Taking The Wife to a Game. What Was I Thinking?
I have been going to Arena Football League games since 2000 and have been a season ticket holder of the Grand Rapids Rampage since 2001. Over the years, I have attended games with both of my brothers, my three sons, several friends and even my daughter. In all, I have been to over 60 AFL games including ArenaBowl XV, but my wife has never been to a game with me. Until now.
She has never been a big football fan and her only involvement with my football love affair has been as proofreader of my articles. But recently, I told her that all I wanted for my birthday was for her to attend a Rampage game with me. I thought it would be fun for her to see where the boys and I go every year and to sit in the seats that we have occupied for the past nine seasons. Boy, was I wrong. She reluctantly agreed to go to a game and chose the May 16 game against the Tampa Bay Storm, since it was the closest one to my birthday.
Taking my sons to games over the last 15 years or so has been a great bonding experience for us. We cheered for great plays, we booed bad calls by the officials and we always had a good time.
The last time my wife went with me to a pro football game was back in 1991 when we saw Detroit Lions play the Washington Redskins at the Pontiac Silverdome. Our oldest son was just two years old at the time and we left him with a sitter. I was glad when he got old enough to attend games with me.
After making the one-hour drive up to Grand Rapids from our home in Kalamazoo, we entered the Van Andel Arena and found that they were giving out free Rampage seat cushions at the game.
Since I knew that she was not that familiar with the game of Arena Football, I tried my best to convey some of the nuances of the game to her as well as who some of the players were.
“Do you see number 15 down there on the Tampa Bay bench? That’s Stoney Case. He used to play or the Detroit Lions.” I got no response. “See the guy that just caught the touchdown pass for the Storm? That’s Terrell Shaw. He was with the Rampage during their championship season in 2001.” Again, no response. (These are the kinds of things my sons would have been pointing out to me if they had been sitting there with me)
Grand Rapids played well early in the game and had a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
I startled my wife during one particular play when I let out a loud exclamation. “Did you see that? Amhad Hawkins almost intercepted that pass!”
“No, I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking at something else,” she said.
There was one thing, however, that we both agreed on at the game that night. We both enjoyed the halftime performance by the Chicago Bucket Boys. I must say that they are one of my favorite halftime acts that appear at Rampage games.
There was another thing that got her interest during the game. After they showed a commercial on the video screen, she spent the rest of the game trying to decide which dance team member she wanted to vote for in order to send them to Arena Bowl XXII in New Orleans as part of the Aaron’s Dream Team!
Even though the Rampage had not played all that well after the first quarter, they were still within striking distance in the final minutes of the game. They held the Storm to only a field goal in the fourth quarter and Grand Rapids fullback Terrell Browden scored on a three-yard run. With the two-point conversion by wide receiver Kenny Higgins, the score now stood at 58-50 in favor of the Storm with only 20 seconds left in the game.
“If this game goes into overtime…” my wife said, shaking her head. But it did not. The onside kick by Brian Gowins was recovered by Tampa Bay and the Storm ran out the clock to secure the victory.
Next year, I think I’ll just ask for a music CD for my birthday.
Former Rampage Coaches to Meet in af2
Former Rampage head coach Sparky McEwen has been hired as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz of arenafootball2 for the remainder of the 2008 season. McEwen was the assistant head coach of the team in 2004 before being hired as head coach of the Rampage the following year. Yard Dawgz head coach Gary Reasons recently resigned, which opened the door for McEwen to return to the team. McEwen was head coach of the Rampage from 2005-2007.
Another former Grand Rapids head coach, Michael Trigg, is the head coach of the af2 Corpus Christi Sharks and has been with the team since it was formed in 2007. Trigg was the Rampage coach from 1998-2003 and won ArenaBowl XV with the Rampage in 2001.
The two former Grand Rapids head coaches will square off against eachother for the first time ever on Saturday night, June 7 when the Sharks host the Yard Dawgs in Texas. That same night, the Rampage will be hosting the Colorado Crush at the Van Andel Arena.