I remember going to my first Indiana Hoosier basketball game. I was a in senior high school and had already established my Indiana fandom. I got to see an undefeated Ohio State come in a pulverize a rebuilding Indiana squad. While the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, being in Assembly Hall and seeing the Hoosiers in person was such an amazing feeling for me. It was also awesome that I got to share the moment with my Dad.
As I’ve grown up and gone through life’s paces, few things to me are as precious as getting to spend time with your children. You can’t really explain what it’s like to someone to love something so much that you would gladly go hungry if it meant they were able to eat. As a working father in a household where both parents work, it’s fair to say that for every hour I spend with my son, I spend two at work. My wife’s ratio is even worse.
My parents both worked growing up so it’s not like I’m singing some sad, “woe is me” tune. What is more pertinent to this article is that when I had the little Komodo last year, I asked mom how I would be able to get enough time with him to feel I was really in his life. Her response was gold.
“It’s not about the amount of time you spend with your kids, it’s about the quality of time and the experiences you can give them.”
That really sticks with me. My parents tried so hard to have family time with us growing up. Tried so many times to give us family experiences and support our interests.
One of the things we did the most was go to Indiana Pacer games. Being from deep southern Indiana, you’d think that Bloomington would be much closer than going to Indianapolis. Less time on the road. Easier access to tickets. Yet I got to go to my first Pacer game at 6 and my first Hoosier game at 17. So what gives?
What gives is that my parents simply could not afford Indiana Hoosier tickets. In fact, they could not afford Pacer tickets either. It just so happened to be that my father’s factory fabricated some stuff for the Pacers and ended up with company seats that we were able to take advantage of growing up. AKA, we got the tickets and parking for free. It was simply the only reason we were able to go.
My first Hoosier game? Yeah, those tickets were given to us by a family friend. It was free too.
Those memories with Dad going up to Pacer games and eventually a few Hoosier games are some of my favorite memories. While Pacer games are enjoyable, nothing beats the feel of Assembly Hall on game day. A packed crowd in that atmosphere is so much fun. Unless you’re able to work your way into tickets though, it can also be expensive. An expense that many families can’t afford, especially around the holidays.
Enter Matha the Mop Lady (@themoplady on Twitter) and the Hoosier Ticket project. The Hoosier ticket project is an organization that is pairing donated tickets with families and friends, removing the financial hurdle of tickets and allowing families to attend Indiana Hoosier sporting events. The team of Martha, Josh Bruick, Jason Gerdom, and Amanda Pavelka help make these matches and do the heavy lifting behind the scenes.
All of these individuals have cherished memories of Hoosier sports. From Calbert Cheaney memories, to AJ Moye and everything in between, these individuals have started a truly noble organization. All they want is to share Indiana sports with those that maybe can’t quite afford to take a family to a game.
I had heard about this effort on an episode of Crimson Cast earlier this year. This effort has been going well before the announcement of a fancy organization name and website. Over the last few years, Martha and the team have been pairing families with tickets for all kinds of games. That episode teased that there would be an official announcement soon. So I waited. Football season went bad. And then I forgot.
Just this past week though, the website and organization went officially live online. You can follow the Hoosier Ticket Project on Twitter (@HoosierProject) and you can find them at www.HoosierTicketProject.org. Should you feel inclined to donate, you can choose between donating tickets or a financial contribution. Yes, they do take credit card. Yes, they do take Discover.
This isn’t me telling you to do something. I don’t want to make you feel like you have to donate, follow, or engage. Hell, some of you might want to burn Assembly to the ground because you feel your team gets homered there. You do.
I just want to get it out there that there are some wonderful people doing some wonderful work to give families the experience of a lifetime. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can afford to do things for the little Komodo that I’ll cherish even before he’s able to really form memories. A lot of families in southern Indiana aren’t. Being someone who’s parents did need free tickets to give us experiences, I can tell you that those moments in Assembly make lasting impacts. Not just for fandom, but for a family.
Anyway, I hope that you all consider giving the Hoosier Ticket project a click. I hope that you all have a wonderful Holiday season, and a great 2022. Go Hoosiers.
Hoosier Ticket Project: www.HoosierTicketProject.org
Hoosier Ticket Project on Twitter: @HoosierProject
Donation Link: https://www.hoosierticketproject.org/donate/
Martha the Mop Lady on Twitter: @themoplady