Even though the Dallas Cowboys are in the offseason, football fans can still get their fix via Champions Indoor Football and the Texas Revolution.
Christianity may be the most popular religion in the world. But in Texas, it’s football. Anyone who’s watched Friday Night Lights likely knows that. But the evidence is made even more clear when driving through The Lone Star State, as small town churches sit in the shadows of colossal high school stadiums that have been built as alters to the sport.
Still, the Dallas Cowboys reign supreme across Texas at the state’s favorite football son. But in the offseason, the lack of actual football being played can make a fan restless. Especially if you’re not all that into the NFL Draft.
So imagine my surprise, and utter delight, when I had a chance to watch actual football being played in the middle of April. Sitting upon a perch in the press box, inside the impressive Allen Event Center last Saturday night in Allen, Texas, I found myself in awe of the wonderful spectacle before me.
Smoke filled the air. Music reminiscent of what you’d expected to find on one of those old Jock Jams albums blared from the speakers. And a light show enveloped the impressive 5,550 fixed seat indoor stadium. Cheerleaders danced across a red-colored field. There were cross bars hanging from the ceiling. This was an impressive sight that, as a starved football fan, I was all too happy to take in.
Hundreds of children suddenly filed onto the field to pay tribute to our country. I stood with my hand on my heart as the national anthem rang out, being played by a local high school band. Then, several players of the Texas Revolution were introduced to roaring applause. One of them was even wearing a Superman cape as he floated across the field to thunderous cheering.
The event felt like what I imagined Cowboys games were like over fifty years ago. Back when America’s Team played at the Cotton Bowl in the early 1960’s, had an attendance as low as 10,000 fans, and the CowBelles & Beaux used to cheer for diminutive quarterback Eddie LeBaron on the sidelines. Those days are long gone for Cowboys fans whose applause now get lost somewhere in the vacuum of the massive AT&T Stadium.
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No, attending a Champions Indoor Football (CIF) game hearkens back to a different era of the sport. Where the community is so intertwined with a team, it feels almost too personal. It’s the hard-hitting action of football being played by men with a passion for the game bigger then their paychecks. Where fans cheer on their local teams on the weekend, and work beside those same players during the week.
As for the actual football being played, the shorten field made every hit more impactful. I dare say there wasn’t a seat in the entire arena without a press box view. And these players were the real deal, some of them having played their college ball at places like Iowa, Arkansas and Baylor. It was honestly just fun watching live football again.
And the Cowboys themselves were well represented that night as former Dallas running back Troy Hambrick was in attendance. The undrafted rookie free agent out of Savannah State is most famous for replacing legendary running back Emmitt Smith in the starting lineup back in 2003.
The Revolution’s officials and staff made sure there was never a dull moment for fans. During timeouts, there was constantly something going on as the event was very reminiscent of what you’d expect to see during a minor league baseball game. But in a good way.
Several contests were held, cheerleaders were throwing out free t-shirts during timeouts, kids dancing in the stands highlighted on two massive television screens, a firecracker-shaped mascot hamming it up; the action literally never stopped.
Despite the theatrics, the game on the field reigned supreme. The 3-0 Revolution were facing off against their first real challenge of the young season, the 5-0 Dodge City Law. It was a back and forth contest, as both teams flipped flopped leads throughout the night.
In the end, the Revolution came out on top giving the Law their first loss of the season, 49-42, thanks to a clutch touchdown pass from Texas quarterback Chris Dixon to wide receiver Joe Adams with nine seconds left in the game. Again, never a dull moment.
At the end of the contest, fans flooded the field. Revolution players and the team’s cheerleaders signed autographs and took pictures while being congratulated for their victory. Children threw footballs as their ran along the red colored turf, imagining their future football glory. It was a night this football fan will remember fondly for a very long time.
If you would like to know more about the Texas Revolution and the CIF, you can checkout their website at www.texasrevs.com. Their next game will be Sunday, April 30th at 3:00pm CT. If you are missing football, it’s an event you don’t want to miss.