Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be sold out, a sea of gold Thursday night. But there is one section of fans that brings the cheers every game, even when the crowds are much smaller.
Pacers center Roy Hibbert has brought together the loudest, proudest and perhaps strangest collection of Pacers fans.
"They pump me up. I try not to show it too much. But I'm always listening to hear their chants. I'm always laughing and trying to hold it in," he said. "Auditions - we weed out the strong from the weak, Darwinism. We got a good group of guys right now!"
On a night when Bankers Life Fieldhouse is at far less than capacity, Area 55 is always at full strength. 55 members, of course, with enough Pacers passion for the whole building.
Area 55 members are hand picked by Roy Hibbert, then given season tickets in a members only section.
Kyle Brumback is the cheerleader, and voted two-time MVP of Area 55.
"Roy is great. Not only does he gives us season tickets, he talks to everybody. He throws little parties for us. He has invited us to the movies," said Brumback.
El Pacero claims to be a pro wrestler, and refuses to reveal his true identity. His act was not always appreciated in other areas of the fieldhouse.
Marjorie Shackleford, the oldest member at 72, treated us to a rap: "Now there's a crowd. We're Pacers fans, for crying out loud. Now I can still yell and I can still holler. I got a red neck and a blue collar!"
A retired nurse, Shackleford rapped her way into Area 55. "Yeah, that's right, I'm braggin. Let's go down to the fieldhouse and see. I already know who the winner's gonna be. 'Cause we play smashmouth ball and stuff and showed everybody we're up to snuff. We can give most any team a lickin'. I know 'cause I ain't no spring chicken."
Area 55 even has a blind member. Shawn Dobbs listens to the radio broadcast to follow the action.
"People will actually come up and ask me what's going on. Plus I can throw out some fun statistics during the game that people may not be aware of. It's kind of actually an advantage. I think it's also good for blind people to realize you can still go to a game and enjoy it, because it's really all about being a part of the atmosphere and cheering your team," he said.
The most fanatic atmosphere in the fieldhouse is Area 55.
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