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I am a fan of minor league sports.  This is something I have mentioned before.  A big part of the reason I enjoy the minor leagues is that the presentation and product is much more enjoyable when you attend at the stadium or ballpark.  It is, of course, a lot cheaper as well.

In our area we have minor league teams of every description.  That’s one of the perks of living in a market that is not a top-tier market, but has a reputation for supporting local sports teams.  I’ve had the chance to head out to City Island to watch the Harrisburg Senators plat a few times and have been to several Hershey Bears games.  This past weekend I added another of the local teams to my list: the Harrisburg Stampede.

My wife and I, in yet another move to break the routine a bit, decided to grab a Stampede game way back in February.  At the time we thought we were getting free tickets as part of a promotion, but it ended up it was a glitch, but a glitch they honored.  And thus, we were sitting in a somewhat sparse crowd at the Farm Show to watch a little Arena Football as the Harrisburg Stampede faced off against the Richmond Raiders.

For those who have never experienced Arena Football (I’ve seen two games now having caught a Charlotte Rage game way back) it is an experience.  The game is football, but the rules are very different.  And Arena Football isn’t like minor league hockey or baseball.  In  those sports the major league teams are developing talent in a farm system.  Arena football is out on its own.  The NFL doesn’t have a true minor league since NFL Europe was shut down. 

The thing that got me was watching so many people leaving near the end.  The home team down four points and a full two minutes left, and many were already heading for the parking lot.  It ended up being their loss.   The game ended up going to triple overtime with some of the most impressive plays coming in the overtime periods.  Those that left early saw a score of 54-58.  The final was 74-68.

If you enjoy sports and haven’t ever experienced an Arena Football game, I would recommend giving it a shot.  The games don’t have the precision of the NFL, but the electricity of a local crowd and a team of guys playing for not much more than love of the game can make for a fun evening.  I try to be a supporter of local sports, and I urge everyone to do the same. 

The Stampede look playoff bound this season, this weekend’s win apparently secured them a July 3 home playoff game.  I wish them the best of luck.



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