A blind Muncie woman’s emotional meeting with Adam Vinatieri
YORKTOWN, Ind. (AP) — She arrived at Morrow’s Meadow Park at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon to get in line 30 minutes before Colts Fan Fest began. She wore an Adam Vinatieri jersey, and she was looking forward to meeting the longtime player from her favorite team - even if she couldn’t see him, as she is completely blind.
Dena Polston finally got to the front of a lengthy line almost two hours later, passing a table of Colts cheerleaders and reaching Colts running back Robert Turbin and Vinatieri, the 44-year-old kicker who one day may go down as the oldest player in NFL history.
She hadn’t planned anything, but the moment overcame her. She wrapped Vinatieri in a hug and planted a kiss on his cheek.
“He was just like I thought he would be; nice, gracious, funny,” Polston said. ”(When) I gave him a kiss on the cheek, he said, ‘Aw, that’s the best part of this,’ or something like that. It was pretty cool. He’s just a gracious person.”
With a large crowd waiting for autographs - it was so long that the Colts PR staff stopped allowing people to get in line about 30 minutes into the event - Polston worried that she was taking too long. Security was ushering many autograph seekers through quickly.
“I said, ’Oh, they’re going to make me move because the body guard has to keep people moving,” Polston said. “He said, ‘No, it’s OK.’ He didn’t want me to get all worked up about it.”
When it was all over, the 55-year-old stood in a group of friends with tears streaming down her face.
Polston, who graduated from Indiana School for Blind and Visually Impaired in 1981 and then attended Ball State, had met Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy and gotten a similar thrill. Next on her list is Pat McAfee, the retired punter who now works for Barstool. She still lives in Muncie and is a vocational rehabilitation counselor downtown. For games, she listens to Bob Lamey on her Sirius XM radio.
Colts fans came from near and far for a night with live music and games for kids. Leah Gross and her family drove three hours from Oolitic, a city south of Bloomington, to meet Vinatieri and Turbin.
“We usually don’t travel like this,” Leah said, “but for the Colts, we make an exception.”
Autograph seekers spent a considerable portion in line, but for people like Polston, it was worth the wait. She said her feet hurt so badly by the time she finally reached Vinatieri, but it was worth it.
“Oh my Lord, you don’t even know how much (it was worth it),” Polston said. “It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. I wish I could have had it on record so I could listen to it and what was said.”
Source: The (Muncie) Star Press, http://tspne.ws/2rCfDD1
Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com