The eyes of the sports world will be on Indianapolis this week, as the city prepares to host its seventh NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship.
March Madness is in the air…and by the time the calendar turns to April, it’ll be game on!
It’s true. We’ve had a little controversy here. You may have heard about it. Like a family, we Hoosiers have our differences and we’re working through them. But this is the Final Four, and right now…it’s all about basketball!
If you’re heading to Indy this week, here’s what you need to know:
We’re pretty easy to find. If you’re coming from Kentucky, go north…Michigan, south…Wisconsin, get to Chicago, then go south…North Carolina, head west. And watch out for potholes, or as they’re known in Indiana…sinkholes.
Once you get here, just head downtown. That’s where all the action is. And park your car, because you won’t really need it. You’ll find everything you need right there. And some things you don’t. Like a creepy statue of John Wooden. You’ll know it when you see it.
We decorated for you. There are basketballs and Final Four signs everywhere. There’s even a giant bracket (the biggest in the world, I’m told) covering one whole side of the JW Marriott hotel. No, you can’t burn it if your team loses. But you can cry. There’s a lovely canal that runs through downtown to catch your tears.
We have memorials everywhere. Indianapolis is second only to Washington, D.C. when it comes to the number of monuments dedicated to veterans. And no, there’s no statue of Peyton Manning. Not yet, anyway. We’re working on that.
While you’re here, you should really visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IndyCar was born in Indiana and the season is in full gear. The month of May is right around the corner and they’re preparing to host the biggest sporting event in the world and the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500. So, how can you not visit the Racing Capital of the World while you’re in the Sports Capital of the World? They’ll even take you around the track on a bus or better yet, in an IndyCar! And it’s only about 15 minutes from downtown (by regular car).
Hoosiers are friendly folks. Most of us will talk to anyone about anything. If you’re looking to start up a conversation with a local, here are two safe bets: “What’s up with the weather?” and “When is Paul George coming back?” No one knows the answer to either, but they’re sure to give you an opinion. And if you want to chime in, just say “spring.” It works in either case.
You’ll also find many helpful Hoosiers around town to assist you and direct you on your way. Hundreds of people have put in thousands of hours (most of them unpaid) to welcome visitors here with the warm Hoosier hospitality we’re known for. Why? Because we love our city and we love to share it with you. Also, we don’t have any teams left in the tournament and we have to make ourselves useful somehow.
This is what Indianapolis lives for. This is what Indianapolis plans for. This is what Indianapolis does (and does better than anyone else).
So, my plea to visitors and media members and sports figures in Indy this week is this: Judge us on our actions. Not our politics.
Because I promise you, for all the stereotypes created by one bill, there are millions of Hoosiers ready and waiting to prove them wrong.
This is Indiana. My Indiana.
Take some time to get to know us. And we’ll extend the same courtesy to you. Because in Indiana, we’re open to all. Just like we always have been. And nothing makes us happier than seeing visitors enjoy our city the same way we do.
Welcome to Indy!
It’s win or go home…
But, we hope you’ll want to return regardless.
Now, let’s watch some basketball!