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Thread: ABA...is this you?

  1. #1
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    Default ABA...is this you?

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...TS03/709110397

    Even in Iraq, he stays connected with Colts
    Keeping up with team provides Beech Grove native Jackson with reminders of home

    By Phillip B. Wilson
    phillip.wilson@indystar.com

    It's 4:30 a.m. in Iraq. Game time for John Jackson.

    How to follow the Colts from Iraq

    Beech Grove native John Jackson, a Department of Defense contractor working at a recreation center near Baghdad, shared his thoughts with Phillip B. Wilson via e-mail as he watched the Colts' 41-10 opening victory over New Orleans on Thursday.

    The Beech Grove native, wearing an Indianapolis Colts No. 28 Marlin Jackson jersey -- the last name fits -- will spend the final 21/2 hours of a 12-hour shift juggling duties as a recreation center supervisor with watching his favorite NFL team open its season against the New Orleans Saints.
    More than 6,000 miles from home and eight hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time, Jackson gets his Colts fix via newspaper Web sites, online audio streams, and, a few games a year -- including this one -- actual television.
    "Game days for the Colts are like gold because of the long pregame shows," said Jackson, 56, a private contractor working for the U.S. Department of Defense. "It carries me through the whole day. Then the next day, after game day, I read all the stories and the (IndyStar.com) blog. Basically a Colts game gives me two days of home."
    Jackson often is reminded that the Middle East is far from home. His wake-up call one recent morning was mortar fire about 30 meters from what he calls his "hootch," the 8-by-15-foot trailer where he lives.
    Jackson is in his 20th month of supervising the East Recreation Center on a U.S. Army base about an hour's drive from Baghdad. About 7,000 troops visit daily.
    He is reminded of his Hoosier heritage by one of the center's side streets, named Indiana Avenue. And he loves to enlighten those unaware of his roots. Above his office door is a Colts flag the team sent him before Super Bowl XLI. He was able to watch four Colts games last season, including the Super Bowl, on a 25-foot big-screen TV at the center. The rest were on audio streams.
    Jackson doesn't regret taking a lucrative job in a war zone, but Colts games make him long for home. He grew up on Indiana sports, from the Hoosiers to the Pacers. He started out a Dallas Cowboys fan, admiring coach Tom Landry, but then the Colts came to Indy in 1984, and four years later Landry was effectively forced to retire in Dallas. Allegiances changed overnight.
    "I'm a home boy and anything I can do to feel close to home, I do it," Jackson said, in a telephone interview.
    "I have to admit it was very, very, very difficult for me being over here when the Colts won the Super Bowl. As a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, I know what it meant to the city. To miss the feeling of the city and everything was very difficult. Luckily, I have a lot of friends who sent over the coverage from the TV stations and DVDs. It was very thrilling."
    The father of a 25-year-old daughter, Jackson hopes to one day meet Colts coach Tony Dungy, whose work with All-Pro Dads inspired Jackson to help create an Iraq chapter.
    "This is a guy who epitomizes everything I think a man should want to be," Jackson said.
    When told of Jackson's story, Dungy spoke of the Colts' worldwide fan support.
    "We get the letters, the e-mails, the cards, the photographs with the Colts flags flying all over the world, guys saying how much it means to them to watch the games," Dungy said. "I pass those on to the team. It is just a game. We're out there doing what we do, but here's some guys who really appreciate what you do. It's awesome."
    As for this season, Jackson was ecstatic about the Colts' 41-10 thumping of the Saints, and predicts the teams will meet again in the Super Bowl.
    He says the Colts will finish 11-5. San Diego and New England are formidable foes, he allows, but he foresees the Colts repeating as champs with a 24-21 victory over the Saints in Super Bowl XLII.
    "Back in the day when I was a Cowboys fan, you never counted the Cowboys out of a game when (Roger) Staubach was the quarterback," he said. "The same is true with Peyton Manning. You can never count a Manning team out."
    Jackson plans to come home next August. He says nearly three years in Iraq will be enough.
    He can't wait to see the Colts again in person. The next meeting between fan and team likely will be in Lucas Oil Stadium, scheduled to open for the 2008 season.
    "That would be great," he said.
    Sure beats audio streams and mortar fire.
    11 a.m. (Iraq time): Bad sign for the telecast on American Forces Network. A dust storm has moved into the area. This usually has an effect on the signal. An MP saw me wearing my Colt jersey and hat and started talking smack to me -- from a Giants fan of all people.
    11:15 a.m.: Spent time on the Saints message board exchanging "pleasantries." Time to start my litany of reading with The Indianapolis Star, the Phil B. blog and the Colts message board, the New Orleans paper, USA Today, Colts.com, then (back to) the Saints board for last digs. Listening to Tony Bruno on the WNDE stream.
    8:34 p.m.: I'm beginning to feel pumped. Football gets you through a lot over here. This will take us all the way through winter and any escape is a good one.
    11:34 p.m.: Finally the pregame shows are on the radio. Trying to access the WIBC webcast of the events on the Circle, but it doesn't seem like it is going to stream for me. Figures.
    12:18 a.m.: Well, no video streaming from anywhere. Not a surprise. Technology here has been reduced to two tin cans and string.
    4:45 a.m. (first quarter): Dallas Clark is just a good, good player. Peyton Manning to Marvin Harrison -- ho-hum. Colts 7, Saints 0. Enjoy that Super Bowl ring, Jason David.
    6 a.m. (second quarter): Geez, Reggie (Wayne)! And Jason David of all people (on the fumble return for a touchdown). Colts 7, Saints 7. Not a very impressive quarter -- for either team really. Sloppy. Who would have guessed 10-10 at the half?
    8:30 a.m. (second half): Needless to say this was the offense I know. Deadly efficient the second half. Jason David proved why he is an ex-Colt. I thought the defense was excellent. I know it's only one game, but they are clearly better than last year. To me, this game was an absolute testament to (team president) Bill Polian. The guy just knows drafting and free agents. Uncanny. I would have never predicted 41-10.
    11 a.m. (wrap-up): Just got in to work and will do my normal follow-up reading and radio like I do on game day. Can't wait to see the Saints board.

  2. #2
    year of the black rainbow obnoxiousmodesty's Avatar
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    Default Re: ABA...is this you?

    I was wondering the same thing when I read that story.
    Take me out to the black, tell 'em I ain't coming back. Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.

  3. #3
    ENABEABLER MagicRat's Avatar
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    Default Re: ABA...is this you?

    It is........and is he skinny........:skinnybanana:

    Last edited by MagicRat; 09-11-2007 at 08:28 AM.
    PSN: MRat731 XBL: MRat0731

  4. #4
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: ABA...is this you?

    Indeed it is
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ABA...is this you?

    Quote Originally Posted by ABADays View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Indeed it is
    That's not you....the real you has a beard.
    You know how hippos are made out to be sweet and silly, like big cows, but are actually extremely dangerous and can kill you with stunning brutality? The Pacers are the NBA's hippos....Matt Moore CBS Sports....

  6. #6

    Default Re: ABA...is this you?

    Did you know, you look a LOT like Ron Rifkin (Frost in the Negotiator)

    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  7. #7
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: ABA...is this you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suaveness View Post
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    Did you know, you look a LOT like Ron Rifkin (Frost in the Negotiator)

    OK then, I will be him too
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

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