Whether you’re looking for an engaging sports experience, a live show or a replacement for the dinner-and-a-movie evening out, the Lions’ Den is the place to be this season. It’s great for diehard football fans and equally great for parents with on-the-go kids, from toddlers to teenagers.
Coming off a 2010 Southern Indoor Football League championship, the Columbus Lions are already showing their mettle this season, winning their home opener Sunday 44-30 to move to 2-0.
Head coach Jason Gibson said he feels the Lions have a good chance at another championship this year, as they return half their players from last year’s championship team, along with an influx of new talent.
“It gets better and better every year,” said Gibson, who’s led the Lions since their first season in 2007.
“Championships that’s what they talk about every week, and that’s why they play. (But) you have to build them into a solid unit. It’s just like in the Army. You’re only as good as the guy beside you.”
What makes arena football different from its outdoor counterpart is the sheer speed of the action. With the shorter field, there’s more scoring, and with less space between you and the game, the movement seem faster. “It’s hard to describe. You have to experience it,” Gibson said. “It’s on TV and you can watch it from the network, but it’s not the same. When you’re sitting so close to the field, that’s the big difference, the accessibility of the players.”
In the 10,000-seat arena of the Columbus Civic Center, you’re in the middle of everything — the tackles, fumbles and touchdown passes, the sounds of cow bells and cheering and the smell of hot dogs and nachos. Of course, there’s also the halftime entertainment, which on Sunday included a marching band, the Lady Lions and the new Junior Lions Dance Team. If you’re lucky, you could snag a treat, T-shirt or other goodie thrown from the rafters or field. And if you have good aim, the Pass the Pigskin challenge is for you.
“It’s definitely a family atmosphere, and that’s who most of our fans are,” Gibson said. “It’s affordable. It’s always fun. It’s football.”
The season lasts through June 11. Games begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center, and tickets start at $13. Visit www.columbuslions.net for a complete schedule, game photos and team roster or call 706-322-3336.