Because I only got to see one American football game live last fall before leaving for London, it was was good to see some gridiron action again this past weekend — even if it was indoors.
I watched an American Indoor Football Association game between the Charlotte-based Carolina Speed and the South Carolina Force out of Greenville, S.C. This resulted from a recent Facebook exchange with Speed placekicker Chris Brewer, a former Wingate student of mine. I took him up on his invitation to come out and see a game, and my next blog entry will be an interview I did with him after Saturday night’s game, won by the Force 50-36.
I also enjoyed being back at the Bojangles Coliseum, which is the latest incarnation of the original Charlotte Coliseum, a 55-year-old venue that most recently was the home of the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers. The Checkers moved uptown to Time Warner Cable Arena a couple of seasons ago and this is the first time I had been back since. It’s a place with good memories, as my dad took my brother and I to see the Lefty Driesell-coached Davidson teams and the Meadowlark Lemon-era Harlem Globetrotters play basketball there back in the early 1960s.
It’s hosted the ACC men’s basketball tournament, along with NCAA Tournament games. I’ve seen Michael Jordan, Akeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson play there. Elvis and the Grateful Dead have performed there and I saw a great show by Willie Nelson there in 1980 (wonderful concert except for the drunk who sang off-key and nearly threw up on my shoes).
I’m pleased to hear that with the return of the Southern Conference tournament to Charlotte, some of the games will be played there next March.