Sunday, February 26, 2006

So I Went To A Football Game and A Hockey Match Broke Out

Chattahoochee Valley VipersWell, it was football. Not like football I was used to. But still football.

You've heard of ... or maybe seen ... Arena Football. Well, sort of like that. Actually, a lot like that. But not exactly that.

There's a new ... well, sort of new ... indoor football league: The AIFL.

No, not the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Not the America-Israel Friendship League. And not even the Atlantic Indoor Football League ... though you'd be close.

It's the American Indoor Football League. And it's the new name of the expanded Atlantic Indoor Football League.

Anyway, they play football indoors. In small arenas. Like basketball courts. Or hockey rinks. That size of arena. Just like the Arena League. Or AF2.

But it's AIFL. And it's a lot like the Arena game you may be familiar with.

It's odd, watching them play football indoors. Of course, I've played football indoors. But I broke a lamp and got my butt whipped for it. But last night, grown men played football indoors. And nobody broke a lamp. Or a leg. Or anything, as far as I could tell.

But they did get hot and bothered.

The AIFL expanded from six to 16 teams, and two of the expansion teams, the Chattahoochee Valley Vipers and the Daytona Beach Thunder premiered Sunday night in Columbus. And the Chattahoochee Valley team is the local team. What with Columbus being physically located in the Chattahoochee Valley and the Chattahoochee River separating Columbus from Phenix City, Alabama.

Anyway, they opened their seasons Sunday night, and the first quarter had all sorts of near-fights the whole quarter. Well, 10 seconds into the second quarter, they finally threw down. It reminded me of the first hockey game I went to. Back in that hockey game, they dropped the puck and two players threw down their gloves and started swinging at each other. So both teams played short for like 20 minutes or something.

Well, it sort of looked like that in the second quarter of the Indoor Football game. Benches clearned and punches were thrown. And, after a bit, the officials got it under control. Threw out a player.

Later, they threw out another player. So they did an okay job of keeping the game under control. As well as you can for 16 men on the field (8 to a side) the size of a hockey rink. Okay, that is a hockey rink with stripes painted on the carpet.

But after the fights were brought under control, they ended up playing some pretty fun football. My nephew went to the game with me and had a good time. And because he was there ... plus with other youth in attendance ... I was glad the officials got it under control.

So, Indoor Football was a pretty exciting thing to watch. Plus it helps when the home team wins. 48 to 46.

Will I go back? Probably. I'm a sports purist. Well, somewhat. And eight men on a 50-yard field played on a hockey rink is a little different. But I'm thinking I'll be back in the stands. There are six more home games.

You have been warned.


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