It was an opportunity to talk, listen, and share ideas.
On Tuesday the Colts, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Indianapolis Public Schools came together for a team building exercise at the Peace Learning Center in Eagle Creek Park.
It started with Colts players and officers from IMPD giving advice to sixth graders from Eleanor Skillen School 34 as if they were talking to themselves at that age.
"Listen to your parents, I took that for granted when I was growing up – listening to what my dad had to say," said linebacker Anthony Walker. "I was like, 'He's just trying to keep me from having fun.' But I understand in today's world, the importance of that – listening to your parents, doing what they say as far as education and doing the right things, doing the little things."
Because some day, the little things add up to big things.
"Sometimes in life you're going to be put in situations where you're going to have to have the courage to step out and be a leader," said linebacker Edwin Jackson.
"Find the positive in every situation and focus on that," said cornerback Nate Hairston. "I think anything that happens in life, there's something positive that comes from it. And instead of focusing on the negative, find the positive thing and just focus on that and you'll be alright."
"Cherish the relationships you have with people, whether it be your family or your friends. At the same time, be accepting to make new friendships or meet new people," said long snapper Luke Rhodes. "You never know who could be a really good friend or a really good support system for you or what you could do for somebody else as well."
"Believe in yourself," said cornerback Kenny Moore II. "Once you believe in yourself and gain that confidence from you and from the people around you, you'll find a lot out about yourself and what you can do."
"Don't compare yourself to anybody else. All of you have gifts, all of you have talents – maybe you haven't realized it yet, maybe you have," said safety Matthias Farley. "You're all special. You all have a light inside of you and if you follow that, you'll be alright."
And when it comes right down to it, you don't know what you don't know yet.
"I was a kid who thought I knew everything," said guard Isaiah Williams. "So, I would tell my 11-year-old self to respect your elders. They've done already what you're about to do."
The Indianapolis Colts and IMPD visited the Peace Learning Center to educate, inspire, and empower 6th graders from Indianapolis' Eleanor Skillen School 34. They participated in team building exercises.
Afterwards, they broke up into small groups to hear what the students had to say about their own experiences. One of the things that surprised Rhodes was the significance of sports in their lives.
"They see sports as kind of a mediator," he said. "Sports has so many different athletes from different backgrounds and everything, to bring them all together for a common goal – they saw sports as a peacemaker."
Even though they play a violent game, for the kids to see players as peaceful agents of change says a lot about them and their ability to influence young people.
"I think of them as Frosted Mini-Wheats – on one side, they're rough. But then, they got to see the softer side of them," said Sgt. Larry Adkins, Supervisor of Youth Services for IMPD. "This a job, this is a role that they play for their job, but in real life, they're real people."
And they can also be sweet.
The same can be said for police officers.
"At the end of the day, whether you're a police officer or a Colts player, we're all real people," Adkins said. "We all have stories. We all have challenges. We all have struggles. And we all have things that we can share to help others."
That's what they did on Tuesday – they talked, they shared, and they learned.
But most importantly – they listened.
Because that's where peace starts.