My move to Indy in the mid-90s coincided with some great sport moments for that town. I’ll never forget how fun May was when the Pacers were in the playoffs and the race was happening across town. And then Peyton Manning came to town and the Colts were suddenly fun to watch. I remember being impressed by Peyton when he was in college and then to have him in my hometown I became more impressed. He wasn’t just a great football player – he was a great member of the community.
I have always been a sucker for a tall athlete who is good on and off the field 🙂
So I became a Colts fan and a big Peyton Manning fan. I’ve told more than one person the story about how I ran into Peyton at the grocery store. I was shopping at night and there was hardly anyone there, he kind of stuck out. But all I could think was that he was shopping at night to avoid being mobbed. So instead of asking him to sign my grocery list – I just nodded and smiled every time we passed each other in the aisles.
And there was that one time when I got to watch the Giants play the Colts – the Manning bowl. And literally bumped into Archie Manning in the hallway. Very cool.
But now… thanks to the beauty of the Internet… I can call Peyton Manning my friend:
See, for about a week now my son has been telling me that he doesn’t like school and doesn’t need it anyway. He’s going to grow up to be a football player so why does he even need to do his math homework?!? I’ve been telling him that all jobs need a good education. He’s not buying it. So yesterday I told him that if I asked a professional football player, I bet they would agree with me. His response? “Yeah, right.”
So I did some digging and sent a tweet to Peyton Manning: “my 8yo son thinks school isn’t important if he wants to be an athlete. Pls help me tell him otherwise.”
And later that night, I got a response. After a few brief exchanges, I received this direct message in three parts:
Football is 70% physical, and 30% mental. If you wanna be a pro its gonna take hard work and dedication, it won’t be easy. Let me tell you, when you get into high school. You gotta be smart and your grades will decide if you get to play football. Believe me buddy, I’ve been there and the rule to get into the NFL, is you have to go to college for at least 3 years but if you work hard, you can be a superstar!!
I showed it to my son who suddenly grew very serious. “Is that really from Peyton Manning?… so when do I need to start working hard for high school?”
Mission accomplished. I always knew I liked that #18.
(And no Twitter geeks, it’s not a verified account yet but it’s fairly new and based on the timeline content I honestly think it’s real. I dug around a lot before I reached out. Don’t rain on my parade.)