One Moment in Time: ArenaFanís Memorable Moments
“Counting Jay Gruden's expletives during a TV game with no 7 second delay. The Preds owner loved it. Gruden thought it was funny and appreciated how I complimented his coaching style.”--Dan Ryan, WIFL Director of Communications and Former ArenaFan.com Orlando Predators Correspondent
“The War on I-4 over in Tampa last year when Jay Taylor kicked the field goal in overtime after the Preds had blown a 26 point lead in the first half... For some reason my favorite moment was a time when I couldn't feel my legs. I wasn't pumped as much as I was relieved.”--Jason Lucas, ArenaFan.com 3rd Party News and ArenaFan.com Orlando Predators Correspondent
“In 2003, as the Macon Knights were on their unbelievable march to ArenaCup IV, Field Officials started yelling back at me, and razzing me, by name, during the games... and it was obvious that they had been reading my criticism of their lack of understanding of the league rules in stories posted on ArenaFan. It was then that I realized that I wasn't merely writing into the ether.”--Keith Murphy, ArenaFan.com af2 First-Party Editor
“The moment in ArenaFan history that is most memorable to me was the two weeks of darkness that resulted from a player strike… Since this was the kind of news that the League’s site couldn’t really report on, ArenaFan was the main source during that brief time. We set records for number of hits per day during those two weeks that took years to return to… We were all terrified that the league would disband and that our great passion would cease to exist. Thankfully, both sides came to an agreement and the League is still alive today!”--Kevin Sheller, Former Owner of ArenaFan.com
“The first time I got feedback e-mail from a player's mother… When Rupert Grant rejoined the Kats midway thru the 2005 season, the first time he saw me he immediately noticed that I had lost weight - when it had been 4 years since he'd seen me… and of course, interviewing Jill Arrington.”--Charliy Nash, Nashville Kats Correspondent, ArenaFan.com
“The most memorable moment was when there was a link on a feature about me being published in the Fan's Guide for the ArenaBowl, the official publication of AFL for a couple of years. I had an interview with them and ArenaFan had a link on the story. A lot of friends sent me congratulations.”--Giancarlo Rancati, longtime ArenaFan Member
“I think for me probably the 2000 season was the most 'interesting.' Between the new prime time games on TNN, and we (ArenaFan staff) were getting interviewed on various platforms, it seemed like the website (and the League) was really starting to come into our 'own' and get noticed. We have grown since then, as well as the league, and both had our share of roller coaster bumps, but, that I think was the first season where I’d say I thought, ‘This website will be around awhile.’”--Dave Carlson, Technical Director of ArenaFan.com
“For me, being asked to host ArenaFan’s online webcast was my moment. Being able to talk consistently about the AFL, and have people actually listen to what I have to say. It keeps me in touch with the league and our legion of fans.”--Tim Capper, AFL Tonight host and ArenaFan.com staff
“I think any time I get the chance to interview or talk on the live chat it is memorable. To be able to have conversations with the fans is always special to me and will always be special. These are the people that cheer, boo, throw things at you, and cuss you out to support their team in any way possible. You love those guys in your corner but hate them in the other guys’ corner. ArenaFan does a wonderful job of allowing players the opportunity to be able to talk to the fans in those ways on their site.”--Matthew Sauk, Grand Rapids Rampage QB
“In 1998, I interviewed the Nashville Kats webmaster, Neal Cook. After the interview I got attacked by my members in my sports department for covering the AFL. I was asking AFL fans for support on my radio show. They showed up in forces to hear my interview with Jim Foster. At the end of the interview, he called me a pioneer and said, ‘I appreciate the work your doing.’”--Fran Stuchbury, Host of ArenaZone and ArenaFan.com Columnist
“My favorite ArenaFan.com moment is probably in 2004 when a poll that the website did was mentioned during the AFL on NBC halftime show… I felt it gave ArenaFan.com a legitimacy that we had not ever received, and it was the busiest one-hour period in the history of the website.”--Joe Kauffman, President and Editor in Chief of ArenaFan.com
In putting this together, a few people asked me what my favorite moment in ArenaFan history was. Though my history with ArenaFan as a staff writer only dates back a little more than a year, two moments come to mind…
Jason Lucas, Joe Kauffman, and I were standing at field level of the TD Waterhouse Center in Orlando with about a minute to go in the Preds’ playoff game with the Philadelphia Soul last year (a game that I still consider to be one of the most intense games I’ve seen in my years and years of watching this sport). Tony Graziani, needing a TD to win the game, brought his troops inside the Preds’ 10, but a Henry Taylor sack on the last play of the game saw the clock run out on the Soul. Jason and I hopped onto the field and tried giving each other one of these leaping high fives, but he’s probably about 6 inches taller than me (and has better ups than I do) and we totally fanned on the high five. It didn’t matter though. We were too excited to care that the 13000+ in attendance just saw us make fools of ourselves.
However, it’d be wrong of me if I didn’t mention the Austin Wranglers. During their trip to Atlanta to play the Georgia Force last season, I promised Austin Wranglers PR Director Erin Griffin that I’d fly out to Austin and cover the playoff game for them if they hosted a game. They did their end, and I flew out there in May to cover their game against Philadelphia. The people there were absolutely fantastic. The fans made me feel right at home and the Wranglers staff made sure I had everything I needed and then some. Though Austin’s ArenaBowl hopes were dashed that day, the team and the city made an impression on me that I will never forget.
Adam Markowitz is a freelance sports writer living in Orlando. As a Florida State graduate with degrees in music and history, the garnet and gold will forever be a part of him, but he bleeds the black and red of the Orlando Predators like none other. Adam has been following the AFL since 1991 and has been at well over 150 games, including 12 ArenaBowls. You can follow Adam on Twitter @AFLGuru.