Beneath Sprint Center's lights and rafters, the Command cruise up and down arena football's condensed gridiron during a trio of hard-hitting skirmishes. A slow start to the 2012 season has forced head coach Danton Barto to shift gears on the fly and acquire former NFL quarterback Matt Gutierrez. Rather than constructing a Lego statue of himself on the 30-yard line, Gutierrez opted to make his mark on the field by throwing for five touchdowns during his Kansas City debut on April 7, including three to second-year receiver Bradly Chavez. During breaks in the action, the Command Girls dance team charges the field, distracting opponents from eavesdropping on team huddles or playing makeshift games of Jenga with the end-zone pylons.
Zipping at a faster pace and racking up higher scores than their grass-stained outdoor cousins, the iconic Missouri Comets streak through MISL play from the inner orbit of the new Independence Events Center. From their midfield seats, footsport fans can enjoy an unobstructed view as they brush up on their knowledge of indoor soccer, which features six players to a side, legal plays off of walled sidelines, and the frenzied neon lights of the multi-ball round. Visitors will get to cheer on the newly resurrected team led by former Danish soccer star Kim Roentved as they go head-to-head against the Chicago Riot or the Omaha Vipers—teams that weave Midwestern footwork narratives that rival the toe-typed tales of "Handless" Studs Terkel.
Though the city's name would seem to suggest otherwise, Independence residents must still—by law—interact with each other occasionally. Luckily, Independence Events Center serves to bring the community together, hosting everything from national concert tours to youth hockey leagues within its walls. Such stars as Kelly Clarkson have graced the stage within the 5,800-seat arena, also home to local sports teams such as the Central Hockey League's Missouri Mavericks and the Major Indoor Soccer League's Missouri Comets. Additionally, a community rink lets residents and nonresidents alike hit the ice for programs ranging from open-skating sessions and lessons to private rentals for Civil War reenactments.
Witness college teams make it rain from three-point range while defending shots with their armbrellas. Established in 1937, the inaugural NAIA Tournament has called Kansas City home for 73 years. Featuring 32 teams pivoting and sprinting atop a lustrous hardwood battlefield, it has grown to be the longest-running collegiate national championship tournament in the country, not counting the Skull and Bones Underground Cavern Games that took George Washington's teeth. This year’s tourney will feature several trophy-hungry NAIA teams, such as potential participants Central Methodist University and Evangel University. Behold a flurry of high-flying buzzer beaters and frustrating defensive schemes at the Kansas City tradition that has featured big names such as John Wooden, Dennis Rodman, and Terry Porter.