Countdown to the 2018 AFL Season
On March 16, Arena Football fans across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief as word came that a new four-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) had been reached with the AFL Players Union. For several days prior, there were many rumors that the 2018 AFL season, as well as the league’s very existence, was in jeopardy. However, at the same time, its newest team, the Albany Empire, continued its campaign to sell season tickets.
In less than a month, the 31st season of the Arena Football League was supposed to kick off and it seemed that the possibility of a cancelled season was becoming more and more plausible. (That is, if you believed everything you read) There were many on Facebook and Twitter who took great joy in predicting the demise of the AFL. But for diehard AFL fans, like myself, we tried to keep a positive attitude and simply thought, “Say it ain’t so.”
I have loved the Arena Football League ever since I attended my first game in 2000. Fans endured a season without the AFL in 2009 and we all still remember how we felt back then. It was not a good time in our lives.
But now that the 2018 season has been given the green light, it is time to look forward to enjoying the action between the walls once again.
With just four teams this season, (Albany, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC) it is more important than ever for real AFL fans to make every effort to attend a game. I know that this is not practical for fans on the west coast, but if you live in the eastern half of the country, and are anywhere close to those four cities, the league could really use your support.
For myself, that will mean a mere 12-hour drive from Kalamazoo, Michigan to the nearest AFL team to me. That would be Albany, New York. But I am totally willing to make that trip in order to get my yearly fix and once again, experience the excitement of an Arena game in person.
Watching the game on TV is fine, but nothing beats being at a game in person. Over the last nine seasons I have annually driven to Ohio to see the Cleveland Gladiators play. Sometimes making the trip multiple times each year. That was only a four-hour drive and we would routinely get home around 2 AM after attending a game. We always had an awesome time, whether the Gladiators won or lost.
If you love Arena Football, and its been a while since you have attended a game in person, you owe it to yourself to pack the kids into the minivan and hit the road. It’s time to experience the game as it was meant to be, in an arena with thousands of other screaming fans just feet from the action.
Make this the season when you renew your relationship with the Arena Football League. You and your kids will be happy you did. The season kicks off on April 13 in Baltimore and on April 14 in Albany. I hope I see you at a game sometime this season.