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Dee Bonner | Shelbyville, IN
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February 23, 2020

Breaking The Bank
When I was a kid I had a ceramic piggy bank. The bank had a small slot on top where I could deposit coins. However, the bank had no other openings to allow retrieval of the coins after they'd been dropped into the coin slot. That puzzled me. I concluded that the bank was defective, so I carried it to my Mom and asked how I was supposed to get the coins out. She patiently explained that the purpose of the bank was to teach the value of thriftiness. "Keep feeding the piggy bank...," she said, "...then when the pig is full, you can break the bank and count the coins to see how much you've saved."

"BREAK the BANK? What kind of crazy teaching tool is THAT?", I thought to myself.

My sister also had a piggy bank. For a couple of years, we earned pennies and nickels by performing simple chores for Mom and for a handful of neighbors. We dutifully deposited the coins in our banks. We also learned some useful entrepreneurial skills and maybe even flirted with some borderline scams along the way. Eventually, our piggy banks began amassing major coinage. Then one day, I "accidentally" dropped a hammer on my sister's piggy bank, scooped up about half of her coins and deposited them in my own bank. But that's another story.

Today, I want to talk about a different kind of bank-breaking. Specifically, the bank that Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay may break in order to pay Peyton Manning for the next ten years.

Paying Peyton

Nearly everyone agrees that Peyton Manning is one of the best NFL quarterbacks to ever play the game. Even the haters readily admit that he is in the top half dozen professional quarterbacks of all time.

When Manning was drafted in 1998, his six-year contract was for $48 million, the largest ever for a rookie. In 2004, when he was set to become a free agent, the Colts gave him another contract that was worth $99.2 million for nine years. Manning has out played the remainder of that contract, and the Colts intend to bypass the final three years of that deal with a new contract sometime after the Super Bowl.

Colts owner Jim Irsay recently told ESPN that Manning will be given a contract extension that will make him the highest-paid player to ever play professional football. It is estimated that Manning will be offered a 10-year contract worth a quarter of a billion dollars ($20 million per year, plus a $50 million signing bonus upfront). In addition, Manning earns around $40 million annually in endorsement money.

That's a whole lotta coins.

But NFL franchises are Big Business, so that means the Colts can easily afford to pay Peyton millions of dollars to keep him in a blue and white jersey. Yet, just a mere five years ago, the Colts refused to contribute their fair share to help build a new stadium. Jim Irsay cried hardship at the time and succeeded in getting the public to build the facility for his team. I suppose the Colts were too big to fail, huh?

I realize it's heresy to discuss this topic on the eve of Super Bowl XLIV, but Manning will get his millions whether the Colts win or lose. And Irsay will continue to cash in whether his team wins or loses. So it seems the only bank that's likely to get broken is the one that holds the public's money. It's insane.

In closing, allow me to share one additional football-related childhood memory.

Many years ago, neighborhood "teams" (uhhh... gangs) used to congregate in a grassy field behind Porter Pool on Sunday afternoons for a series of rousing, no-pads, no-helmets, tackle football games. Several neighborhood residents came to watch, for free. However, a few residents in the immediate vicinity weren't pleased to witness that type of brutal activity, especially because it occurred on the Sabbath. That's probably why we were fond of chanting the following ditty:

It was Sunday afternoon in Heaven's own backyard

When Jesus played at Quarterback

And Moses played at Guard

The Angels in the grandstands let out a mighty yell

When Jesus scored a touchdown

Against the boys from Hell

Oh, stay with God, stay with God

Highty-Dighty! Christ Almighty!

Stay! With! God!

Feel free to share your thoughts on any of this.

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Article comment by: jim sleeth

Dee, I too can remember those wonderful crisp fall sunday afternoons when we would all load into Bart Kauffman's white '57 Ford convertible and head to the giant field behind Porter pool ( it seemed like it was at least 10 acres then) for a pleasent afternoon of beating the hell out of each other. During these very enjoyable and productive afternoons several memorable items were conceived. one of the best being a Shires vs. McCoys free-for-all that occured on the grassy area on the Meridian St. side of old Shelby High.( I'm pretty sure we made the front page of Shelby News on that one) However the best memory is the team "battle cry" that was created by guys like Bill Moss, Swifty Bennet, Woodie Dile and myself that carried over to the 1957-59 editions of the Mighty Golden Bears. I can well remember walking toward the football field down the alley between Meridian and Tompkins with the excitement growing and the knowledge that the opposition will be terrified when they see us and hear our "battle cry." As we move on to Meridian St. toward the gate to the field we can see Mr McKeand opening the gate. We rush through the gate and across the track. At that moment the adrenalin is pumping like a gas pump at 2010 prices and we can no longer harness the excitement. The "battle cry " must be announced and as we approched the 50 yard line it came out --WE MAY BE FAT BUT WE'RE SLOW! That Big running back on Jeffersonville was so intimidated that I still have a scar on my chest from his cleats when he stepped on me while running for a touchdown.

Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010
Article comment by: Let it NOT snow

I remember, when I was a kid, playing basketball on Sundays at the old Hendricks School outdoor courts.

These Pentecostal people would scream out their car windows: "You're going to HELL for playing basketball on the Sabbath!"

Then, my friends and I would unleash a barrage of obscenities at them that turned the air blue.

I always thought that telling children they are going to hell on Sundays was a lot worse than us playing basketball on Sundays.

But I don't know, that's just me, I guess....

Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010
Article comment by: Moose E. Lodge, Esq.

Keep 'em poor and without health insurance, but certain to buy those Wal-Mart Colts jerseys!

Professional sports is the actual opiate of the people.

Detox while there is still time!

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