On the kindness scale of 1-100, Indy gets a 101 this week. As a jaded New Yorker in town to cover the Super Bowl, I was not prepared for the welcome mat to be laid out in thick, plush, wonderful charisma.
From the second I stepped off the plane (all the car service folks were dressed in Colts jerseys) to the minute I checked into my hotel (the porters literally fought to help me with my one small carry-on), it's been non-stop Hoosier hospitality.
Even the Starbucks baristas didn't laugh at my order (tall decaf sugar-free vanilla Americano with steamed skim milk).
This city has pulled out all the stops for Super Bowl 46 (I hate Roman numerals). I've covered a number of these in the past and this one — by far — stands out as having given the warmest welcome I've ever received.
Besides the free coffee and healthy snacks, there are folks known as the STREET TEAM (think mobile information booths) walking up and down the streets with "ASK ME" hats on. They're just waiting to be asked a question about absolutely anything (FYI, they know where the cool new zip line is located; they don't know why my elbow hurts).
I've been working on a few fun stories for TODAY. For one, we went behind the scenes to see how our lovely network puts on a show as large as the Super Bowl. It takes 12 huge production trucks, 60 miles of cable and 40 different cameras all over Lucas Oil Field (I loved walking around on the gridiron for a little bit).
I spent a few minutes with the great Al Michaels, who's rooting not for the Giants or Pats, but instead for triple overtime to ensure the most drama. Tune in Saturday and Sunday for these pieces.
I even hung out with former Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback and Hoda Kotb crush. We discussed football and more football and then had some fun playing Xbox Kinect, the new interactive athletic gaming device he's fronting to help fight childhood obesity. Great guy, terrible dancer. (Just check out the video.)
Sorry to cut this short, but I've been sitting on a curb writing this, and a gentleman just came out from the corner restaurant and asked me if I'd like to use one of his tables. And that's Hoosier hospitality. Pay it forward.
Jenna Wolfe, a self-proclaimed gym rat and daredevil, anchors TODAY on Sunday. Her Starbucks order is only slightly more complicated than Lester's.
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