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Hoosiers’ time to shine

My Opinion
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor

As of Friday, the New England Patriots football team was a three-point favorite over the New York Giants to win Super Bowl XLVI.
However, the real winner will be the city of Indianapolis and, hopefully, other locations throughout the Hoosier state as thousands of fans of one of America’s pastimes travel to Indiana for the big game. The only thing that would have made it better is if the Colts were playing.
Those of us who call Indiana home already know it’s a great place to live. And the state has hosted numerous sporting events through the years, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Fours, the Pan Am games and Olympic Trials, and we are the home of the ‘greatest spectacle in racing,’ the Indianapolis 500.
Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in August 2008, is a beautiful facility that usually seats 63,000 for football contests. An additional 7,000 seats have been made available for Sunday’s game.
The city invested about $3 billion since it was awarded the Super Bowl in May 2008 by the National Football League’s team owners. The return-on-investment, hopefully, will have a lasting impact on its residents.
One amenity is skywalks that link 12 downtown hotels with Circle Centre Mall and the Indiana Convention Center. We know how harsh Hoosier winters can be, so it’s nice to be able to walk through downtown Indy without feeling those elements. And there have been numerous upgrades to interstates and other roadways in the area. That will benefit any of us who drive in the Circle City.
Sure, down here in Southern Indiana we may feel a little left out of the festivities. I know I wish I was closer to the enjoy them. However, children from Harrison County, as well as those from the state’s other 91 counties, decorated more than 36,000 cards that will be placed in hotel rooms for Super Bowl guests. Those cards have writings and drawings about their favorite Indiana things. Perhaps the guests will visit other sites in the state now or in the future.
There are also numerous events taking place before Sunday’s kick-off that are free of charge to anyone. So, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t purchase a high-priced Super Bowl ticket. These activities, which include a zip-line ride, are detailed online at Stop by the Indiana Convention Center to see the NFL Experience or stroll along the Georgia Street pedestrian mall, where the Super Bowl Village is located, for a three-block interactive festival. Want a picture to commemorate your Super Bowl trip? Try the Monument Circle, where 30-foot Super Bowl Roman numerals have been erected.
Preparing for something this huge takes a lot of work. Stats say that 60 volunteer committees, led by 150 co-chairs and more than 800 committee members and more than 8,000 front-line volunteers have been involved.
So, regardless if you’re a Giants or Patriots’ fan, let’s all cheer for Indiana to come out on top!