement. Great place to get away and have fun…and of course eat.

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Karen • February 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

It DOES get crazy. Believe me, if you were still living there – you would (1) be sick of it already and (2) yes, be hibernating to get away from it. I remember from when we had the circus, uh, I mean “game.” It is just crazy!

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Michelle • February 4, 2012 at 9:10 am

Traffic is an excellent excuse for moving, I’ve lived in the suburbs of DC for almost 17 years and I’d give my left arm to be someplace where I don’t have to deal with traffic during good parts of the day. We moved here from South Central Wisconsin to get away from the cold and gray, and I don’t for a minute regret that. The traffic and the attitude a lot of folks around these parts fall into when the get behind the wheel is for the birds. All that being said I know I would miss this place if we did actually move, just like I miss the way Wisconsinite’s talk and winter so cold it makes your nose hairs freeze.

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