All Indianapolis mayoral administrations of recent decades will testify that professional sports are essential to the city’s financial health. The same is true in cities across the nation—and benefits do not end on the bottom line. Sport enterprise pumps money through the community, draws desirable residents, commerce, and industry, and instills vitality in the culture. Expanding major sports has proven a worthy community enhancement.

We recognize city leaders, team owners, and league operatives who establish and maintain this community asset. Yet, most impressive are the contributions of an outstanding array of players and staff who, off-field or off-court, take it upon themselves to become community builders in splendid ways of their own. Indianapolis surely struck the mother lode in this regard. The occasional bad actor or disappointing incident may cross the stage, but the enduring and active good will of many are the main act—too many to mention here and not to be risked for those we might miss applauding.

Those puzzled by the importance others place on competitive events say, “It’s just a game.” Actually it is more. Life’s consideration falls on a spectrum—survival instinct and will to live at one end, realization instinct and will to excel at the other. Those bent on more life, whether they are the player or championing others, invest in its full spectrum.