Saturday, August 6, 2011

When's a game not a game? When the other team doesn't show up

OK, the headline isn't entirely correct, because in this particular case, the other team eventually did show up. But three hours after the scheduled game time? For a night game? Add to the situation that this was occurring on a pretty hot, humid and generally uncomfortable day. Would you have stayed to the bitter end? I thought not.

I actually did make it through two hours of waiting on July 16, the night the Indiana Tornados semipro football team was scheduled to play the Memphis Blast in a Gridiron Developmental Football League game at Park Tudor School on the Far Northside of Indianapolis, the Tornados' home field, at 7 p.m. The Memphis team bus, for unknown reasons -- took wrong turns, got a late start, whatever -- didn't show up at game time. They called the Indy club and provided their location, but come 9 p.m., there still was no Blast team. I left.

I understand the team finally arrived at 9:35 p.m., and that the game didn't get under way until 10 p.m. They played with a non-stop clock and called it game after three quarters with the Tornados ahead, 14-0.

These images were taken from about 6:15 to 9 p.m., while the home team warmed up -- and tried everything from doing interviews on the P.A. system with the coach and other selected subjects, asking a local singer to sing a song and suggesting that the Tornado cheerleaders entertain the crowd with a few routines.

Above and next two below: The Tornados warming up before game time, but before everyone in the stadium knew about the long wait ahead of them. 

Above, the expression on the Tornados' Ji'mi Agnew (34), talking to teammate Luther Baker, sort of told the story. At this point, the waiting game had begun. Below, Agnew takes a more relaxed seat on the artificial turf, possibly realizing this was going to last a lot longer than he first imagined.

Above: Head coach Jerry Senter obliges a request for an interview to kill time during the wait.

Above: Carson Johnson (25) looks like he's had about enough of this second round of loosening up while waiting for the Blitz to arrive. 

Above: Senter giving instructions to a young man during the wait.

Above and next two below:  Checking mobile devices and chatting were among the few options spectators had. These people were under the shade of large trees sprinkled along a hill overlooking the west side of the field.

Above and next three below: The team cheerleaders took the field to run through some of their routines. The setting sun was casting wonderful golden highlights on them at this point, so I felt compelled to take advantage of it with some pictures.

Above: Still more stretching ... during the wait.

Above: Dan Cavallini, the Tornados' official photographer (yellow shirt), chats up a couple of the cheerleaders around 9 p.m., moments before everyone learned from the P.A. announcer that the Blitz team bus was still a ways away from Indianapolis and that game time wouldn't start for at least another hour.

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