More Than a Game | Online Exclusives, Feb. 2012

More Than a Game

The Super Bowl brings more to Indy than just football and traffic

Online Exclusives

Indianapolis takes on Super Bowl XLVI. Photo courtesy 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

For more reasons than can be explained in one short post, I’m not a sports fan. At all. Not even a little. So when Indianapolis proudly announced that it would host the 2012 Super Bowl a few years ago, I thought, Oh, it’s a long way away, and went on with my life.

Surprise.

It’s 2012.

For people like me, the Super Bowl, which guarantees it will be hard to navigate downtown for at least one solid week, seems more of a headache than anything else.

I understand the excitement of hosting the biggest football game in the world, but I still wasn’t convinced. So, I planned my Super Bowl weekend around finishing season five of The Cosby Show on Netflix and eating three bags of microwave popcorn.

Redirecting the spotlight
As the event drew nearer, I began to think more about what this opportunity means for Indianapolis. How could I have been so stupid? All of the extra visitors? All of the national attention? It could mean awareness for more than just football. Awareness for small businesses, charities, nonprofits and vendors. The more I started reading about activities around the mega sporting event, it became clear there were benefits beyond the obvious economic ones. Here are just a few:

Indy’s Super Cure: The Super Bowl Host Committee joined forces with the Susan G. Komen For Cure Tissue Bank and IU Health to run Indy’s Super Cure. The event was held at the IU Simon Cancer Center with the intended goals of raising funds for the tissue bank, to reach a wider range of potential tissue donors and to support increased breast cancer research. During the donation drive Jan. 28-29, they reached their goal of 700 tissue donations.

Touchdown Breakfast: There’s plenty of publicity surrounded the star-studded charity events where athletes and celebrities make an appearance, pose for photo ops and leave.

But there are other grassroots charity events establishing a sense of community and camaraderie along with raising money. It’s refreshing to hear about events like the Touchdown Breakfast at O’Charley’s in Greenfield.

Though not nearly as large as a lot of Indianapolis events, the breakfast is only $5 and benefits F.U.S.E., a nonprofit that supports families who have kids with special needs. This organization has the chance to work in its community and raise money thanks to out-of-town guests, an opportunity that wouldn’t occur without the Super Bowl’s presence.

It’s perfect for people who can’t afford to drop a year’s salary on a table at a cocktail party to be in the same building as Tom Brady.

The Party With A Purpose: I’ll make one last point and rest my case. Most of the events that stand to benefit Indy are taking place at bars or nightclubs and feature names of A- or B-list celebrities. More than likely, they will be crowded and expensive.

If you’re looking for something to do after heading out to the NFL Experience or Super Bowl Village, try out The Party With A Purpose, hosted by the Taste of the NFL, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger. The Party With A Purpose, which will be held at Gleaner’s Food Bank Feb. 4, will benefit not only the Indianapolis food bank, but food banks in 32 NFL cities.

Sure, it’s expensive — we’re talking $600 expensive. If you can afford a swanky NFL party, this one definitely should be on your list. The rest of us will be at O’Charley’s.

If you’re not sure what to do this weekend and you’d rather avoid the hustle and bustle of Super Bowl Village, find out which charity events are going on in your area.

The Super Bowl action isn’t just downtown. It’s everywhere. You can find meaningful ways to get involved –– even if you don’t like sports as much as me.


Christine is an Indy native, DePauw grad and professional writer who loves music, sarcasm, dark chocolate, cats and calling herself a professional writer. She hates Facebook but lurks obsessively on Twitter (@christine_huds).

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