Columbus Football, More Than a Game, A Way of Life
The bells rings. The clock is rested at 3 P.M. I run out from class to catch the bus. The year is 2005. Nine years young, excited to leave school on a Friday. Everyone is making plans for the weekend, except me. My weekend is booked.
The Columbus Destroyers have a game that Saturday. Other Arena Football League teams play that Friday night. My weekend is booked. I go home and set my fantasy lineup and get ready for an action packed weekend of AFL football.
From a young age, I became a sports fan. Mostly watching NFL football, but all other sports were still awesome to watch. I watched AFL football for the first time and fell in love with the fast action pace. Living in Ohio, I fell in love with the Destroyers. I wanted to always wear my Destroyers merchandise to school. There was never a game that I missed, which was very impressive at such a young age.
The Destroyers were more than a team to me and my close friends. They were a way of life for us. If we won, that weekend was a success. If we lost, our weekend was completely ruined. Columbus was bigger to me.
The 2007 season was a season that I will never forget. Starting off 6 and 4 gave every fan hope. We all thought that this was our year. Then, a 5 game losing streak brought us back to reality. Hope was lost. That final weekend of the regular season was magic. Winning and sneaking into the playoffs was quite remarkable.
I still remember it like yesterday. Our first playoff game, I went to a watch party at a friend's house. We ended up winning and staying up all night watching the highlights. The following week we all thought we were dead. We all knew how good the Dallas Desperados and that they were undefeated at home. Pulling off that upset and ending up making the Arena Bowl the following week made me the happiest person alive. Our fan base was going berserk that season.
2007 was a year to remember, but we thought 2008 would be more remarkable. When we ended up struggling all year, I knew that 2009 would be better. Except it wasn't. The AFL season was suspended. My hopes and dreams were ruined. I was so excited for the 2010 season because I wanted to taste success again.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Columbus did not return and we lost our team. Just like that, our team left. All the blood, sweat, and tears I put into the Destroyers was suddenly gone. I really could not comprehend what happened. My way of life was gone.
Flash forward to February 7, 2019. I am sitting at work when suddenly my phone vibrates. BREAKING NEWS: THE ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE WILL ADD A TEAM IN COLUMBUS, OHIO FOR THE 2019 SEASON. I could not believe what I read. I read it again and again, dumbfounded, staring at my phone like a little kid on Christmas morning. Arena Football is officially back in the city of Columbus. My childhood memories will become a reality once again as I get to watch the best sport in the world in the best city in the country. As the season approaches, I, along with every other Columbus Fan, find ourselves reading about the Columbus AFL team everyday. All of us Columbus nuts are counting down the days until April 27th and our team returns to Nationwide Arena. I think I speak for the entire fanbase in saying that AFL football is back in Columbus, so why not win an ArenaBowl title this year? The clock is ticking closer to the season, the countdown has begun, and the anticipation for AFL football is back in the great city of Columbus!