Inside the Bolts
A Day at the Thunderbolts
- XFLBoard.com Team Reporter
-- Last week I called the ThunderBolts main number
needing information. The issue was a UPS truck sized
vehicle that we planned to employ for our "Kill
Memphis" tailgate party. We weren't sure if they
would let us in the gate. Answering the phone was Ross
Scott the director of ticket sales. He listened to my
question but didn't know the answer. To my surprise
he told me he would call the park board and find out.
A few hours later I got a return call from Ross telling
me he had spoken to the Park Board and OK'd the truck.
I was impressed that he would go the extra mile for
a few guys who wanted to tailgate before the game. He
agreed to take me on a tour of the ThunderBolts office.
and I went to lunch at Nikki's on Finley Ave. and talked
at length about his job and the Bolts. Ross a Birmingham
native and long time Texas Ranger sales rep took the
job wanting to be a part of something new and to get
back to Birmingham. The Ticket sales have been picking
up lately but the corporate support has remained poor.
Apparently many local businesses are still pessimistic
about the XFL. At times I could feel the frustration
he has experienced trying to sell this new product to
a town which isn't known for it's ability to change.
We discussed the previous failures of Pro Football in
Birmingham, especially the USFL. He assured me that
the quality of play in the XFL would surpass that of
the USFL. I found this very encouraging because the
Stallions were far and away the best football Birmingham
has seen. For those of you who have season tickets they
should be coming soon. There was a delay in the printing
but they should be in your mailbox in a week or so.
The Memphis ticket is so large you could frame it. Not
a bad idea "Just in case".
at the Thunderbolts main office at Legion Field Ross
introduced me to the office staff. They were all very
upbeat, mostly young, outgoing people who made me feel
very at home. Several were from the Birmingham area,
some returning to Birmingham after living elsewhere.
I was surprised to see Kerry Goode the former Alabama
running back working in the PR area. I still wonder
to this day just how good Kerry could have been had
his injuries not been so severe.
asked several people how the constant stream of bad
press both locally and nationally have affected them.
The smiles on their faces subsided ever so slightly.
They would pause and say; "Well it has been bad
sometimes". But without exception they were all
very confident that once people had seen their game
day product that they would be vindicated.
on talking more with Ross he discussed the fact that
even the staff doesn't know the full extent of what
will go on at the games. The XFL has kept some of their
most innovative game day "stuff" a guarded
secret. The NFL wasted little time rigging microphones
to players and strapping cameras to ref's this year
hoping to beat the XFL to the punch. Apparently this
fact has not been lost on XFL management. The "closed
scrimmages" that are going on this week in Orlando
are not for Dinardo to test his secret plays but to
trial run the broadcast crew and multimedia equipment
the XFL will employ at the game. Ross, like other staff
members, felt that once the product is finally revealed
that it will absolutely blow away anything we have seen
in the past.
I prepared to leave, Ross stuck a dagger in me by announcing
that if I had come on Tuesday that I could have met
the mythical Thunderbolt Cheerleaders. I grilled him
on the actual existence of this squad since there were
more photographs of Big Foot in Birmingham than of the
Thunderbolt Cheerleaders. Ross insisted that they do
exist and practicing hard for the first game. After
scolding him for such an indiscretion I went my merry
way, even more enthusiastic about the upcoming Memphis