When I was 13, my friends in the Westside Middle Pettyjohn Mafia found ourselves playing John Williams' "The Olympic Spirit" in band class as a way to celebrate the countdown to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing. Talented as I was (not), hammering away on the xylophone, I wished every day we were instead playing the theme from "The Delta Force."
It was, after all, the Month of May, and the anticipation for The Indy 500 had hooked each and every one of my friends harder than "Low" by Flo Rida. Despite the enthusiasm, our plea to play the Alan Sylvestri classic at our spring carnival fell on deaf ears.
Now, almost a decade later, the Mafia grew apart and the affectionately rapped-about "Apple Bottom Jeans" wound up at Goodwills across America.
But what hasn't changed is that boyish sense of wonder, that Olympian feeling that comes as with the north Georgian thundershowers every spring..
Alas, we have arrived. It is the eve of the IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the kickoff to the two week long party that's all in celebration of the Indianapolis 500. Race fans worldwide are popping the champagne, ready to follow their favorite drivers and teams towards a hopeful victory in The 500.
Much like The Olympics, athletes from around the world are set to compete in 16 days of unique challenges. Not just The 500, mind you, but daily practice, Pole Day, final practice on Carb Day, the pit stop competition, and the kickoff, the GP of Indianapolis.
Now in its fourth season, the GP has proven to be one of the favorite stops on the IndyCar schedule for fans and drivers, and it adds yet another thrilling event to an action packed 2 weeks of activity.
It's a race like no other, with all the luster and prestige that even a 2 man sack race down pit road at IMS would receive combined with a flat, yet blazing fast course all but owned by Simon Pagenaud. It's a different animal, a blend of suspense all its own, and yet it's every bit as fun as the 500.
So, no matter your favorite event, country, team, or driver, let us all gather 'round and celebrate "Our" version of Christmastime, the start of another year's events at Indy.
Let the games begin!