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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Roncalli Stadium in the southern Indianapolis suburb of Southport is the home of the Indianapolis AlleyCats of the American United Disc League (AUDL). The 3,500 seat stadium was built in 1969 and serves as the primary home to Roncalli High School, a Catholic school that has an enrollment of 1,125 students. The field served as home to the Cats during their first two seasons, before the team opted to play at Kuntz Stadium for the 2014 season.
The sport of ultimate disc has seen rapid growth during its few short seasons. The game features many of the tangibles of speed, passing, jumping, defensive stops, and high scoring offense, that is easy for fans of all ages to follow and understand. It is also a sport that has a huge following among the Millennial generation. Do not be surprise if it becomes an Olympic event by 2032.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is a much better selection of food at Roncalli Stadium than what was offered at Kuntz Stadium during the 2014 season. Two of the city's more popular food trucks - Sully's Famous Hot Dogs and Seoulrito - are serving food at the games. Sully's features Chicago-style hot dogs and Michigan style coneys for $3, along with your regular style hot dog for $2. Seoulrito offers fusion style tacos from their truck, and they definitely offer a rather unique food option at an ultimate disc game. The tacos come with chicken, beef, or pork and are topped with crispy cabbage, onions, cilantro, ginger and peanut sauce for $3. If you are looking at stretching your curiosity, the kimchi or yaki fries are only $7.
Coca-Cola products are served either in cans or by the bottle. Unfortunately, there are no alcoholic beverages served at the stadium.
There is still a vibrant high school like atmosphere for the AlleyCat games. Many in attendance seem to know one another, have a family member playing on the field, or have become acquainted with the new sport in town. It is a similar feel to the likes of the United Soccer League a couple decades ago.
There is not the usual amount of promotions, gimmicks, loud noises, or overbearing features that you may find at other lower level professional league stadiums. Here, the action is on the field and that is the way the fans like it. The closest it gets to craziness in the stands, is when a green man appears and throws candy into the adoring crowd. However, it is is not apparent whether or not he is the team's official mascot. The PA announcer calls the game like he sees it, and also announces where fans can get food or souvenirs while at the stadium.
The stadium itself is much of an upgrade; it is clean, comfortable, and definitely has great sightlines to watch the action on the field. It is a wide open game that can change from small passing to long distance catches in mere seconds. Perhaps, there is not enough time for anything else to take place in the stands. Then again, the sport is young, and perhaps a few traditions have not been created yet.
When the team played at Kuntz Stadium it was located in a transitioning site, but it was close to downtown and Mass Ave. Roncalli is located off the busy I-65 interstate and in a suburban neighborhood. Its location is directly seven miles between downtown Indianapolis and the community of Greenwood. However, there are many fast food chains and retail shops nearby on Emerson Ave. to dine in before or after the game.
The best options for your dollar would be on Mass Ave district near downtown. Mimi Blue Meatballs specializes in multiple types of meatballs and are accompanied by sides that include creamy grits, mac and cheese, or crunchy fried brussel sprouts. Ralston's Draft House is another great location for craft beer and dinner, along with Pizzology that serves traditional and non-traditional pizzas and salads. However, if you fancy a trip to Greenwood, Shallo's and The Oaken Barrel are two great places for pub food and craft beer.
Surprisingly, the Cats have an admirable fan base that is decked out in the team colors of green and black. Also, many cannot just be relatives of the players, but patrons who have adopted this club as one of the area's finest along with the Colts, Pacers, Hoosiers, Boilermakers, and Bulldogs. When the Cats scored on a long pass, the crowd erupted with a mighty roar for the 250-300 in attendance. The fans also committed to the play on the field, rather than gimmicks, promotions, and other spectacles you see at sporting events in the 21st century. Do not be surprised if the team attracts a few more people during the warmer months of the season and in subsequent years.
There are not a lot of signs to direct patrons to Roncalli Stadium. Although the stadium is off of I-65, you will need to exit off of Emerson Ave. to gain access to the school. The stadium is visible once you enter the school and parking is free. Once inside the stadium, access is easy to and from your seats.
Ticket prices are $10 which is average among the other clubs in the league. In fact, it is slightly less than a movie ticket in the area. The parking is free, food is in expensive and freshly prepared, and there is a wonderful selection of team merchandise at the concession booth. The Cats have done a nice job at grabbing people's attention, and that seems to be more because of the action on the field than anything else.
The league features a great game day program that is a bargain for $4; there is a lot of great information about each team and the league inside. Also, the concession stand is worthy of a visit and features an impressive array of team merchandise.
Indianapolis is an ideal place for the sport of ultimate disc; the collegiate and club levels are popular in the region, and the fan base is growing each year. The AUDL has made its presence felt on social media with highlight packages that could gain the attention of the most fickle sports fan. Add that to the growing interest in the sport among an emerging young audience, and this could be a team and league that could find its mainstream audience very soon. There are many teams in other leagues that began their existence in similar surroundings not too long ago: I can remember watching many United Soccer League games at high school fields, and it works well for the AlleyCats.
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874 Massachusetts Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46202
635 Massachusetts Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46204
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