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In defense of Indiana

| Monday, October 12, 2020

Ah yes, the Notre Dame introduction: Hi! My name is Alysa. I am studying history, and I am from Indianapolis, Ind. Then comes the question: “What is there to even do in Indianapolis?”

Usually, I pivot quickly to attending the Indianapolis 500, the most well-known fact about my city and an event that brings thousands of people to Indianapolis every year. Yet, I have never been to the Indy 500, and if I am being honest, I have no burning desire to attend. As a result, this response feels impersonal to me. What feels like a genuine response is going to football games on a chilly Friday night or Saturday afternoon, calling up a friend to grab coffee or going on a drive while listening to music. While mundane, these things-to-do feel special when you find the right people to do them with.

I realize that I cannot sit here and convince you to love every person from Indianapolis that I know. However, I would like to bring to your attention other factors of Indianapolis — and the state of Indiana as a whole — that you should know about if you are skeptical, not a race fan or still believe that Indiana is only cornfields.

Let’s get it out of the way and talk about location. I found myself in this exact conversation a few weeks ago with a friend from Boston and a friend from Philadelphia. Both of them boasted of their close proximity to the ocean. I will admit that I love the ocean, and I felt myself losing in the conversation. However, going to the coast once every couple of years can give you a greater appreciation for it, and you are only a plane ticket away from tanning on your favorite beach. Meanwhile, you can grow to appreciate a different type of water found in the Midwest. Living in Indiana means looking forward to summer days where you jump in the car with family or friends and travel to the lake. You know, the same one you’ve been swimming in your whole life. Plus, you can live year-round on a lake in Indiana if a waterside estate is your thing.

For the sports fans out there, Indiana is the perfect place for you. Besides the obvious answer of the home of Notre Dame football, Indiana hosts the annual Big Ten football championship and the NCAA Final Four (which I attended in 2015) on a regular basis. If you are an avid NBA fan like my 13-year-old brother, Indianapolis is hosting the 2021 NBA All-Star game in February so mark your calendars for a quick trip. If you went to high school in Indiana, you understand the magic of Friday night lights. If you are not from Indiana, I am sorry you have not experienced this. There is always the option to live in Indiana when you have kids and live vicariously through them. Your choice.

It is October and if you love fall, you have a myriad of places to go and things to do here. You can venture farther south to Brown County and hike in the Hoosier National Forest. You can drive to the nearest pumpkin patch and enjoy a delicious apple cider donut. You can turn on your Christmas music and wait for it to snow because yes, it does snow here, and yes, Indiana weather is unpredictable.

At the end of the day, a city or state is only as good as the people in it. I love Indiana because it’s where my family lives, where I grew up and where all my favorite memories happened. I lived in Indianapolis my whole life prior to moving to South Bend last year for college, so I am a lifelong Indiana resident. And if you chose to attend Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross, you live in Indiana now, too. If no one has said this to you yet, I will: Welcome to Indiana. We’re glad to have you.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Alysa Guffey

Alysa is a junior pursuing a major in history with minors in digital marketing and journalism, ethics and democracy. While she calls Breen-Phillips her home on campus, she is originally from Indianapolis. She currently serves as the Notre Dame News Editor.

Contact Alysa