Actually, we invited ourselves by springing for a table at the fourth annual Celebration of Caring Gala to benefit Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent. It’s the first big event to be held at the brand-new J.W. Marriott–the spectacular new hotel in Downtown Indianapolis. Our host for the evening will be NBC’s Bob Costas. The entertainment will be provided by Kenny Chesney. This is no small affair.
Of course, we also get to hang out a little with Peyton Manning, with whom we’ve been fortunate to work for years–first for Bill Estes Chevrolet, then for St.Vincent. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to work with him, and we’re always grateful for the time we get.
Folks, I’m here to tell you: being Peyton Manning cannot be easy. He can’t go anywhere without being mobbed. I have seen crowds collapse on him, waving papers and bobblehead dolls for him to sign, demanding a piece of him. Imagining that he owes them something. I have been the guy standing between Peyton and the crowd, telling them I’m sorrysorrysorry, but Peyton has to leave. It’s more than a little scary. He’s certainly well compensated for his trouble. But I, for one, would not trade places with him.
So it’s particularly special that Peyton would allow the full wattage of his star power to shine for tonight’s event. The sole purpose is to raise money for one of the best causes we know: Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.
And if we’re privileged to work with Peyton, we’re doubly so to work for the hospital. Every time we go, we’re moved by stories of doctors and nurses and St.Vincent associates working every day to improve the lives of kids who are sick. Kids with heart problems, breathing problems, rare bone diseases. Kids with cancer. Who face the conditions that bring them here with such quiet grace that is breaks our hearts and inspires us to want to tell their stories with enough power and passion to inspire others.
Tonight, the stars will be out in Indianapolis. We’ll dress in our fanciest cocktail attire. We’ll get our pictures taken with Peyton. We’ll rub elbows with surgeons and business leaders and the lords and ladies of the Indianapolis social scene. We’ll enjoy a fabulous dinner at a gorgeous new venue. When Kenny Chesney hits the stage, we’ll be boot scootin’ across the dance floor. (And by “boot scootin’,” I mean “pogoing.” I’m afraid it’s still the only way I know how to dance.)
Sure, we’re there to see and be seen, to schmooze and dance and have fun. And all those things are great–
–but, the fact is, I’m an introvert. Parties make me tired. Big parties exhaust me. There’s really only one reason for me to go to an event like this one. See below.
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