“Amazing” and “great” were some words used by Indianapolis Colts fans gathered in Muncie Central to meet two of the team’s players.
Muncie Mission hosted the Colts Fan Fest Wednesday with cornerback Pierre Desir and linebacker Darius Leonard at Muncie Central High School.
Earlier in the day they also hosted the Colts Cookout and Service Day inviting the community to volunteer at Muncie Mission to help sort clothes and donations, clean one of its stores and help organize a cookout for the community.
Leonard said the Colts always hosts events similar to this — Colts Community Mondays being one example.
“It means a lot, especially coming back seeing ... the whole community around and just seeing the smiles on kids’ faces,” he said. “Coming from the small community that I came from, it means very much to my heart.”
Seeing the turnout at the event, Desir said it shows that the Colts have fans all throughout Indiana and the people of Muncie “showed a lot of love.”
“It’s a good feeling to see all these people come out, bring their kids, bring all their family. It’s just a good feeling to come out there and show everyone that we appreciate them,” he said.
TJ Miller, one of the marketing staff members at Muncie Mission, said when the Colts visited Muncie to announce their draft pick, they were suggested to come to Muncie Mission.
“We saw it as an opportunity to have a cookout in the community,” Miller said. “It’s because normally we do a community lunch every weekday. We wanted it to be a little special today.”
He said with around 25 volunteers and 300 attendees, the morning cookout event had a good turnout.
“We were kind of saying thank you to the community and to our volunteers for always supporting us, and kind of raising awareness of tonight’s event, and coming out here,” Miller said.
Bobby Ball, a Muncie Central alumnus who graduated in 1984 and played football for the Bearcats said he was glad he came down to the event.
When Ball graduated from MCHS, the Colts had just moved to Indianapolis from their original location in Baltimore, Maryland.
“We love football. My grandson is going to be the next Andrew Luck,” Ball said. “I’m glad my grandson got to come down and see it.”
Allison Baker and her son Brody Baker came down from Indianapolis to meet the two Colts players.
“We love all the Colts players. We come every year to get our Christmas card taken,” Allison said.
They were particularly “big fans” of Leonard and considered him to be one of the top defensive players.
“I really like the Colts and why not come here to take a picture,” Brody said.
Leonard and Desir also reflected on the Colts’ gameplan going into the next season.
“We’re going to build off of what we did last year — just keep building it 1 percent better — and hopefully make it to the big game,” Leonard said.
Desir said while they didn’t finish the way they wanted to, they have “a lot of pieces that we did from the previous season.”
“Everybody is going to continue to work, take it one day at a time, one game at a time, and push for the playoffs,” he said.
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @RaoReports.