Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharks Take Bite out of Football Hassle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharks Take Bite out of Football Hassle

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA CAPITANO

Three cheers for arena football, and the accessibility to the sport that it brings to fans. Because, the Jaguars are great for the city but taking in a Jaguars game is no easy feat. Ticket cost makes the games prohibitive to us working-class folk, and with all the parking hassles, traffic and tailgating, the time commitment required on game day can be equally problematic.

Then there's the heat factor that comes with a 1 p.m. kickoff schedule. And don't forget Monday morning recovery time, which, let's face it, lots of fans need after a Jaguars Sunday.

But the Sharks? Eight bucks a ticket, plus lots of buy-one-get-one promotions throughout the season. Convenient garage parking. Comfortable, air-conditioned arena. Quick-moving, 15-minute quarters. You're in, you're out, you get your football fix, and you can still be home in time to catch the highlights again on the local news.

The actual arena football is the size and weight of the standard Spalding NFL variety, and the speedy pace of the game stems from a smaller field - 85 feet wide by 50 yards long. Plus, the clock only stops for out-of-bounds plays and incomplete passes during the final minute of each half, or if there's been and penalty or injury.

The extra-celebratory spirit of arena football games is another bonus of the sport. There's a playfulness at the games that wouldn't be sanctioned by the NFL: Fan dance-offs, trivia questions and sporty contests liven up the downtime, and the announcer isn't afraid to demand the crowd hoot and holler for their Jacksonville Sharks. The bikini-topped cheerleading squad, the Attack Dance Team, add their own sexy flair to the evening.

Of course, it doesn't hurt the frenzy that the Sharks are on a winning streak, a football outcome we're just not used to in these parts. …

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