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What a wild ride
By Chris Hendley (7/29)
  • Big-name Cobras can test market (7/23)
  •    For me it all started on November 18, 1999.  That was the date I started working for the brand new AFL expansion team, the Carolina Cobras.  If had any doubts about Arena Football and what kind of organization the Carolina Cobras were going to be, they were quickly dismissed on the night of November 18.  That was night of the Carolina Cobras Kickoff Party.  It was unbelievable.  To say it was a full scale production is an understatement.  Lasers, smoke, music and ice sculptures...  No expense was spared that night at the Warehouse.  That night we unveiled the Cobras’ logo and the uniform, and we were on our way.  People started buying season tickets right there on the spot.  All I kept thinking was, this thing is going to be big.
       Sitting in the conference room they said the one word I prayed I would not hear: STRIKE!  The entire staff was silent.  In my heart I knew it would not last the entire season but you never can tell about these things.  The Carolina Cobras were put on hold.  The next day, when the newspaper broke the story, I hoped against hope that my phone would not ring.  It did, I answered it, and I held my breath because I knew it would be an angry season ticket holder wanting some answers that I didn’t have. 
       The next seven calls were people still wanting to buy season tickets.  I was in shock.  People knew about the strike and still wanted to buy seats.  They were confident that the season would still go on.  
       The biggest problem with the strike was that the coaching staff could not communicate with any of the players at all.  For an established team it is not that big of a deal.  For an expansion team like the Carolina Cobras it was not a good thing.  We were completely stalled in trying to put this team together.  To offer my bit of insight into what went on behind the scenes this season, I want to say Coach Kay and his staff did an unbelievable job in putting this team together with all the adversity they had to go through.  My hat is off to them.
       Two weeks later in that same conference room they said the one word that I prayed I would hear: OVER!  As in strike over.  The entire staff let out a collective Carolina “Yes!”  Everyone went back to work immediately: coaches, staff, dance team... everybody. 
       So everything you saw this season – from the preseason game, to the Fred McNair trade, to Bo Kelly’s block (BOOM!), to that last field goal that was just wide right – it was because of you.  That’s right, without the support of the GREAT Carolina Cobras fans none of this would have happened.  I mean it.  The Detroit team couldn’t get it together.  They were awarded a team the same time we were and they couldn’t pull it together in time, delaying their start until the 2001 season.
       So on behalf of the Carolina Cobras and myself I want to thank you for being a Carolina Cobras fan on this “wild ride”.  Next season starts NOW!

    Chris Hendley
    Carolina Cobras
    Ticket Sales Representative, Season Ticket Holder and Serious Cobras Fan