Sure, I had heard the rumors just like everyone else. But I had preferred to cling to a thin sliver of hope that cooler heads would prevail. I summoned all of my optimism and wished that my beloved Eagles would find a way to mend the battered relationship with their franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz.
Alas, that was not meant to be. And instead, I found myself grappling with the reality that my most revered player, a young man who I had held up to my children as an example, would be trading in his wings for horseshoes.
From his first day with the Eagles, Wentz showed class, professionalism, and tremendous character. I was impressed before he even threw a single pass. When he did get on the field, his star power was magnified. Remarkably, he won a starting job as a rookie and eventually propelled the team to the doorstep of their first-ever Super Bowl championship in his sophomore campaign.
Now, he was gone.
Still reeling, I turned to social media for solace. Perhaps the reports were untrue? Or maybe the deal would collapse due to some trivial, administrative detail?
Instead of comfort, I was confronted with a heartbreaking video of Eagles superfan, Giovanni Hamilton, wishing a teary-eyed farewell to his hero. Hamilton is a 13-year-old Pennsylvania podcaster who suffers from a condition called Schwartz-Jampel syndrome. Consistently refusing to be defined by his illness, Gio came onto my radar after a chance meeting with Wentz at Eagles training camp in 2019, a meeting which eventually went viral. During the brief rendezvous, Carson was predictably kind with the youngster, and the encounter seeded a genuine bond between the player and fan that persists to this day. Despite being perhaps the most positive person that I have ever encountered, Giovanni was rightfully emotional at his hero’s departure. It was devastating to watch.
Even as an adult, I found it difficult to navigate my feelings. I blamed the Eagles organization for failing to support their franchise quarterback. Angry and depressed, I longed for answers.
Then it occurred to me. After a lifetime of devoted Eagles loyalty, maybe it was time that I expanded my fandom to a second team. Indianapolis is in a different conference, so no conflict there. Propelled by her affinity for Peyton Manning, my own wife had once proudly donned the horseshoe. As a significant contributor to the Eagles magical championship season, Colts head coach, Frank Reich, will always hold a special place in my heart. There were a lot of positives to this idea. It was not as though Wentz had been traded to some loathsome franchise like the Patriots. I could do this. I could be a Colts fan!
Back to social media I headed, this time armed with a new, positive energy. I would explore Colts’ accounts to help me stay informed on the team and perhaps make a few friends along the way. After a single post seeking recommendations in this regard, I was flooded with folks looking to welcome me to Colts Nation. Accustomed to the rough and tumble Eagles community, I was completely shocked by the warmth of this new fan base. I felt at home almost immediately.
These new friendships continued to multiply and flourish over the ensuing weeks. However, when the Wentz trade became official on March 17th, I found that I had a lot of conflicting emotions. I was excited for my new Colt cohorts, but I was also selfishly melancholy at what might have been in Philadelphia. Struggling, I soldiered on and watched with pride as Carson conducted himself with his hallmark class during his introductory press conference. Two days later, Wentz would make a big impression on the once critical Pat McAfee during an appearance on his namesake show. Carson was already winning over the people of Indianapolis, and there was no turning back.
I decided that I needed to acquire some Indianapolis gear to cement my new fandom and lay waste to any lingering laments about Wentz’s departure from the Eagles. Still a novice and concerned about a potentially unsavory correlation to the Colts days in Baltimore, I thought it best to consult my Colts community about the retro logo’s viability before making a purchase. Not only were they overwhelmingly supportive of the classic look, one comrade went above and beyond, offering to send a complimentary care package to welcome me to the herd properly. When the package arrived a couple of weeks later, I was floored. It was bursting with merchandise; a hat, a scarf, a flag, sunglasses. All for a complete stranger. What an unbelievably generous gesture!
Fueled by such an exceptional fan base, my love for the Colts continued to blossom. I watched with wonder as Colts fans embraced my friend, Giovanni Hamilton. In fact, the Colts organization itself even joined the fray, sending a newly-minted Wentz jersey, which Gio donned with pride as he unveiled his hero’s new number.
And the fan support is not merely reserved for Carson and his supporters. T.Y. Hilton and his recent dance with free agency can attest to that. My timeline was brimming with Colt fans effusive in their praise, all intent to #BringTYHome. Towards the end of the movement, a virtual talent show emerged featuring devotional songs and even a ventriloquist act designed to catch the eye of the talented wideout. Upon eventually re-signing with the team, Hilton admitted that he had seen these extraordinary messages and was ultimately swayed by the outpouring of support. The Colt players can sense that same ubiquitous positivity that I had was baptized into. In fact, they crave it, and who could blame them?
The culmination of my personal Colts onboarding brings me here to The Blue Stable. As a writer, I can think of no better place to hone my abilities than this grassroots platform dedicated to all things Colts. For those of you who have already welcomed me, I cannot thank you enough for your incredible graciousness and generosity. And for those of you for whom this article may be your first impression, I hope I have made a favorable one. Perhaps I’ve changed your outlook on the maligned Eagles fan? If nothing else, I hope you’ll allow me to pay forward the positive impact that Colts Nation has had on me. I pledge to dedicate myself to content that is on par with your greatness, and I thank you for reading. Be well, and go Colts!