Back Home Again in Indiana (Jim Nabors version )
“Back home again in Indiana,
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candle light, still burning bright,
Through the Sycamores for me.
The new-mown hay sends out its fragnance
Through the fields I used to roam.
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash
How I long for my Indiana home.”
It takes old Jimmy Nabors almost one minute exactly to sing these three famed sentences before the beginning of every Indianapolis 500. For me, it might be the best minute of the year, every year. During no other minute during the entire year do I feel more proud to be a Hoosier. When the Purdue All American Marching Band strikes up the trumpets and the multi-colored balloons begin to float over the IMS pagoda, my heart overflows with pride. The song isn’t the official Indiana state song nor is Jim Nabors even an Indiana native, but still nothing reminds me more of my home state – and I know I’m not the only one.
The connection for Hoosiers with this song comes in large part from our connection to sports. The song has long been inseparable from “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the world’s single largest one day sporting event, but for me the song has come to represent more than just the race. It’s come to represent Indiana as a whole and in particular Indiana sports as a whole. It’s for this reason that we decided to name our Indiana sports blog after Indiana’s most famous sports song.
Although “The Race” is certainly our most famous and most beloved annual occasion, it’s only one part of a very proud Indiana sports history. Outsiders might scoff at the notion of Indiana being a great sports state, but the supporting facts are difficult to ignore.
Indiana is widely regarded as one of the most basketball crazed states in the country. From the rich history of Indiana High School basketball to the storied college basketball programs of Indiana, Purdue, and Butler University to the Indiana Pacers; there is no end to the evidence for this claim. Not to mention the legendary basketball names the state has produced including: John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Rick Mount, Bobby Plump, Bob Knight, Gene Keady, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, and the list goes on and on. And we can’t forget that the best basketball movie ever made, Hoosiers, was based on a small Indiana high school’s (Milan High School’s) incredible underdog run which concluded with the team winning the 1954 Indiana state championship. The story is believed to be the original basketball “Cinderella Story.” As we say here in Indiana, “in 49 states it’s just basketball….but this is Indiana.”
But basketball and racing aren’t the end of the road here at The Crossroads of America. We have great football, too. (Don’t get me wrong, it pains me greatly to say this but….) Notre Dame is one of the proudest and most highly decorated and celebrated college football programs in existence. Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Alabama and others certainly have strong cases for being the best, but none of these schools can boast a national broadcasting partnership with NBC nor an all-time great sports movie like Rudy. Moving on (as fast as I possibly can) to the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts have only been around since 1984, but over the past decade the Colts have certainly left their mark on the league. Under the leadership of possibly the greatest quarterback to ever walk the face of the planet, Peyton Manning, the modern day Colts have broken records by the bushel. “The Decade of Dominance,” has included an NFL record-tying 9 consecutive 10-win seasons (including an NFL record 7 consecutive 12-win seasons), 2 Super Bowl appearances, 1 Super Bowl Championship, and an NFL record 4 MVP awards for Manning.
Although we lose points with our lack of professional baseball and hockey, pound for pound Indiana isn’t too shabby on the sports front. It’s for this reason that we think “Back Home Again” can be a successful sports blog. There’s going to be plenty to write about even during a sports year (possibly) without the NBA and (probably) without a single win for the Colts.
As one of the four founding fathers of the blog, I can’t promise much besides that we love our Indiana sports. We grew up with Reggie. We grew up with Peyton. We grew up with Knight and Keady. We grew up in sweaty high school gyms on Friday nights. And of course, we grew up at the Brickyard with Jim Nabors.
Our only hope is that our passion and knowledge shines through in our posts.
Welcome to “Back Home Again: Thoughts from the Crossroads.”
(p.s. We’re all Cubs fans too…. so yeah….. that sucks)