This is Indiana: My Love Letter to The Hoosier State

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You can barely see it when the leaves are on the trees. But one day, I saw it. And I went over to take a look. And then I took a picture.

An old basketball hoop. At the end of a gravel lot. That backs up to a wooded lot. Next to the old white house across the street.

And a little piece of Indiana history.

Who used to play there? Did they go to Broad Ripple High School? And go on to play in college? Where are they now? Do they know the hoop is still here? And how long has it been since someone stood under it trying to put up a shot? As I ponder this, I can almost hear the sound of the ball bouncing, the bang of the rim, the swish of the basket…

Now there’s an orange public hearing sign in front of the white house. Which makes me sad. Because it tells me that someday that rusty old hoop probably won’t be there.

It’s not that I’m against progress. If it weren’t for progress, I wouldn’t live in a neighborhood like this.

But it still makes me sad.

It was love that brought me to Indiana. But in the process, I fell in love with Indiana.

When I first moved to The Hoosier State, I didn’t know what a Hoosier was. And no one could really explain it to me. Indiana University defines a Hoosier as:

“Any person who has spent at least part of his or her life in the great State of Indiana.”

By that definition, I am a Hoosier.

But, what I’ve discovered over the last decade, is that Hoosiers are honest, hardworking people who love their God, love their families, and love their basketball.

Now, when people ask me what a Hoosier is, I tell them, “It means something a little different to everyone. You kind of have to figure it out for yourself. But caring enough to figure it out is a good start.”

For me, it took something I walked by every day, but never saw. And now, I can’t stop looking at it.

Because every day it reminds me what Indiana is.

This is Indiana.

And I am a Hoosier.

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