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My first AFL Game: An outsider look at KISS at SaberCats

Jonathan Willis
Thursday April 9, 2015

This season, Jonathan Willis will be taking someone who has never seen an Arena Football game before to a San Jose Sabercats home game to gauge their thoughts on the sport, the play, and the atmosphere in the arena.

A raucous crowd of over 10,000 was present for the San Jose SaberCats' home opener against the Los Angeles KISS. Among the paid attendees were myself and my wife who I had (read: was forced) to make the first subject of this feature. My wife is a big football fan, but had never heard of, much less seen an Arena Football game.

We went down to our seats to enjoy the team introductions which she enjoyed quite a bit before settling in. There's something to be said about the camaraderie present at an AFL game, as everyone in our section was happily talking to each other, an environment which can be hard to find at other sporting events. 

Eventually the game started and there were quite a few questions. The most puzzled one being, "Why are there nets in this game?" She had trouble understanding why there were nets in the first place if fans got to keep the footballs that went into the stands. And of course there were other questions about the man in motion, why the clock kept running, and what exactly the out of bounds rules were.

She enjoyed all the giveaways as well. The AFL prides itself on being fan friendly and the magnanimity of the SaberCats was evident in everything they give away. Her biggest complaint in this regard was that we never got any of the swag given out.

As for the game itself, it was over after the first quarter. The SaberCats dominated from start to finish thanks to a dominant defensive line and a completely inept blocking effort from the KISS. The home crowd was into it, but she needed a few $9 beers in order to keep from leaving early.

When I asked her if she'd go to another game her not in the future, she said she had a good time but she couldn't ever go to a game by herself. A lot had to do with confusion on the rules and quality of play, but she did agree with what I had told her beforehand. The AFL is great entertainment as bang for the buck and even more important I now have her approval on season tickets.

Jonathan Willis is a lifelong sports fan currently residing in Monterey, CA. A small part of him died when NFL Europe was cancelled and now lives vicariously through the CFL and the AFL. He will always relish Brock Berlin throwing pick sixes both for the University of Miami and the Hamburg Sea Devils.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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