Dear Clowns Who Stole Our Stuff

February 3, 2016 By Tom

Dear Clowns Who Stole Nine13 Equipment,

I love this city.

It would have sucked to have you break into our trailer (in impressive fashion, by the way), no matter when you did it. But, you doing it 48 hours after Denver died was a jerk move.

As I stood inside the trailer assessing the damage, I laughed. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure it was a maniacal laugh that concerned the police officer who was standing guard. Then, my counterpart at Nine13 showed up and had the same laugh…and I have no doubt he thought we were both insane.

But, back to you and your genuine effort you took to steal from Nine13. To steal from an organization that exists solely to serve thousands of Central Indiana youth. A group of people who wake up in the morning excited and privileged to work with under-served and at-risk kids in some of the poorest schools and neighborhoods in this city.

For a minute, you broke my spirit. For a fleeting second, I doubted my love of Indianapolis. How could I love a city that had residents who stole from me in the midst of my darkest hours?

And honestly, I never expected anything to come from my late night social media post about the theft. I was tired, I was emotionally drained, and I wanted to just deal with the logistics the following day.

However, I woke up at 9AM to a massive outpouring of support. I was overwhelmed. A couple of friends who work at the Star had seen my post and published a story on it. I had a dozen voicemail messages and 25 missed calls, 100 emails and 50 plus text messages–all of people either asking how they could help, media wanting to do a story, or people making incredible donations to help us get back on our feet.

By 10AM, we had received more than $3,000 in donations, by 1PM, I had done several media interviews and our donations were pushing $5,000. By the next morning, we had commitments and gifts of more than $15,000.

Your theft was a low blow, but in my darkest hours as you hauled off a busted TV and a couple of old bikes—you created an opportunity for me to be reminded of how incredible Indianapolis is. The outpouring of support allowed Nine13sports to purchase additional equipment we were in desperate need of, to replace what was stolen, and to only miss one day of programming. We were up and running within 24 hours despite your effort to knock us down.

So, here are two things I want you to know:

  1. One of the bikes you took—the one with the crud on the frame? That was kid puke that we hadn’t had a chance to clean off yet. You’re riding a bike with puke on it—joke is on you.
  2. That TV you took? It doesn’t work without the remote—I had to rewire the internals on it last year which is why there are no buttons. Give me a call, I’d love to give you the remote…and an uppercut to the jaw while I’m at it.

Enjoy your puke covered bike, your TV that doesn’t work, and the knowledge that you didn’t knock me down, you gave this city a chance to shine and impact me.