The whole experience should be an entertaining one, but what is certainly going to make it more entertaining—as well as immensely frustrating—is that I'm going there with no car and a laughably meager budget. Welcome to the madness of Mojokong.
You see, I'm something of an anomaly in that I'm 31-years-old and have gone 11 years without driving a car. It isn't that I have a weird fear of cars, or had my license taken away by the law, and I'm not an environmental zealot per say, I simply find it cheaper to live my life without one.
When the subject about attending the combine was raised, I knew I could get there on Megabus—a bus line that connects various cities for cheap—so I considered it doable. I submitted my name as interested and considered the whole ordeal a long shot, though I still wanted to be there.
Then, of course, my name was drawn and I was now committed to the Covering the Combine with No Car.
My first thought was that I could take the Megabus to Indianapolis each morning, then take it home at night. The plan was solid; sure it would mean four hours of travel for a few days, but I figured I could transcribe interviews or just read during the commute.
Then came the email from the NFL stating that no press passes would be given out after 10am, which, in turn, shot my plan to hell. The Megabus arrives in Indy at 11am every day. Therefore, I needed a hotel room.
I work part-time at a public library, and make a few breadcrumbs writing on the side. In short, I am not a wealthy man, or even a middle-classed one, and I have never purchased a hotel room.
The main concern obtaining a room was its proximity to Lucas Oil Stadium. With no car, I had to be somewhat close by. The next priority was, of course, cost. I found a reasonably priced room five miles from the stadium. Time was running out so I had to procure it quickly and I pulled the trigger. Once I made the purchase, I went about figuring how I would get around.
A crucial mistake of mine was assuming Indy's public transit couldn't be worse than Cincinnati's. Somehow it is though. If you were to look at all of Indianapolis' bus lines superimposed on a map—something that would have been helpful but is not available on the bus company's website—you would see how entire regions of the city are largely ignored by public transit, including the region where my hotel sits.
I spent a lot of time studying internet maps on how I could get to the stadium inside of two hours every morning, but it seems that it's going to be about that no matter what method I take—outside of taking cabs each time, which I in no way can afford. I can hoof it and get there in around a 100 minutes. Or, I can walk many blocks away from the stadium and take a bus back in the right direction which takes about the same amount of time. Either way, getting to and from the Combine each day will be something of a mission in and of itself.
This is the weird, archaic lifestyle that for some reason I adhere to. It's strange, I know, but it's what I'm dealing with at the moment.
So not only will this adventure be about the Combine, the Draft, the Bengals, scouts, agents and players, but it will also be about how a person can do this job without a car or much money at all.
Stay tuned for future dipatches.