Last Friday the Pittsburgh Power, the local Arena Football League franchise kicked off their 2012 home schedule. The fans and the city seemed to be really into it. Why? Because as we all know any football in March is better than no football at all.
America was well represented before, during and after the game.
Representing “Army Strong” were two of Americas finest; Pfc. Matthew Basham along with Corporal Stephen Kopylcheck who both appeared as if they were ‘GQ’s’ contribution to the armed forces. The two soldiers stood relaxed and confident flanked by their armored “Hum-V” while many fans used any photographic device handy, cell phones, cameras or anything else that was handy just to capture pictures of a vehicle that most are only able to view from afar on the evening news.
The positive thing about arena football is that it is a quick paced product, sort of like running fast breaks on every play in basketball; so you don’t have to be concerned about the fans falling asleep. Also the ticket prices are within the range (or should be) of all football fans who desire not to shell out one week’s pay to purchase the game ticket, pay for the parking as well as buying a few “brewski’s” without their debit card declining their next purchase at the lunch room vending machine the following day at work. Oh, by the way, the game, the game. 7,094 fans watched as the Philly ‘Soul’ prevailed, 84-59.
One of the most interesting highlights or lowlights, depending on how you look at it happened seconds after the Power had marched down the field to take a 19-14 lead. Power fullback Tyre Young a product of IUP, (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) ran left and powered his way into the end zone from five yards out just as the first quarter ended. As the team lined up to attempt the extra point; Mr. Young regurgitated a portion of his pregame meal onto the playing surface. It took ten minutes to clean up the food “matter” from the “field”. No one can accuse him of not leaving it all out there. Was it just a case of jitters or a matter of the contact that Mr. Young received in route to the end zone that caused this accident? We may never know.
The next home game for the Power is Fri., Apr. 6 at 7:30 p.m. against the Iowa Barnstormers. I would suggest that Young track his pregame food intake but he is listed at 6’ tall weighing in at a svelte 310 pounds so at this point any dietary monitoring suggestions from anyone other than the “Colonel” might be futile. However, this old, grizzled writer is going to offer a small morsel of advice to the young Power fullback anyway. Eat light and run right.
The University of Pittsburgh is now chewing on one heckuva consolation “carrot” for not being selected for the NCAA version of “show me the money” otherwise known as ‘March Madness’. There seems to be a new sheriff in town as least for the 2012 season known as the College Basketball Invitational. According to the gazellegroup.com the sponsors website; “The College Basketball Invitational (CBI) presented by Zebra Pen provides a meaningful opportunity for teams that deserve a postseason experience. Sixteen teams compete in this three-year-old postseason event, hosted at on-campus arenas throughout the country. [The event] is a single-elimination tournament up until the Championship Series, with all games played at campus sites. The goal of the brackets is to create a competitive balance within each bracket and to minimize missed class time. The 16-team field consists of teams not selected for the NCAA Tournament. Now read this. Sometimes when a college athletic program goes through the tumultuous year that Pitt has so far experienced such as the ultra-hyped former head football coach Todd Graham bailing after less than 12 months on the gig and the men’s’ basketball squad underachieving, perhaps the school should have licked their wounds, regrouped and mustered their forces so that they could become better competitors for the 2012-2013 campaign. Maybe the University should have taken a rain check in regards to accepting an invite to compete in the College Basketball Invitational, the College Basketball International, the College Basketball Irrational or any other tourney ending with a suffix of “ional.” By the time that you read this column Pitt will have won or lost the first game in the finals competing for CBI “championship” and I am using the word championship in a very liberal way.
By the way, what in the heck does Zebra pen have to do with college basketball aside from throwing out a few “duckets?” All’s I have left to say is; God bless Pitt and the College Basketball International.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)