My Utmost Respect And Admiration For Peyton Manning

As you’ve most likely heard, he’s no longer playing for Indianapolis. I’m trying hard to wrap my brain around that one. It’s weird. And I’m not gonna lie… his press conference made me kind of choke up a little and I’m not even a Colts fan. So much grace and dignity. I have nothing but the highest level of admiration for him.

(He starts talking at 1:13 in case you just wanna skip to that part)

I love his eloquent universal truth:

But I guess in life, and in sports, we all know that nothing lasts forever. Times change. Circumstances change. And that’s the reality of playing in the NFL.

I think that’s a good thing to always keep in mind no matter who you are or what you do. Nothing lasts forever and circumstances change. You just gotta accept it, be grateful for the opportunity you’ve been given regardless of the fact that it had to end or how it had to end, and then just embrace the future and the new opportunities/situations that present themselves. Basically, roll with the punches. That kind of mentality will keep you focused/stable like none other. But it’s a difficult mentality to maintain sometimes.

Anyway, Peyton Manning is also a really really decent guy apparently. Here’s the restaurant receipt that’s gone viral on the interwebs. And people were sharing Peyton Manning stories on Reddit.

Granted, I obviously can’t verify the truth of any of these… but here are my favorites:

1) My brother once worked at a golf course in a suburb north of Indy. One day Peyton Manning comes in and my brother starts jumping up and down to try and get his attention because Manning was thinking of just taking a cart out. Instead he takes my brother, gives him a nice tip and everything. Then one year later at a buffet at the club house Manning shows up again and as he passes my brother he goes “Hey Pat”. Good Guy Manning Hires a random caddy at golf course one day. Still remembers his name one year later. And people wonder how he can read defenses so well.

2) I met Peyton Manning at a restaurant once and he gave me this coin – we’d accidentally been given his table. Apparently he was fond of the restaurant and had a specific table he liked, and the management had messed up and gotten their days wrong, (it was Tuesday and they thought he was coming on Thursday or something like that). Anyway, the manager, completely embarrassed (this is a pretty nice restaurant) comes by and says “I’m so sorry, but we’d like to move you to another table if you could be troubled, and we’ll gladly compensate you for the cost of the meal and any other meal you’d like while you’re in town.” My wife and cousin were both like “Yeah that’s cool.” and I kind of played the asshole a bit. “I’m sorry, I just don’t understand. We’ve been here for 15 minutes – we’ve just ordered. Can’t we finish our meal here?”Then out of nowhere Peyton Manning (he’s insanely tall, by the way, at least like 6’5” or so) shows up next to the manager and says “Paul, these guys can finish. We’ll be at the bar. I got some time.”And I (being a big Peyton Manning fan) said “Oh wow, uh… I had no idea. Please feel free to give them the table.” Peyton Manning was grateful, shook my hand and said thanks, then gave me a card with his number on it and told me to give him a call later.

3) So my Dad’s friend brought his family to the Indianapolis 500. His son was a huge Colts fan, and they are from out of the area. He decided to wear his Manning Jersey, just because they were in the area. So this kid goes up to get a hot dog and is waiting in line, where he hears “Hey, nice jersey.” he turns around and there is Peyton and Eli Manning smiling ear to ear. This kid is speechless, and can only stammer out a few words. Peyton leans over, takes out a sharpie and signs the jersey on the 8. Needless to say, The jersey now resides in a shadow box in this kid’s room.

The whole situation sucks. I feel bad for the Colts fans too. I know if this happened to Troy Polamalu, I’d be a mess. It would feel like the end of all good things.

Watching that press conference was kind of like watching Brett Favre’s 2008 retirement press conference. He also cried and it also felt like the end of an era.

Refresher:


True story: Brett Favre has been my #1 love forever. But what football loving kid growing up in the 90s didn’t love him? He was the shit. I was obviously still a Steelers fan but Brett Favre mania was a sweeping epidemic affecting kids all across the nation.

Side note: This is my deep dark secret. In 1st grade, I wasn’t a Steelers fan. The Dolphins were my favorite. I was 7. All 7 year old girls love dolphins. I switched my allegiances. By 2nd grade, my dolphin phase was over and I went straight back to being a Steelers fan and my family welcomed me back with open arms. I haven’t strayed since. Even growing up in Bills territory, I wasn’t influenced by the greatness of Jim Kelly or Steve Tasker. But damn, the dolphin love punch that elementary girls drink is a powerful one.

Anyway, in third grade (1995), Nonnie and Pop Pop bought me a Favre jersey for Christmas because that’s what I wanted and it was the best present ever and I still have it because it’s one of my most prized possessions.

Here it is in my closet in the section for jerseys (this pic is also proof that my current apartment is girl’s dream come true because I have so much space that my closet isn’t overwhelmed and my dresses fit into one space and are easily accessible!):

I kind of got carried away with Paintbrush there. Although, I do like how that looks. Maybe I’ll paint it into the inside of my closet door for real so that all burglars and untrustworthy people are aware of the consequences. Let’s be honest though. If someone does break into my apartment, they’re not going to care about an old Brett Favre jersey. Or any of my stuff actually. I wish I had a burglar alarm that didn’t even alert the police but just yelled “SUCKAS!” really loudly like 5 minutes after the initial intrusion to rub it in that they wasted their time. My TV is old. My stereo is old. I have no cash. I have no fancy jewelry. I have no expensive art. Even my MacBook is old. The only worthwhile item that I possess for pilfering purposes is my iPod touch which is basically with me all the time whenever I’m not home because it’s super handy for a ton of things.

Anyway, back to Brett Favre… Needless to say, the retiring then coming out of retirement then subsequent “Is he going to retire?” debacle was always ridiculously traumatic for me. But not as traumatic as the 2009 NFC Championship game. All I wanted was for Brett Favre to be going to another SuperBowl and then win it because that season, he had beat all the odds and silenced all the critics and played like a freaking champ and it felt like the good old days. But that game against the Saints was heart-wrenching. It was such a back and forth game to begin with and there were so many turnovers by the Vikings and so many controversial calls and seeing Brett Favre get destroyed so hardcore at the end of the game was devastating. I was basically numb at the end and I did cry a few tears.

And once again, this proves that I’m way too serious about football. Rational me is always like “STOP BEING SO SERIOUS ABOUT FOOTBALL, LIZ” but the irrational part of me never can.

Matt thought I was ridiculous for being so bummed. But it’s super upsetting to watch your childhood hero go down like that… to be so close to ultimate victory in the most epic comeback season of all time and then fail. Plus, Matt is the guy who loves football so much that he doesn’t get off the couch on Sundays so he can watch every game. Even I’m not that hardcore about it. I like fresh air and having more than one day on the weekend for limitless fun.

But because he loves football so much, he should have at least been able to be a little more sympathetic (or even neutral would have been fine) instead of hateful/negative about my reaction. Like if he was the type of person who thinks sports are the stupidest thing ever and not something worth caring about, I could better understand the reaction he had. What boyfriend sees that his girlfriend cried two tears (regardless of whether it’s a stupid reason to be sad or not) and then makes her feel bad about feeling sad? ASSHOLE. I should have known then that this wasn’t going to work out. Also, why am I still so angry when I think about him? UGH. I want to just get the fuck over this and move on. The healing process is so slow sometimes.

Anyway, even as much as I love Brett Favre, watching him play for teams other than the Packers was always weird. And watching Peyton Manning play for a team  that’s not the Colts is gonna be weird too. It just feels like the end of an era of greatness. Even if Peyton Manning continues to hardcore succeed at QB-ing in the years to come, it won’t be the same. Bleck. I hate football.

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