It was Friday evening and the game was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. It was to be the Arena Football League championship game, and I had completely forgotten that it was going to take place nearby. Arena football being slightly more popular than curling in Florida, we were able to get tickets. Having never seen an Arena League contest, I was game for a new experience. I checked my calendar (“hey Cheryl, are we doing anything on Sunday”), and it turned out I was free, so we went. Picture an indoor football game on a field the size of a hockey rink and set to the WWE (World Wrestling “Entertainment”) soundtrack, and you will have pictured an Arena League game. I was going to my first game, and it was the championship game no less! From the get go, there was an air of importance to the game, but I couldn’t help thinking that it had all the significance of the Junior College Basketball championship. Come on, how many people can you find that can name a player? How many can name the coach? I know people at work that don’t even like football, but they can name the local NFL team’s coach. Ask someone who the arena team’s coach is and you’ll be lucky to get a blank stare of befuddlement.
With that kind of build-up, you’d think I didn’t have a good time. Actually, it was just the opposite. The game was enhanced by a classic sporting event atmosphere. The arena seemed nearly sold out. The arena was producing more beer than the Rocky Mountain springs of Golden, Colorado, and possessed all the drunken revelry that goes with it. Seriously, it was great. Fans bloodied from sitting too close to the action were helped backstage, liquored up fans inoculated against an outbreak of empathy were throwing things at people with better seats, there were few T.V. time outs (as near as I could tell), and the game play was fast paced. Can you say “sports fan nirvana”? What was the icing on the cake? The local team won. It’s hard not to like a winner, unless it’s the other team.