Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Alaska Football Edition

Wrapping up farewell visit to Fairbanks, Alaska, my hometown for 25 years. I have coffee and this morning’s Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in hand. There’s an ad about a football game in the sports section. Professional football by way of the Fairbanks Grizzlies, a first-year IFL (Intense Football League) franchise.

There has been high school football in Alaska for years, but that’s it, no college or junior college football. Apparently, the Grizzlies are playing arena pro ball at Carlson Center, a generic all-purpose sports arena built behind my back while I was out of state. Game time is 7:05.

I show up at six to nose around. Fans are already tailgating. Can report the Grizzlies got cheerleading right — very attractive Lady Grizzlies form two lines and cheer patrons as they walk between them into the arena. This is a family crowd, say 3000 fans, lots of kids and wives. People seem enthusiastic, happy to be here. I find Jay McDiarmid, Grizzlies co-owner, mid 30s, short black hair. “We are considered professional,” McDiarmid says. “The players are paid $255 a week with a $35 win bonus. We have 20 players on our active roster. Right now, our team is 60 percent local kids, 40 percent out of state.”

McDiarmid tells me he’s a local physical therapist and when Chad Dittman (founder of the IFL) brought the team to Fairbanks, “we signed on as the team’s trainers and physical therapists. I started doing more managerial stuff for him and just said, ‘Hey, this is fun, let me get part of it.”

Chad Dittman started the IFL five years ago. It’s a Texas league, five teams in the state, and one, tonight’s opponent, Louisiana Swashbucklers, is located 35 miles over the border. Two Alaska teams formed this year, the other being the Anchorage Wild.

Brian Stuvek kicks off for the Grizzlies. The game’s not bad, play is far above high school football. These are men on the field, late 20s to late 30s. They can run crisp plays. Quarterbacks can put heat on the ball. Blocks and tackles are hard. Runners can move. And because the field is small, and only eight men line up per side, the visual effect is speed to the point of blur.

At halftime Fairbanks is down 35 to 0. I’m in the Grizzlies locker room waiting on the coach. The room is becalmed, not even the sound of cleats on concrete.

Grizzlies head coach John Fourcade comes in. He’s 47 (looks 57), gray hair, average build. Fourcade was quarterback at Ole Miss in the late ’70s, early ’80s, broke Archie Manning’s career passing record. He played four years of NFL with the New Orleans Saints, another nine years of pro ball in the usual off-brand venues. The Grizzlies guide says he’s been coach and general manager for ten years in other arena leagues, owns several Hooter’s restaurants and a golf course outside New Orleans. Bio does not compute with head coach of an obscure indoor football league’s startup franchise in faraway Fairbanks.

If there ever was an occasion for an inspirational halftime speech, here it is. Coach Fourcade takes a slow turn around the locker room, and in a lilting Bayou drawl, begins, “This is such an embarrassment. I’ve been here nine weeks, and we still have players who do not know how to line up correctly and call a play. Don’t know the damn play. Don’t know what’s going on. YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO COME OUT OF A HUDDLE!

“They aren’t beating us. WE’RE BEATING EVERY BIT OF OURSELVES! Offensively. Offensively we stink. We can’t pass protect. We can’t catch the football. We can’t even throw the football. I don’t know what you do offensively, if you can’t do those three.

“Let’s talk about defense. Secondary guys, QUIT TRYING TO ANTICIPATE! DON’T CALL OFF NOTHIN’. We play man to man or we play sky. You have to stay in those two coverages! YOU HAVE TO MAKE SOME PLAYS BACK THERE!

“You can’t quit. If it’s 35 to nuthin’, I don’t care. If we lose this ballgame, I don’t care. BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE SHUTOUT!

“Fumble, turn it over, fumble, turn it over, missing wide open receivers, don’t step up to the bar, don’t get protection. All I can do is call it — YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT!

“We’ll make some adjustments on both sides of the ball, that’s part of the game. But, if we cannot cover, I don’t know what to say except I’ll bring some more [players] in tomorrow. I am sick and tired of one play, two plays, and a quick easy touchdown. IT’S UNBELIEVABLE OUT THERE!”

* * *

The Grizzlies scored 27 points in the second half. Unfortunately, the Swashbucklers scored 58 points, making the game’s final score: Swashbucklers, 93, Grizzlies, 27.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Audit hits lack of athletic admissions integrity at UC San Diego

"The board member used me to get his family friend's kid in UCSD"

Wrapping up farewell visit to Fairbanks, Alaska, my hometown for 25 years. I have coffee and this morning’s Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in hand. There’s an ad about a football game in the sports section. Professional football by way of the Fairbanks Grizzlies, a first-year IFL (Intense Football League) franchise.

