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How I spent My Friday Night

by Randy Snow

Originally posted on ArenaFan.com, Saturday, March 27, 2004

There I was, sitting at my computer, surfing the Internet on a Friday night. My oldest son was doing homework, the other kids were watching TV and the wife was reading another romance novel. Yup, things were really jumpin’ at my house!

I glanced at my watch and noticed that it was about 10 minutes before eight o’clock. That’s when it hit me. The Grand Rapids Rampage were 20 minutes into their game against the Indiana Firebirds in Indianapolis. The Rampage were 0-6 and coming off a bye week, while the Firebirds had won their last two games after going 0-5 to start the season. This was a game I felt that Grand Rapids had a legitimate shot at winning. They had made many personnel changes since the start of the season and seemed to be playing better in the last few games.

The game was not on TV or radio in my area, but I was dying to find out how they were doing. Then I realized that I was logged in on the most powerful communications and information device of the 21st century. The world was at my fingertips and I could access all the information on the game just as fast as my dial up modem could process it!

The first place I went to was the schedule section of ArenaFan.com. I found out that an Indianapolis radio station was broadcasting the game live on the Internet. Great! I clicked on the link to the station’s web site. Once the site came up, I found the “Click Here to Listen” button. After several seconds of waiting I was rudely informed that I did not have the proper audio player installed on my computer to be able to listen to the broadcast. I was, however, offered a chance to download a suitable player for free and immediately began the process. When I realized that it was going to take almost 2 hours to download the program using a modem, I decided to try another option.

I went to arenafootball.com and saw an update on the game right away. The Rampage were leading 21-7 in the second quarter! I called out the score of the game, and the fact that Grand Rapids was leading, to anyone in the house who was within earshot. Two of my sons came running to the computer to see if I was kidding or not. Right under the score of the game was a link that said “Live Stats.” Clicking on the link brought up a very colorful screen with tons of information on the game. (In fairness to ArenaFan.com, we also provide updated game scores on the homepage while games are in progress, but I was so focused on trying to find a live broadcast that I didn’t even see the score.)

We stayed on the stat page until the end of the first half. The screen refreshed itself about every 30 seconds or so and we were able to read about each play. A graphic of the new football showed what yard line the ball was on and lines of text told us who caught the pass, who rushed for the yardage and how many yards were gained.

After a while the boys became restless and wandered off, occasionally returning to get an update on the game. But not me, I wound up staying on-line for the rest of the game, waiting anxiously for the next refresh to occur. Would the Rampage get that first down? Could Grand Rapids stop Indiana quarterback Adrian McPherson on this drive and force a field goal attempt? It got to the point where I had to play a game of solitaire or mahjongg just to keep my mind occupied and not over speculate on what was going to happen next! (Black queen on red king, red 10 on black jack. Come on, I need an ace bad!)

Grand Rapids’ 21-13 halftime lead had become a 35-35 score with 11:21 to go in the fourth quarter and then a 42-42 tie with only 35 seconds to go in the game. The refresh waiting time was now becoming intolerable. (Black eight on red nine, red two goes on the ace.)

Firebirds kicker Clay Rush kicked a 29-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining to take a 45-42 lead over the Rampage, but Grand Rapids would have one last shot at either winning the game or sending it into overtime. (I know that four moves over, son. I don’t need any help, thank you!)

Rampage kicker Nick Gatto’s 62-yard field goal attempt fell short and the game was over. Grand Rapids still remains the only team without a win this season while Indiana is now on a three-game winning streak.

It was now a little after 10 o’clock. I had been on-line for over 2 hours when I finally turned off the computer and went to bed. Yes sir, things were really jumpin’ at our house for a Friday night!

Next game

The Rampage (0-7) are home to play the Arizona Rattlers next Sunday, April 4. Last year, Grand Rapids lost 82-81 in overtime to Arizona in Grand Rapids on April 19. It was the second highest scoring game in Arena football history and the Rampage have not won a game since.

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