On March 28, the Tulsa Talons played their first home game. It was also their foray into the BOK Center. Exciting times, I thought to myself, as a pair of tickets decorated my nightstand.
However, it snowed that day. The tickets remain next to the alarm clock. I showed my true Tulsa spirit and let the weather dictate my plans even though by kickoff the roadways were clear. Poor job on my part.
Last Saturday night I lost my "Talons in the BOK Center" virginity. It was long overdue and felt incredible. The hot chick (Oklahoma City) was in town.
Coach Mitch Allner would grimace at this thought, but I'll say it anyway: The score is irrelevant in af2 action. That's not to say we don't care if the Talons win or lose. Quite the contrary. They explode for points and have won more games than any franchise in af2 history.
Their motto is clever: Half the size; Twice the action. Maybe Talons football is a better participatory spectator sport than college or NFL action.
Before you dismiss, hear me out. The best seat at a Talons game is inches from the field. You interact with players, coaches and fellow fanatics. It's a release after a long work week.
Can you yell "You suck!" at your boss during the week when he makes a bonehead decision? Of course not. When a couple of Yard Dawgz (Shabaj and Hendrix) connect on an extra point and do a Kid 'n Play type footsie dance, you can absolutely give them the business.
Ok, you're thinking that yelling is permitted, in fact encouraged at college football games. Sure.
When the entire stadium is rocking, there is no better environment. However, if you're sitting in the Bob Uecker seats your interaction is limited to fellow fanatics. The players and coaches see you as a dot.
If you've been to a Talons game recently then you're nodding your head in agreement. If not, you think the BOK Center engulfs the team. Wrong. The atmosphere survived the relocation.
Curtains shroud the upper level to emit a more homey feel. The decibel level reaches respectable levels. You may even spot a Sarah Palin look-alike.
I can't lie and tell you I attend every Talons game, but I can assure you that if I weren't covering sports for Urban Tulsa, I would absolutely pencil them into my "things to do in T-Town" rotation each year. Denying yourself the opportunity to witness the game and make an educated decision is akin to letting your mom pick out your clothes... in high school.
Now that the glowing review is out of the way, here's the bad news. It's an issue that plagues all sports franchises in every sport. The dreaded uniform switch-a-roo.
Make no mistakes about it, the driving force behind the uniform switch-a-roo is $$$. Hey, let's see if we can sell a few extra jerseys. I know diehard fans will be forced to shell out more money if we change the jersey up, let's do it.
The Talons unveiled new uniforms this year to "coincide" with their entry into the BOK Center. From a marketing standpoint, genius. In fact, it's Sports Marketing 101.
From an aesthetics appeal? Fail. Remember when the NFL's Atlanta Falcons dumped the classic red uniforms for the wannabe Oakland Raiders black look?
The Talons eschewed the power red and sleek blue jerseys for run-of-the-mill black and white. It's a little thing but little things count. I may be the only person sick and tired of sports franchises going black and never going back.
Maybe the team can borrow another tired ploy from the major sports. In a year or two when the novelty of the new uniforms has worn off, unleash the third jersey.
There was a game played against our Turnpike rivals. However, when does a rivalry game cease being a rivalry? The Talons thumped the Yard Dawgz for the seventh time in eight tries. This is Red Sox owning Yankees territory.
Most of the cheerleaders returned from last year's squad. Their T-shirt jerseys read "cheerleader" instead of last names. Hopefully this was done for reasons other than the obvious "creepy Talons fan" stalking the young ladies.
Quarterback Justin Allgood tossed eight more touchdowns. Allgood and offensive coordinator Craig Strickland work together like Turner and Hooch.
I asked Allgood and coach Allner who would make plays in the passing game before the season began. Receiver Jeff Hughley was returning but someone else would have to step up.
Zach Edwards and Carlese Franklin filled the void Saturday night. Size would seem to be the one thing keeping this group of receivers in T-Town and off a NFL roster. Quick, explosive, smart... but diminutive in size.
A quick nod to the defensive players. End Terrance Carter battled OKC's Kevin Myers all game long. Carter got the best of Myers on several occasions. He caused a fumble and pressured the QB like a wife with a honey-do list. Great matchup in the trenches if you're into that sorta thing.
All in all, a Tulsarific evening. Stay tuned and stay thirsty my friends.
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