Horses of a similar color
Sunday was about as good as a sports day can be in Indianapolis.
The Colts pulled off one of the most miraculous comebacks in the history of the NFL playoffs in the afternoon, overcoming a 38-10 deficit to win by a point. Then in the evening the Pacers, relegated to a regular season game with New Orleans, came back from a 14-point first quarter deficit to win by 17.
So much drama for one day. Enough to spoil an entire fan base.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel took advantage of the rare duplication to open his postgame address with the media by praising the “one heck of a comeback” and the “heart and the guts” that it required. The assumption of course was that he was talking about his own team, until he dropped the punch line: “Congrats to the Colts.”
The Colts and Pacers are indeed horses of a same color, aren’t they? Blue and white. Blue and gold. It all comes out the same in the wash.
The Colts have a young budding superstar in 24-year-old Andrew Luck. The Pacers have one in 23-year-old Paul George. The Colts have a roster filled with other star performers capable of carrying the load. So do the Pacers. The Colts have a head coach in Chuck Pagano who operates like a sunflower, always in search of a bright ray of hope. The Pacers have one in Vogel. The Colts have a mature leader in wide receiver Reggie Wayne. The Pacers have one in David West. The Colts, generally, are a young, improving team that could remain competitive for seasons to come. So are the Pacers.
2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Calendar, which gives those fans looking for omens a reason to join in all the optimism. The Pacers, remember, are primarily named after the horses – pacers – who competed in the harness races at the State Fairgrounds track across from the Coliseum where they first played in the ABA.
The Colts have a long way to go to win a championship this season, the Pacers even further. But both teams are in the hunt, and both are giving fans a double-shot of good fortune. Some cities wait decades for performers and people the caliber of Luck and George. To get both at once seems nearly selfish. And this comes on the heels of the eight years when Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Pacers guard Reggie Miller – a future Hall of Famer and an inducted one – both plied their trades in town.
No matter how the respective seasons end, fans shouldn’t take it for granted. They’ve seen both franchises struggle enough in past seasons to realize how difficult it is to come by situations such as this. For two teams to be playing at these current levels is nearly more than any city deserves.