Whether it's a game day or a school day, Colts mascot, Blue, spends his days spreading the love of the Horseshoe to Hoosiers near and far.
As the furry face of the franchise, his travels take him across the state of Indiana and over the past 13 seasons, he's formed close bonds with some incredible people and organizations.
While the team is focused on football - for Blue, that's the smallest part of what he does.
"We're in the community 365 days a year," said Trey Mock, the man behind Blue. "Just this past year, we did somewhere between 350 and 400 appearances. Ten of those are game days. It's the school shows, it's the hospital visits, it's a lot of special visits to people who have drawn really close to Blue."
Inspired by the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats, Blue kicked off his own season-long initiative.
"Blue's shoes have always been custom made. And the players' shoes are custom made. So it just made sense that if we're going to custom make Blue's shoes, why not do it for a good cause?" he said. "We work with so many amazing people. Our graphic designers in house for the Colts deconstructed one of my shoes, figured out to how to pattern it, and then graphically decided how to design it."
What they came up with was a way to tell a story - on a pair of oversized shoes.
"For me, it's the greatest gift of this job - is not only to connect with the community, but to connect with individuals in the community. For this first year, we definitely wanted to highlight some of those stories," Mock said.
Blue teamed up with Finish Line and kicked off his Kicks For A Cause initiative in July with Special Olympics Indiana.
"It was the 50th anniversary, so we wanted to highlight that. The autographs are Special Olympics athletes from the state of Indiana," Mock said. "If someone wanted to find out more - for every single shoe, we tried to give them a directive. SpecialOlympicsIndiana.org is on the shoe."
August was SMA Awareness Month and Blue partnered with his friend, Graham Vollmer, who had legislation passed on his behalf making newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy mandatory in Indiana.
"For the month of August, to be able to have someone like Blue use such an incredible platform to raise awareness, it was very moving for our family and for all of the families that were represented on the shoes and for the SMA community in general," said Graham's mother, Adrienne. "There were names on the shoes of children who have lost their lives to SMA and who are angels and there are names of children who were diagnosed at birth and able to get treatment right away. So, it's all different kids and all different phases of this disease represented on Blue's shoes."
September was a celebration of the Colts kicking off their 35th season in Indianapolis.
"That was a big deal for the organization," said Mock. "We had highlights from the 35 seasons in Indy. You've got Adam (Vinatieri), who's the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time), Blue was established in 2006, the Mayflower moving truck made it on here, obviously our Super Bowl championship, Coach (Reich)'s face, and Blue signed it."
October was the NFL's Crucial Catch and Blue honored his friend, Tyler Trent, who inspired so many during his brave battle with cancer.
"When someone is battling through a disease like osteosarcoma, you can't really do anything but spend time with them and let them know that you care," Mock said. "He had one of the shoes in October for Crucial Catch and it was just such a joy, not only to honor him that way, but after that month it's the only pair of shoes that isn't in the office because I gave them to him. They were in his room for him to see every single day in November and December."
Tyler lost his battle in January, but he still achieved his goal of raising national attention and hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research.
In November, Blue took Salute to Service and made it personal.
"We did first responders on one foot and military on the other," said Mock. "For all the military, we had people who work for the Colts - anybody who has served is on that shoe, but also family members. Our extended family and their family members are on that shoe."
In December, he honored his friends at Riley Hospital for Children.
"We got to honor not only Riley kids, but two Riley patients. It was Tyler, so we designed another shoe for him on my right foot and on the left was my buddy Jasper."
Get inspiration for all of your Kicks For A Cause designs from our pre-made kicks!
And for the last home game of the season, Blue launched a contest and invited fans to design a shoe of their own. The winning entry, designed by Keri Benge for her daughter, Mia, was in honor of stroke awareness.
"Mia has been not only one of the Colts' biggest supporters, but a huge supporter of the mascot program. She is such a bright light for us," said Mock. "She is a stroke survivor, so they designed a shoe about stroke awareness and the signs that you look for to get medical attention."
And a few weeks later, Benge found herself using the advice she had shared.
"When Mia started having her condition in January, she had the face droop, she had the speech, and she had the arm weakness. She had the first three signs of the acronym F.A.S.T.," she said.
The time she spent on the cleats was a great reminder that turned into a full circle moment.
"When you're not faced with it for six years, because her stroke was six years ago, you kind of forget. But after designing those shoes, it kind of refreshed my memory," she said. "Here you designed these shoes so that everyone would know, now it's time for you to go into action."
She was able to get Mia the help she needed fast - the key to preventing long-term damage and in the process, she helped educate others.
That's what Kicks For A Cause is all about - and that's what Blue is all about.
"When you see what people are going through, you have empathy for that and you want to help. Sometimes, the biggest thing we can do is just hug someone and love on someone," Mock said. "And that's a lot of what we do. But taking it beyond that and being able to highlight them and do something nice for them, that will always be the cornerstone of what this mascot program is."
For more information on Kicks For A Cause, visit: https://www.colts.com/blue/kicks-for-a-cause.