Finally, it’s here. After what seemed like an eternity game day is finally here and it couldn’t have come any sooner for the Shock or the Pioneers; not to mention the fans.
Several fans from Spokane made the journey to Las Vegas and quickly turned the city of lights into a stream of Shock orange and blue.
Fans gathered outside the Arena for Fan Fest hosted by the af2. Spokane fans clearly outnumbered Pioneer fans and definitely made their presence felt.
Inside the Arena, players from both squads took to the field and settled into their own pre-game routine. Some players used this time to collect their thoughts while others used it to get their juices flowing.
Slowly, more and players came out onto the field and the energy level also increased. As each team settled into their warm-ups, a familiar sound came through the Orleans Arena speakers that made Spokane feel right at home. It was the sound of Phil Collins “In the air tonight.” The song became a part of Spokane’s pre-game routine late in the season and has become a playoff theme song every since. The chatter from each team increased and it became very clear that neither of these teams have fond feelings for each other.
That’s it for now…it’s GAME TIME!
Day Two: The day started like many other summer mornings in Las Vegas: hot, humid, and generally uncomfortable outside of hotel. After a team breakfast the Shock headed over to the Arena for a light practice. Generally, the players and coaching staff seemed relaxed, albeit a little anxious for Saturday night’s game.
Head Coach Adam Shackleford was pleased with the practice. “It was a good practice today. The guys are focused and ready.”
As the morning turned into afternoon, members of the media gathered at the Orleans Arena for Media Day. Members of the Spokane media, Las Vegas Media and Wilkes-Barre Media had an opportunity to interview players from the Shock and the Pioneers.
Here are some of the highlights courtesy of the af2’s Marc Lestinsky.
SPOKANE QUARTERBACK NICK DAVILA:
“It feels good to be here. This has been one of the main goals for the team, the thing we’ve been playing for all year. It’s going to be fun to play in front of my family.”
SPOKANE DL BEN MCCOMBS:
“It’s great to be here. This is the reason I came to Spokane – it was the best opportunity to get to this game. We’re one step away from getting the ring, and that’s something I’ve been waiting on a while.”
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON HEAD COACH RICH INGOLD:
“I am honored to be a part of this. This is going to be a great game.”
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON QUARTERBACK RYAN VENA:
“I’m very excited to play in my second championship game. We’re going to play our heart out and do our best to bring home the win.”
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON DB MICHEAUX ROBINSON:
“[Saturday] we’re going to have to play hard and give it all we’ve got.”
On his Defensive Player of the Year award:
“It’s an honor, but I have to give credit to my defense. It’s a team honor even if they try to put my name on it.”
Celebrity Sighting of the Day – Andrew Dice Clay. The Gold Coast, the Las Vegas hotel home for members of the Shock staff, is right across the street from the infamous Palms Hotel. As we dined at the 24/7 Café inside the Maloof-owned Casino the Palms, we noticed a table two booths over from ours with none other then Andrew Dice Clay. Clay was accompanied by four or five friends.
TO SEE SOME OF THE PICTURES FROM MEDIA DAY COURTESY OF RANDY CAHALAN
Day One – Although football is truly a team sport, Southwest Airlines doesn’t seem to think so. As members of the Spokane Shock began their descent into the city of Las Vegas they were spread over four flights that left at various times throughout the day.
The first flight was occupied by: QB Nick Davila, OL Casey Bulyca, DL Jeff Van Orsow, WR Charles Dillon, DB Stanley Franks, and DB Sergio Gilliam. These players were also joined by Shock staff members (and anyone else who booked themselves on this commercial flight).
The first leg of the flight was relatively quiet as most people caught up on some additional shut-eye as the plane took off from Spokane at 8:15 AM. The plane transferred in Boise and this leg of the flight seemed to be a little livelier. But the players still seemed loose and ready to go.
Thursday evening players from the Shock and the Pioneers broke bread together as a part of the af2’s Team Welcome Dinner.
Friday has a full plate of events that start with Shock practice and media day – back with more later.