What’s that you say? You are undertaking the mythic journey of following your team to an away game against the Ball State Cardinals? Then you, my friend, are in for a treat. Do we have the pageantry of the Auburns and Alabamas? No. Do we have the coeds of the USCs and Arizona States? Unfortunately, no. Do we have the cultural explosion of a road game at Miami? Definitely not. You also don’t have excellent odds of ending up in a bathtub full of ice in a seedy motel missing a kidney. Life is all about trade offs.
So you’re venturing to Muncie and like any fan visiting a place for the first time, you head to the interwebs in search of a place to stay, some places to eat, what to expect, and what to do. And that, ladies and gents, is where your faithful team here at OTP comes into play. We’ve done the research and Lord knows drank and ate our way through Muncie so you don’t have to. Consider it a thank you gift in advance for the W your team gave us.
On today’s edition of the Visiting Fan’s Guide? Muncie. How to get there and some background on the city itself.
Muncie… A Typical Middle-American Community
Don’t take my word for it. Take the Rockefeller Institute of Social and Religious Research or the National Science Foundation who funded several studies about the “average” American right there in little old Muncie, Indiana. That was back when Muncie was a vibrant community and smack dab in the boom of manufacturing and plant work that left the community employed, happy, and most importantly, home to one particular family that moved their canning and jarring operation from Buffalo, NY to Muncie, IN. That family? The Ball family.
Muncie in its earliest stages, like many towns and cities in the midwest, was a Native American settlement for the Delaware Tribe. Clearly, it’s home on the White River was appealing, and the area was claimed for European settlers who thought that would be a great place to live… regardless of who lived there currently. Who would have thunk that manifest destiny would have ended so well for all of us Ball State degree holders.
As the economy fluctuated in the mid to late 80’s and late 90’s, the manufacturing sector as a whole slowed remarkably, and in turn, so did Muncie’s vibrant nature. Large factories closed, industrial natured jobs dried up, and Muncie began a slow descent into depression and economic downturn. The lone beacon through all of that was the campus itself being the de facto center of Muncie culture and life. Students will often lament not being part of a bigger and better city atmosphere, calling it “Funcie” sarcastically, but there are things to do and things to see if you look hard enough in Muncie.
How You Get There:
Most of our MAC brethren will probably make the drive to Muncie, but if flying in is your preference, you have only two viable options. There are flights to Muncie, as it does have an airport (code: MIE) but most flights within most readers’ budgets will take you to Indianapolis (code: IND). From Indy to Muncie is roughly an hour and a very easy drive right up I-69. Yes… it’s ok to make jokes about the interstate’s number. Every Ball Stater does.
Famous Muncie References:
Think Muncie has produced nothing of substance other than the glass “Ball” jars that your grandma cans her blackberries in? Think again. References about Muncie, Indiana include the likes of:
- In the 2010 movie Valentine’s Day by Garry Marshall, the character “Jason” played by Topher Grace states to be from Muncie, Indiana
- Norville Barnes (played by Tim Robbins), the lead character in the 1994 movie The Hudsucker Proxy is from Muncie, Indiana.
- The 1986 movie Hoosiers by David Anspaugh about a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship was based on the 1954 Milan High School basketball team that beat the Muncie Central High School team from Muncie.
- The comic book Knights of the Dinner Table is set in a fictionalized version of Muncie, and many characters are current or former Ball State University students.
- The character Jerry from the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, set in a fictional nearby town, is derided by his coworkers for having a time-share condo and planning his retirement in Muncie.
- In Supernatural (TV series), the episode, “Hammer of the Gods”, is set in Muncie, Indiana.
- The movie, My Name is Jerry was shot in Muncie, Indiana and was produced by the Ball State University Institute for Digital Education and Entertainment (Sponsored by the Center for Media Design) and the College of Fine Arts.
- In Close Encounters of the Third Kind Richard Dreyfuss’ character is in Muncie, IN when he sees the UFO.
- Toby Keith mentions Muncie in his song I Wanna Talk About Me
Let us all also not forget that Muncie was home to the short lived television series Armed and Famous where Erik Estrada and WeeMan were Muncie police. Perhaps most importantly though to the betterment of the world and society, Muncie was the former home of Playboy Playmates Jami Ferrell and Michelle Baena. Funcie indeed.
Now that you’ve learned about Muncie, check OTP over the next several days where we will bring you things to see, things to do, places to stay, places to eat, places to imbibe, and most importantly, what to expect on your visit to Scheumann Stadium on gameday.
Filed under: VisitingFan'sGuide