VooDoo puts hex on me

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2004

By GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

Last Saturday was St. Valentine’s Day. But, to me, it was the debut or should I say re-birth of Arena Football in New Orleans. I can recall my father taking me to a few old New Orleans Night AFL game back in 1991. At that time, the games were played in the cavernous Louisiana Superdome. It just did not have the right atmosphere as the New Orleans Arena has. Back then, the New Orleans Arena was not even being discussed.

Nonetheless, me and 14,000 other fans were ready for the VooDoo to start their inaugural season. A gloomy and wet day did not damper the spirits of the fans. Myself along with four co-workers got to the Arena late due to the traffic caused by the inclimate weather. We go inside the Arena and find that about six people are sitting in our seats. I kept my patience as each person sitting checked their ticket stub to see if they were in the right seat. While standing in the aisle, some idiot in another row says “are you all going to stand around forever?” That statement ticked me off a little, but I kept my cool and did not let it bother me.

As we get into our seats I flip through a brochure telling me about the rules of the league. I remembered most of the rules from when the Night played here. I think the most exciting part of the league is that you either go for it or kick a field goal on fourth down. There are no punters.

The VooDoo defense stepped up in the first half, allowing only nine points thru a quarter and a half. I told the person sitting next to me “Anytime you hold somebody to nine points in this league you must be doing something right.” He nodded his head in agreement.

As the action picked up, the crowd got more into it, chanting “VooDoo, VooDoo, VooDoo.” Near the end of the game, with the home team trailing, the people I rode with asked me if I was ready to go. I looked at them like they were crazy and said “are you kidding me? This is Arena Football, where anything can happen.” With about two minutes left, I stood up and tried to start a chant by saying “VooDoo, VooDoo, VooDoo.” Unfortuantly, I could not get any of my co-workers to go along with me. In fact, they turned around and thought I was crazy. All I was doing was getting my money’s worth and enjoying myself. Oh well, all’s well that end’s well. The VooDoo won 41-40.