I’m not from Indianapolis.
That’s what I used to say, anyway. I grew up in a suburb of New York City. (Sadly, I’m still a Mets fan.) I went to high school outside Chicago. I started at Butler in 1976 and have lived my entire adult life in Indiana. But I wasn’t from Indianapolis.
That was never Peyton Manning’s issue. He grew up in New Orleans and went to college in Tennessee. But Peyton Manning was from Indianapolis the instant his tasseled loafer touched Hoosier soil.
For a lot of people, it was Peyton Manning who made Indianapolis cool–and made it cool to be from Indianapolis. The deep irony is that Peyton Manning was the least cool person you ever met. I mean this as a compliment; we’ve had the pleasure of working with Peyton numerous times over the years, and he’s the most genuine, regular guys we’ve ever known. Smart, polite, hard-working–all these and everything else everyone’s saying about Peyton are true.
But his greatest, most lasting legacy may be Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent. Lots of people still labor under the misperception that Peyton works for Riley. Umm…no. This is a whole separate hospital that’s part of St.Vincent–and the work they do there every day is remarkable.
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Today, I don’t hesitate to say, “I’m from Indianapolis.” I love my city. I’m happy to live here. I came to grips with my Inner Hoosier pre-Peyton. But he changed everything. No one has done more to make it cool to be from Indianapolis than Peyton Manning.