I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post to bring you shamelessly biased, non-photography related commentary about the other man in my life. I usually only see him on Sundays and occasionally on a Monday or Thursday between the months of September and February, but they are cherished moments I look forward to with heartsick longing all week.
Don’t worry – Brian knows all about it and he’s totally cool with it. In fact, he encourages it by handing me an icy cold beer and taking the kids outside to play so I can enjoy unencumbered, quality time with this man. Well, several men actually, but of all my beloved Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning is the one I look forward to seeing the most every week during football season. Or at least I did…until his employer sent him packing last week. (C’mon, where did you think I was going with all this?).
If you’re a guy, skip ahead a few paragraphs. If you’re a girl and maybe you’ve gotten behind on your SportsCenter the past few days, let me just catch you up, girlfriend:
Peyton Manning is widely regarded as one of the top five greatest quarterbacks OF ALL TIME. In his 14 seasons as quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, he has steadily racked up a list of accomplishments that involve lots of impressive statistics and acronyms which you’ll never remember. He’s a record-holding, four-time league MVP and yes, he won the Superbowl during the 2006 Season. He’s an endorsement god. He’s committed to philanthropy. Think of it like this: he’s Oprah of the NFL minus the false eyelashes and superhuman ability to make people cry on national television. (Though he did make me cry during the 2003 AFC title game).
Manning is no commitment-phobe. He’s been playing for the Colts since he joined the league 14 seasons ago. Last week, however, the city of Indianapolis nearly declared a statewide emergency when owner and CEO, Jim Irsay, elected not to exercise a contract option that would pay Manning a $28 million bonus. Basically, he’s an expensive guy to have on the payroll at a time when the team needs the cash to rebuild their roster. The NFL is a business and not even the greatest player in the league is immune to budgetary realities.
This means Manning has been the belle of the ball this week in places like Denver and Phoenix with teams offering him their second string quarterback’s first born child in exchange for a Superbowl win. More importantly, this means I potentially have to start rooting for teams that wear colors like orange and blue together or have bird heads with furrowed unibrows on their helmets. My skin tone looks terrible in orange. See how devastating this is for me?
Even so, I’m no fair-weather fan. I remember the pre-Manning days when the Colts sucked so much that most of the State of Indiana had to be Bears fans, (except for the Southern part which is basically Kentucky anyway, so they don’t really count). I’m a girl from Indiana who will always talk trash about any team that plays the Colts (even when we’re losing). My point is that for me, it’s less about the game and more about getting fired up for quality people.
I don’t adore Peyton Manning because he’s conventionally handsome (he’s not) or because he wears tight pants on Sundays (I can go to the ballet for that and see hotter dudes in way better shape with a lot less…um, well…down field coverage let’s just say). I don’t go gaga for Manning because of his famously quirky pre-snap routine at the line of scrimmage, cute as it may be. I respect him because he’s the best at what he does and he works harder and smarter than anybody else for it.
I am energized and inspired by people all around me who smartly pursue a passion. Whether I’m reading their books and blogs, spending time with them over a cup of coffee, watching them win Superbowls on TV, or my personal favorite – kissing him good morning every day, I find value in populating my life with people that have different and greater talents and intellect than myself.
My Colts beer mug is already getting frosty in the freezer in anticipation of kick-off in September. And Peyton – I’m sorry darling; even though you’ll always be a Colt, please don’t take my trash talking personally when I see you on the other side this September. After all, it’s just a game, right?