Scott Underwood: Of the Colts, the Patriots and botanical conservatories

·3 min read

Dec. 20—We long-suffering Indianapolis Colts fans would give just about anything to take down the New England Patriots, who have dashed our dreams for the better part of two decades.

Saturday night's showdown between the teams in Indianapolis was a chance to exact a little revenge against our old rival.

I couldn't wait to watch.

Problem was my wife had arranged an Airbnb for us Saturday in Fort Wayne to celebrate our wedding anniversary, which had been on Thursday. She'd made dinner reservations. She wanted to walk around downtown. And go to a botanical conservatory. And God knows what else.

Now, I like a good botanical conservatory as much as the next man. But I really couldn't stomach the idea of staring at yuccas, cacti and ferns while the Colts and Patriots did battle at Lucas Oil Stadium on national TV.

Yet, like a good husband, I would simply miss the game. And I would suffer in silence, then maybe slink out of bed at 1 a.m. to close myself in the bathroom and watch game highlights on my phone with the volume way down low.

Yes, it's a sad, shameful existence.

My noble intentions withered when I saw the TV in the Airbnb living room Saturday afternoon. The love of my life was napping in the bedroom, visions of botanical conservatories, no doubt, dancing in her head.

An hour later, she emerged from her nap to find me flipping aimlessly through the channels.

"We should watch 'Saturday Night Live' tonight," she said.

I couldn't resist. "Yeah, or the Colts game," I offered nonchalantly.

"What, the Colts are playing?"

"Tonight at 8:30."

"Well, you should watch them."

I hesitated, not sure I'd heard her right.

"No, I don't want that to change our plans," I assured her. "It's our anniversary."

"Our dinner reservation's at 6:30, and I don't have anything planned after that. Besides, I'm tired. I'll probably go to bed around 9."

Not wanting to spoil a good thing, I decided against pointing out the disconnect between watching "Saturday Night Live" and going to bed early.

At any rate, after a nice dinner, and a nice little walk around downtown and, oh, yes, a nice visit to the botanical conservatory, we'd had a nice anniversary celebration.

That's when I discovered that the Colts game was blacked out on network TV in Fort Wayne, and I'd have to find a sports pub that had NFL Network.

A half hour later, I had a booth with a TV smack-dab in front of me.

The game started with so much promise. Physically dominating the visiting Pats, Indy held a 20-point lead at the end of three quarters.

But by the time I had choked down the last of my hamburger and fries, the bottom was falling out.

Within 20 minutes, the loathsome Patriots scored two touchdowns and a field goal. Just like that, Indy's lead had shrunk to 20-17.

That old sinking feeling started in my gut, and it wasn't the burger and fries.

At one point, when Colts quarterback Carson Wentz threw a dying quail of an interception, I literally began banging my head on the table.

Then, suddenly, miraculously, the unexpected happened. Colts running back Jonathan Taylor burst through the line and outsprinted Patriots defenders 67 yards to the end zone.

"Yes! Yes!" I shouted, rising to my feet.

A waitress paused in front of me. Avoiding eye contact, she scuttled away.

I didn't care. The Colts had finally done it, finally beaten the Patriots.

I drove back to the Airbnb and crawled in bed to snuggle up to my wife.

I gave her a grateful hug, and then drifted off into a dream. I'll bet you can guess what it was about.

That's right: botanical conservatories.

Editor Scott Underwood's column appears Mondays in The Herald Bulletin. Contact him at scott.underwood@heraldbulletin.com or 640-4845.

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