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Shock satisfy football fix until fall

by Brian Walker
| April 9, 2010 9:00 PM

Attending Spokane Shock games are much like eating corned beef and cabbage. Once, maybe twice, a year they sure hit the spot, but I just can't seem to acquire a taste for either much beyond that. Don't get me wrong. The arena football games provide electric family entertainment.

Attending Spokane Shock games are much like eating corned beef and cabbage.

Once, maybe twice, a year they sure hit the spot, but I just can't seem to acquire a taste for either much beyond that.

Don't get me wrong. The arena football games provide electric family entertainment.

And I will say that I've never walked away disappointed, nor have our boys.

Not when the score is 74-62 as it was on Friday when our 9-year-old and I watched the Shock lose to Milwaukee during their initiation into the Arena Football League, the big boys of the sport, from the arenafootball2 (af2) league that Spokane previously dominated.

The Shock enters the field - all 50 yards of it - with pyrotechnics, a light show and about 10,000 boisterous fans. With eight players on each side and the size of the field, the games are offensive shootouts and most often the outcome is in doubt until late.

Fans, some sporting orange hairdos and dressed as action heroes, can reach out and touch the players.

And, with that many people, it gets loud.

So loud that our ears hurt last year when we watched the Shock clinch their berth in the af2's Arena Cup with a dramatic victory.

The only louder sporting event I have attended was sitting in the front row of a NASCAR race.

Thankfully Friday's game didn't get as loud as the previous one we attended because it wasn't as tight for much of the contest. And I forgot earplugs anyway.

So - besides limited defensive stops and running games and a seemingly awkward time of year to be playing football as most of us know it - what's not to like about making it an occasional family outing?

As odd as it sounds, the touchdowns can become mundane. There can easily be four or five TDs scored in a 2-minute span as they were in the Shock's season opener. After the teams have achieved a total of 15 touchdowns, it begins to have the feeling of a pickup game in the backyard rather than an organized sport. As if the offense needs another advantage with a sprinting receiver at the line of scrimmage, eh?

Thankfully, the touchdowns, no matter how many there are, still make as much of a difference at the end as at the start.

Arena football will never become an addiction for this football traditionalist, but it will always be an entertainment option.

Due to last-minute planning and limited ticket availability, we've generally sat in the "family" section where tickets are $13 each. So, if you're able to divert your kids from dreaming of popcorn and soda, it's comparable to taking them to a show.

Friday's game just sounded like a meatier, more manly way to help polish off spring break than taking in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movie.

The family section in the upper level has suited us just fine.

The boys generally don't have to contend with fans in front of them who are reluctant to use their seat or abnormally tall.

Plus, we can see the entire field, how many wide open receivers are missed by the quarterback and how many yards are gained on each play. You just don't miss much with a bird's-eye view.

You'll also notice that the fans are just as entertaining as the game. I swore that I saw the neck veins of some as they traded taunting words - probably not well-thought out - and motions with opposing players.

But that's just part of the atmosphere.

To die-hard fans, the Shock give them the best football in the area with mostly former college players. To others, they at least feed a football fix until fall.

Brian Walker is a staff writer for The Press.

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