It took just 25 seconds Saturday. 25 seconds and the RCA Dome, former home of the Indianapolis Colts, was a pile of rubble. As the dust cloud floated west and settled on downtown Indianapolis, the memories of 24 years came flooding back; the first basketball game played in the dome between the NBA All-stars and the Olympic Team; Bobby Knight and the IU players spelling out “THANKS!” on the floor after an NCAA tournament practice; the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen concerts; my oldest son playing 3 on 3 basketball on the turf of the football field; and of course, the Colts. Thousands suffered through the “lean years” of the Dolts when the stadium as rarely, if ever, sold out. And, who could forget the greatest game ever played in the dome, when our Colts rallied from a huge deficit to defeat the Patriots and head to the Super Bowl…and the victory celebration that followed in February as the team brought home the Lombardi Trophy?
Across the street is Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home of the Colts. It is a great place to watch a game and I am sure it will soon be filled with memories just as the dome had been. Just a few blocks west sits Victory Field the home of the Indianapolis Indians since 1996, and a great place to watch baseball. Their previous home, Bush Stadium, sits vacant, neglected and overgrown. A couple of blocks in the other direction is Conseco Fieldhouse where the Indiana Pacers have played since 2001. Their former home, Market Square Arena, has been paved over for a parking lot.
Sunday’s news carried, not only coverage of the implosion of the RCA Dome, but the announcement by IUPUI that they planned to tear down the Indianapolis Tennis Center and the Carroll Track & Field Stadium.
According to the IRS, the depreciation for commercial buildings can be taken over 39 years. Thirty-nine years, yet the oldest of these facilities only made it 27 years. When did our stadiums become disposable? I find it ironic, that at least in the case of Conseco, Lucas Oil and Victory Field, that the new stadiums have been designed to look like stadiums of the past. They have all the modern amenities but they are designed to give the visitor a sense that they are entering a bygone era.
Yes, I will be in my seat in Lucas Oil on Sunday as the Colts take on the Titans (don’t rest ’em Tony!); will watch our young Pacers battle in Conseco; and, this summer, I will take in a game or two at Victory Field but when I really want to connect with history, and feel like I am a part of the game I will take in a Bulldogs game at Hinkle Fieldhouse and live what Indiana basketball has been for 80 years.