On February 5, 2012, the city of Indianapolis, Indiana played host to Super Bowl XLVI and all its accompanying events. There was something that set this year's Super Bowl celebration apart from those in years past...and it wasn't just the colder locale. There was, in fact, a touch of the humanities in this year's event thanks to the enterprising folks at Indiana Humanities.
Early on the council and its staff became involved in volunteering for the event with the local host committee and other organizations on Super Bowl-related events and projects. Partnerships with the host committee, the Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, and the University of Indianapolis, just to name a few, helped Indiana Humanities reach a diverse group of Indianapolis leaders and more than 35,000 Indiana children.
Super Kids, Super Welcome
Super Kids, Super Welcome, by far the most visible project to come out of this partnership, asked Indiana kids to write and draw what they though made Indiana a great state on cards that would then be distributed to area hotel rooms. The initial goal of Super Kids was to receive 18,000 cards to reach all of the Indianapolis area hotel rooms booked for the Super Bowl. The council received an amazing 36,000 cards from kids across the state! The cards even received attention from the national press, with articles appearing in the Boston Globe and the New York Times blog.
On January 27, 2012, “Before the Big Game: Lessons Learned – So Far,” a panel discussion organized by Indiana Humanities and hosted by the University of Indianapolis, invited 300 of Indianapolis’ diverse and inspiring civic leaders to come discuss lessons learned from the entire process of hosting an event like the Super Bowl. The panel, featuring the president and CEO of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, and the Commissioner of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, covered a lot of ground, discussing the bidding process, civic engagement created by hosting the Super Bowl, the notion of community, and what the city should do when the crowds dispersed. Following the discussion, the group had the opportunity to tour the New York Giants practice facility, located at the University of Indianapolis.
After the game….
So what follows something as big as the Super Bowl for Indiana Humanities? True to form, the council is still using the heightened exposure to their advantage, choosing a related theme to focus their work over the next two years: the Spirit of Competition. As Indiana Humanities states, “we all engage in competition every day – whether it’s through sports, business, politics, the arts, etc. Competition affects all of us and contributes to our individual character, local communities, and overall culture.” Their theme is meant to celebrate, examine, and question the role competition plays in Indianans daily lives. They’ll focus on this theme by highlighting the five core elements of competition: civility, rivalry, passion, innovation, and failure.
To find out more about the Spirit of Competition and Indiana Humanities, visit their website.