Way back in about 2000, maybe 2001, my friend had a crazy love for all things football. this was something that led to his love for Arena Football. He sold me on a trip to Grand Rapids to see the Rampage play. This was coupled with a trip across Canada to the Falls and back home, making a trip out of it. We did this twice. I became a passing fan of the sport. Attended another one years later when the same friends moved close to the Ohio Valley Greyhounds to catch a game there with a smaller league. I knew from his and Wikipedia’s history lessons of Arena Football that Pittsburgh had the very first AFL Champions, and always hoped they would return.
I was ecstatic to hear we were finally getting the Pittsburgh Power this season. Not that I’m crazy about the name, but I’m sure it’ll grow on me. Chachi picked up tickets to the inaugural game, so it was on.
To begin the night, some organization snafus spoiled the night’s start for some. LiveingSocial had a deal for tickets. But you could only redeem them at one window, causing some to wait for 45 minutes, and well into the game in some cases. Aside from that, they closed the lower American Eagle (blech) entrance, forcing a mass of people to the Trib entrance, making another mess of things. The tickets for general admission are first come first serve, and seem to be open to most, if not all, of the upper seating area, which is plenty perfect for a view of the game from anywhere. Already people were sporting Pittsburgh Power jerseys and t-shirts. There was even a Power Man super hero that was walking around and got featured on the big screen!
It was the general feeling that most had no experience of Arena Football before this. For most, it seemed to resonate the Ginny’s That’sChurch.com posting first pegging the XFL in relation. A misnomer for most since this AFL has existed for over 20 years (sans that year they sort of folded and relaunched.) But it is sort of the best relation on a national stage. I was surprised to hear a familiar voice screeching on the mic in Bubba the Bulldog of The Fan, and more personally, filmed doing the same yells at IWC for one of my part time gigs, doing the in-arena announcing throughout the game. Mullens and The Fan plugs in tow.
Already, the sport was Yinzer-ized. Duquesne alum Joshua Rue, who fast was greeted with a low “RUUEEE” just as we have “Heath” in our Steelers games. Twitterers and other watchers started debating the yinzer version of Power “Let’s go see the Picksburg Pahr!”
By the second half, Chachi was hooked.
And he’s not the only one…
On Shireman’s point, you have to admit, this isn’t NFL football, and I think that cheaper option is the appeal. At one point of the game, I turned to Chachi and mentioned “if this was a Steeler game, we’d be broker, cold, and not able to see nearly as well the action from the nosebleeds”.
A tradition I knew from the old Rampage days, was after the game when the team and cheerleaders were on the field, and it was open to the crowd for meet and greets and autographs. I was more than pleased to see that that AFL tradition continues. Here’s a video of that experience, including Chachi meeting his new favorite player, Mike “Joystick” Washington, and Woycheck doing some field work for ThatsChurch.net.
Aside from the opening snafus, I haven’t heard a negative things since that game on Friday, and most are talking about going back just like Chachi is above. Here’s to the Pittsburgh Power. And here’s hoping they last longer than their predecessor.