As I mentioned Friday, I’ve never been in a domed stadium. Nor have I ever been to an NFL preseason game. In fact, I haven’t been to an NFL game period in nine years. Courtesy of a friend who fell into some free tickets, I was able to attend the Colts-Seahawks game at the RCA Dome Friday night. Since I was paying exactly $0 of the $55 face value of the tickets, I was more than happy to tag along.

First, a couple notes from the place we ate dinner near the dome. A little hole in the wall called the Hard Times Café. It was next to Houlihan’s, S. Murray’s favorite barbecue place, so I figured it had to be good. It was decent, if unspectacular. What was spectacular was the guy standing between our table and the bar. He was doing the stand on one leg, place the other foot up on a barstool lean thing. White polo shirt, navy blue Dockers, white socks, white boat shoes. I couldn’t take my eyes off this guy’s socks, they were driving me crazy. These were plain tube socks, not some fancy, wanna-be stylish Ralph Lauren white socks. This guy was about 55, clearly old enough, in my opinion, to know how to dress himself. I imagine if it had been about 20 degrees cooler, the Member’s Only jacket would have come out for the night too. The only thing that could distract me was the flag above his head. Yep, I’ve finally seen a Texas Tech – IU flag. You’ve seen those flags that are half KU, half K-State, or whatever two local rivals so that married couples that attended both schools can be cute and put them up. I’ve marveled at the number of Texas Tech shirts and hats available at Galyan’s here, but now I can say I’ve seen it all. As I told the guys I was eating with, you’ll never see me with a KU-UNC flag. They readily agreed it was idiotic, but they’re both Purdue alums so what else would they say?

On to the dome. I pretty much got knocked on my ass as soon as I walked in. They had the pregame music cranked to about 21, forget about 11. It was so loud that you couldn’t hear the person right next to you talking. Ridiculous. I was seated in the upper deck, five rows up, around the ten yard line. Not bad seats, but I’ll be damned if they we worth $55. That probably explains why they dome was maybe 1/3 full. It was a tiny, tiny crowd. I will give the people who showed up this, though: they were loud when they had a chance. Seattle had a third and short on their first possession, and people we as frenzied as if it was a playoff game. The 18,000 or so who were there made it loud enough to again make conversations difficult. I can only imagine how loud it gets in there when the place is full. In fact, I’m not sure I’m interested in finding out.

All night I wondered where I would have sat if I had come to the 1991 Final Four. I tried to imagine sitting in these same seats and trying to watch basketball instead of football. I decided it was wise of me to stay in Lawrence that weekend. The Colts defense looked decent, forcing some turnovers, the offense took advantage, and it was 14-0 Indy at halftime. We were then treated to a show by those wacky Frisbee chasing dogs. Always interesting to watch. I also got to watch Seneca Wallace get chased around the field. I was a little disappointed the Indy corners didn’t have better hands, otherwise Seneca might have tossed three picks before we left.

Since it was a preseason game, we did get in for free, and I had a 6:30 tee time the next morning, we ducked out at halftime. It was impressive to see Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison in action. I enjoyed being in a dome for a while. I also enjoyed the one Mellencamp song per quarter quota there appeared to be. There’s apparently no distancing from local idols here. All in all it was a nice way to spend the night, certainly better than over at Victory Field as the Indians played a double header that lasted until 3:00 AM (Is there no curfew in minor league ball?). But, unless I’m offered free tickets again, I believe I’ll be saving my money for when the Celtics, Magic, Bulls, or Sonics come to Conseco next winter.