It’s oftentimes hard for fans to remember that behind the games we love to attend and watch, professional sports (and I would even argue college sports) are a business. Everyone involved from the owners all the way down to the stadium workers and anyone in between make decisions every day that may not be in the best interest of the fans. Even the athletes aren’t immune to this. I still remember my heartbreak when Jacoby Ellsbury left for the Yankees after the Red Sox 2013 title. But he made the decision that was best for him- he’s got paid way too much to be average to below average, and way more than the Red Sox knew he was worth (apologize for the cheap shots, I may still not be over it).
We got to see some of that heartbreak firsthand during our first night in Indianapolis. It was the first return of Paul George, who had been their superstar for years before demanding a trade. The Pacers begrudgingly obliged and traded him to the Thunder in return for a couple of relatively unproven players: Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The narrative immediately after the trade was pretty close to unanimous that the Pacers had gotten the short end of the deal, but Oladipo had been a pleasant surprise in his increased role and was thriving in the state where he went to college. The Thunder superstars, on the other hand, hadn’t quite figured out how they could all coexist. Even so, the Indianapolis fans were none too pleased with the man they used to love, and we couldn’t wait to help them show their displeasure!
Starting in Indianapolis, we made the step up from private room to private home for our AirBnB. Granted, we were still on the property they were living on, but we were in the cutest little backyard addition that was perfectly furnished, adorable, and easily accessible. This is the only one we’ve ever stayed in that Joel made sure I noted so that we could use it again if we ever come back. Indianapolis in general was less expensive for AirBnB than all the other cities, but we really felt like we got a ton of bang for our buck. One note, however, is that when you’re in situations when you’re accessing your spot via the back yard, make sure you get the address right. We may or may not have inadvertently trespassed on their neighbor’s property.
Our check-in time was pretty late in the afternoon, so beforehand we decided to stop at the Edinburgh Outlet malls just outside of town. I judge all outlet malls by their Nike outlet, and this may have been one of the best we’ve been to. We bought 4 pairs of shoes for under $100, and it isn’t like we were settling for shoes because they were cheap. I’m even wearing a pair we got there today!
Despite all the driving (nearly 5 hours from Cleveland) this was one of my favorite days of the Midwest Winter trip. I’m bummed they don’t have a baseball team, because I want an excuse to go back! When do they host the next men’s basketball Final Four?
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.