Monsters Get Mashed !!!
Pro football is back in St. Charles.The teams on the field lit up the scoreboards, too. Playing their inaugural game in the six-team Ultimate Indoor Football League, the Missouri Monsters Friday night fell to the visiting Corpus Christi Fury, 74-37.A crowd of 4,092 witnessed the first indoor football game played at St. Charles County’s Family Arena since 2009.Bill Dalton of St. Charles County and his brother, Steve, of St. Peters drank Bud Lights while sitting in the front row near one end zone in the newly refurbished arena, where two new video boards and ribbon boards installed earlier this month offer more off-field entertainment and information. The County Council approved the $800,000 upgrades in December.The Daltons said they attended sporting events at the arena in the past, and from what they saw through the first half of the Monsters first game, they intend to come back.”He said, ‘Arena football is starting up, I’ve got a ticket, you want to come?’ And I said, ‘yep,'” Bill said. “I’d heard about this from some people at work.”Steve Dalton came close to catching a ball that left the field of play during the game. An arena staff member said fans were being allowed to keep balls that went out of bounds for the game against the Fury.Steve said he got his tickets free from work. “I heard there was a football league starting up in St. Charles, and I wanted to come out and see what they had,” he said.Monsters owner Andrew Haines said he is as committed to winning on the field as he is to providing fans with a night of entertainment that beats going to a mall or a movie. There was a pregame tailgate party outside. Inside the building, several Harley Davidson riders escorted the Monsters cheerleaders on and off the field. Nikko Smith, son of St. Louis Cardinals baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, sang the national anthem, ending it with his own personal touch.Haines constantly checked his smartphone as he made the rounds to each section of the arena. He stopped to thank a group of fans for coming.Haines had the task of checking to see if fans were having a good time while keeping up with the action on the field and dealing with the kinds of “little” problems that can crop up when several thousand people are at your first event.”There have been a couple miscues, but everyone is new, so we expected that,” Haines said. “Overall, it looks like everybody’s having a good time. I’m pleased with the attendance for the first game. We’ve got to start somewhere, and this is better or bigger than what was here before. That’s a good sign.”Drawing fans from outside the county would mean a lot to the success of the Monsters, Haines said. Many of the fans the Journal talked to fit that description.Matt Hutchison and his friend, J.T. Broshears, and Matt’s dad, Jim, traveled from Columbia, Ill., to attend the game. Jim said all three had been to games played by the River City Rage, the last football team to call the arena home.”It’s exciting to see arena football back in St. Charles,” Matt Hutchison said.Brian Rush of Florissant wore a No. 4 Minnesota Vikings jersey like Brett Favre used to wear. Like the Daltons and Hutchisons, Rush had been to the arena for other sporting events and was glad the Monsters moved in. Rush said he found out about the Monsters on Facebook and ordered his $10 ticket online.”I’m here to enjoy some football,” Rush said. “I want to see a different variety of football. It’s cheap, so I wanted to come out and enjoy.”Pacific resident Zack McAndrew said he found out about the Monsters on Facebook and went to two Monsters practices before the season started. McAndrew said he would attend every Monsters home game this season.”I really enjoy football, and this gives me a good thing to do while the Rams aren’t playing/ Plus, this football is way more fast-paced,” McAndrew said.The Monsters are scheduled to host non-league games at 7:30 p.m. April 1 and 7:30 p.m. April 6. Their next home league game will be at 6:03 p.m. April 14 against the Florida Tarpons.