The ISF Team attended their first Arena League competition last night, and the brief verdict is in: it’s pretty cool. Admittedly, I’m an easy mark when it comes to sporting events, but there were a couple really sturdy hits, some exciting catches, a comeback by the home team, and and even though there were a lot of stoppages of play, there was some reasonably amusing entertainment. A quick bullet-point rundown, and then I
start trying to embed photos leave the “temporary” Flickr post up, and link to that post.
Things I Noticed At Allstate Arena:
- Not obscenely expensive! I mean, it’s a sporting event, so you’re going to pay $6/beer, and $3/soft pretzel, but the seats were good, for the price. Parking was $11, but you were in the lot, not down the street somewhere.
- A surprising lack of profanity! Maybe it’s because I spent most of my recent sporting attendance in the company of foul-mouthed sailors (college students, or recent graduates), but I noticed that the two of us were the main dispensers of oaths at the game. And we weren’t even that bad. So, that’s another point in favor of AFL: A Family… Show. A Family Location. A Family pLacetogoforfuntimes. I don’t know.
- They reach out to the community, sort of! Percy L. Julian High School Marching Band, in the heezy. They, as far as I could tell, were limited to a screaming rendition of the SportsCenter Theme, and some break-down beat section thing, so they could dance. It was… nice. I think they should’ve given the marching band a little more free rein to play, but that’s a band dork talking.
- Kept my attention! I was warned by the Official Yeti Roommate that it might be boring, because all of the scoring equates to a lot of stoppages of play. But, they threw up a lot of weird entertainment, including a footrace between a fan (SLOW) and a video game representation of a player (programmed to lose). It allowed me to break out the old “It’s fixed, like my dog,” heckle, which is always a winner. It got a good reaction from the gigantic-headed dude in front of me and his friends.
- Exciting game! Juston Wood played better than Matt D’Orazio for the vast majority of the game, and Chicago had to come back in the 4th. Wood threw a few interceptions to hamstring their comeback attempt, and a TD to Bobby Sippo both iced the win, and provided the most hilarity of the entire evening. Sippio scores, spikes the ball, and leaps into the stands. No crappy Lambeau-Leap style “hop halfway up the wall, and get hung on to and molested by random 350 pound Wisconsinites here. No, he jumped all the way into the stands, high fived everyone, and danced in the aisle. Of course, this took some time, and he proceeded to dash out of the stands to get back to the bench, was able to avoid the delay of game penalty on the extra point, but was, in fact, flagged for illegal participation. His participation involved diving over the boards to get back on the bench, Fosbury Flop-style. I wonder, if he had just walked up the aisle to the concourse, and walked back down the other aisle to the bench, would that have been a penalty? Should the dancing and whatnot have been considered excessive celebration? Is there such a thing in the AFL?
- Matt D’Orazio owes most of his paycheck to Bobby Sippio! Mr. D’Orazio was throwing the ball at some people’s shins, three yards in front of other people, behind others, and generally being erratic as hell. Juston Wood wasn’t a ton better – he left a couple of his recievers jumping full-out in the open field, which should’ve left somebody with a helmet in the small of their back, and zero air left in their lungs, but fortunately, did not.
- Those boots really did something useful for Beth, the emcee! I think that’s self-explanatory.
- The Rush dance team (SoBe Adrenaline Rush) distracts the players! At least during one routine, where they start out in jerseys, which they then throw off, completely wrenching the attention of some random Soul player away from their huddle. It was great, and I wish I had a picture. Here’s the best we can do. God, we’re useless as photographers.
Further updates as events warrant.