Last Friday I went to my first Kent Predators home game which was everyone’s first Predators home game since it was their first ever. The Predators, a new team in the IFL made their home debut in their third-ever game on Friday, March 12, at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
As is true of any new team, the Predators have some kinks to work out as they learn to play together as a team. They were more than just a bit wobbly in the first two quarters of the game, heading into halftime with a mere 13 points to the Fairbanks Grizzlies’ 38. Ouch! After the break the Predators came out strong, however, and hit a scoring groove. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough to earn them their first-ever win, but the 57-42 final score wasn’t too shabby.
Obviously there are differences between indoor football and the outdoor version we know so well – the field is much smaller, for one thing–but but it’s played in a similar enough fashion that anyone with a general understanding of football can follow along without difficulty. It’s fun, too; I’m not the biggest football fan there ever was, but I genuinely enjoyed the game and all around me people were having a really good time.
There are some cool and unique aspects to seeing the Predators, too. For one thing, while there’s not a bad seat in the house, fans who really want to get into the action can head down to the open-area end zone and stand at the half walls literally inches from the action. Sometimes even less than inches as the ball flies off the field or a player crashes into or over the wall.
Watching the game close enough to hear the players’ breathe definitely gives you an interesting perspective on it–as a well-seasoned hockey fan, I don’t blink, let alone flinch, at a puck even heading directly at me, but when these guys came running down the field, I couldn’t help but take a step back. After all, they have pads – I don’t.
Another thing that I thought was cool is the way the goal posts are suspended from the ceiling without a net behind them. When the ball gets kicked into the stands, the lucky fan who gets their hand on it gets to take it home with them as a souvenir.
Their next home game is a while off yet – Friday, April 9 – but I’m already looking forward to it. They’ll have had another game in by then (on the road versus Tri Cities) and should be even more competitive. For more information on the team and to buy tickets, check out their website.