Small town goes big time |

Small town goes big time

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

I am about as Indiana as it gets. Or so I’ve been told. I never turn off a John Cougar Mellencamp song when it’s on the radio. I truly believe the Indy 500 is the greatest spectacle in racing. And I’ve seen “Hoosiers” and “Breaking Away” many more times than the average American.

Who doesn’t love a good basketball- or cycling-themed Cinderella story?

Like the Mellencamp song says, I was born in a small town. Well, technically I was born on the east side of Indianapolis, which was, and still is, technically small.

I was certainly raised in a small town called New Palestine (pronounced Pal-es-teen), with a population of only about 1,000 when I was a kid. I hear the town is up to 2,000-plus these days. There’s still only one stoplight in town. There’s also a McDonald’s in town now, so that’s saying something. I’m not sure what that is.

But it’s something.

Also, as the Mellencamp song says, I had myself a ball in a small town. When there’s not a lot to do in a small town, kids can get really creative.

There were plenty of parties in barns in high school. It seemed the pranks, and sarcasm, were at an elevated level with the kids at my school. I always enjoyed the time someone “released” hundreds of tiny plastic spiders all over the halls. I’m sure the custodial staff didn’t appreciate it but the consensus from the student body was it was funny.

Did I mention there wasn’t a lot to do?

Since I’m about as Indiana as it comes, I of course was beside myself that Super Bowl XLVI was hosted in my fair city. Sure, I watch plenty of National Football League games on TV involving the Colts, live from Indy. And the Indy 500 is in the national and international spotlight come Memorial Day weekend. This was different, though.

It’s the Super Bowl, for goodness sakes.

I love living in Colorado for obvious reasons that involve mountains, rivers and sunshine. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t terribly homesick seeing so much Super Bowl coverage based in my hometown. It was almost a little surreal.

Just the other night I was watching “The Dan Patrick Show” and was so proud to see all the references to Indiana sports – Purdue Boilermakers (listed first purely for selfish reasons), Indiana Hoosiers, Butler Bulldogs, Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish, the Indianapolis Colts, the Indiana Pacers and IndyCar racing.

If anyone wonders why I’m so into sports, that should answer it.

Dan Patrick and his crew even did a spoof on the infamous locker room scene from “Hoosiers,” when Coach Norman Dale, aka Gene Hackman, motivated his team to go out and win the 1954 Indiana High School Boys Basketball Championship. I think I’ve told enough people now, including their mothers, that I was an extra as a kid in “Hoosiers.” Therefore, any reference to the movie makes me overly sentimental about where I was born and raised.

No, I didn’t cry.

I was just home in Indy for Christmas – a visit I promised my mother and grandfather I would never miss since moving to Colorado, and have been true to my word – so I couldn’t do another trip for the Super Bowl.

Not that I wasn’t extremely tempted. Especially when not only were my friends having a blast seeing all the celebrities and being part of their first Super Bowl, but my parents got into the fun, too.

My friend Megan sent me a pic from a pre-Super Bowl En Vogue concert. Of course she did. What girl coming of age in the ’90s didn’t love “Hold On” and “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)?”

Oh, and don’t forget “Free Your Mind.”

I knew I was totally missing out when I received a call from my mom the day of the big game.

“I think we just saw Madonna,” my mom said.

“No way!” I said.

I could hear the excitement in her voice. And my mom wasn’t even the one lip-synching “Like a Virgin” into her Star Studio as a tween.

“Her motorcade just went by with a huge police escort and I saw her curly hair,” she said.

Is it weird to envy your parents for seeing a pop icon you once idolized in the ’80s? In this case, not really.

It is Madonna after all.

Of course I stayed glued to my seat during Madonna’s halftime Super Bowl show because there was only like two degrees of separation between us since my parents had just seen her in Indianapolis.

I liked her show. I appreciate any type of costume fusion involving cheerleading outfits and gladiators. And Nicki Minaj.

The only thing missing was a Mellencamp cameo.

– April E. Clark congratulates the Giants and hopes her Peyton Manning Colts jersey is still applicable in 2012. She can be reached at

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