There has been high school football in Alaska for years, but that’s it, no college or junior college football. Apparently, the Grizzlies are playing arena pro ball at Carlson Center, a generic all-purpose sports arena built behind my back while I was out of state. Game time is 7:05.

I show up at six to nose around. Fans are already tailgating. Can report the Grizzlies got cheerleading right — very attractive Lady Grizzlies form two lines and cheer patrons as they walk between them into the arena. This is a family crowd, say 3000 fans, lots of kids and wives. People seem enthusiastic, happy to be here. I find Jay McDiarmid, Grizzlies co-owner, mid 30s, short black hair. “We are considered professional,” McDiarmid says. “The players are paid $255 a week with a $35 win bonus. We have 20 players on our active roster. Right now, our team is 60 percent local kids, 40 percent out of state.”

McDiarmid tells me he’s a local physical therapist and when Chad Dittman (founder of the IFL) brought the team to Fairbanks, “we signed on as the team’s trainers and physical therapists. I started doing more managerial stuff for him and just said, ‘Hey, this is fun, let me get part of it.”

Chad Dittman started the IFL five years ago. It’s a Texas league, five teams in the state, and one, tonight’s opponent, Louisiana Swashbucklers, is located 35 miles over the border. Two Alaska teams formed this year, the other being the Anchorage Wild.

Brian Stuvek kicks off for the Grizzlies. The game’s not bad, play is far above high school football. These are men on the field, late 20s to late 30s. They can run crisp plays. Quarterbacks can put heat on the ball. Blocks and tackles are hard. Runners can move. And because the field is small, and only eight men line up per side, the visual effect is speed to the point of blur.

At halftime Fairbanks is down 35 to 0. I’m in the Grizzlies locker room waiting on the coach. The room is becalmed, not even the sound of cleats on concrete.

Grizzlies head coach John Fourcade comes in. He’s 47 (looks 57), gray hair, average build. Fourcade was quarterback at Ole Miss in the late ’70s, early ’80s, broke Archie Manning’s career passing record. He played four years of NFL with the New Orleans Saints, another nine years of pro ball in the usual off-brand venues. The Grizzlies guide says he’s been coach and general manager for ten years in other arena leagues, owns several Hooter’s restaurants and a golf course outside New Orleans. Bio does not compute with head coach of an obscure indoor football league’s startup franchise in faraway Fairbanks.

If there ever was an occasion for an inspirational halftime speech, here it is. Coach Fourcade takes a slow turn around the locker room, and in a lilting Bayou drawl, begins, “This is such an embarrassment. I’ve been here nine weeks, and we still have players who do not know how to line up correctly and call a play. Don’t know the damn play. Don’t know what’s going on. YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO COME OUT OF A HUDDLE!

“They aren’t beating us. WE’RE BEATING EVERY BIT OF OURSELVES! Offensively. Offensively we stink. We can’t pass protect. We can’t catch the football. We can’t even throw the football. I don’t know what you do offensively, if you can’t do those three.

“Let’s talk about defense. Secondary guys, QUIT TRYING TO ANTICIPATE! DON’T CALL OFF NOTHIN’. We play man to man or we play sky. You have to stay in those two coverages! YOU HAVE TO MAKE SOME PLAYS BACK THERE!

“You can’t quit. If it’s 35 to nuthin’, I don’t care. If we lose this ballgame, I don’t care. BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE SHUTOUT!

“Fumble, turn it over, fumble, turn it over, missing wide open receivers, don’t step up to the bar, don’t get protection. All I can do is call it — YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT!

“We’ll make some adjustments on both sides of the ball, that’s part of the game. But, if we cannot cover, I don’t know what to say except I’ll bring some more [players] in tomorrow. I am sick and tired of one play, two plays, and a quick easy touchdown. IT’S UNBELIEVABLE OUT THERE!”

* * *

The Grizzlies scored 27 points in the second half. Unfortunately, the Swashbucklers scored 58 points, making the game’s final score: Swashbucklers, 93, Grizzlies, 27.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Fall equinox, smoggiest days, Chinese flame trees, Saturn and Jupiter near moon

Natural San Diego, September 21-28
Next Article

Floating Outdoor Cinema on the Bay, Toy Piano Festival

Events September 27-September 30, 2020
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close