I attended my first Missouri Comets game Friday night at the Independence Events Center and I’m still humming the “Midnight Express,” the pulsating theme that is played when the Comets are introduced to start the game.

I attended my first Missouri Comets game Friday night at the Independence Events Center and I’m still humming the “Midnight Express,” the pulsating theme that is played when the Comets are introduced to start the game.

I missed last week’s opener, and throughout this week I was wondering what Friday night’s game would offer.

The biggest reason for my curiosity is the simple fact that I was a huge Kansas City Comets fan back in the early 1980s.

That Comets team was as much a part of my life as breathing. It was a time when I’d take my best girl – who is now my wife of 28 years – to Kemper Arena for the best show in town.

The Comets had marquee names like Enzo DiPede and Gino Schiraldi and those two icons had the metro area in the palm of their hands.

The Comets were more than a sports team, they were a part of the heart and soul of Kansas City. Long before any other team offered music, laser lights and fog, the Comets turned a Major Indoor Soccer League game into an event.

You got dressed up and planned your entire evening about the Comets.

And folks, that’s going to happen again with this rebirth of the Missouri Comets.

In what seemed like a moment of déjà vu, I watched the Comets introduction – complete with fog, lasers and the theme from “Midnight Express,” with Schiraldi (whose daughter Gina works for the Missouri Comets).

“This is so cool,” the MISL legend said, as the new-age Comets were introduced. “Boy, does this bring back memories.”

Memories?

They washed over me like a tidal wave.

I could hear the public address announcer at Kemper Arena call out, “Enz-o-o-o-o-o-o-o DiPed-e-e-e-e-e-e-e!

I could see Schiraldi make a defensive gem when the team needed it the most.

Clive Griffiths would slide across the turf to knock the ball away from an opposing forward and Yilmaz Orhan would score an incredible goal, then jump into the stands to celebrate.

It was a time before laptops, cell phones and sports pizzazz. And I savored every minute of it.

Flash forward 29 years and the new Comets are bringing back that old magic. Congrats to owner Ed Scheetz  and my buddy and general manager Brian Watley – who I have known since he was a Kansas City Royals bat boy in the mid 1980s.

The only problem with Friday night’s thriller against another expansion team, the Vipers from Omaha, is that the Comets saw a 10-4 lead disappear and turn into a 14-10 loss.

Goalkeeper Danny Waltman was brilliant in the net, stopping a half dozen point-blank shots and Byron Alvarez showed the 4,159 fans in attendance why he is one of the most honored players in MISL history.

He even reminded me of Orhan when he scored a goal – and I still don’t know how he did it – and then jumped into the stands to celebrate with the fans.

“I am so disappointed we could not win tonight,” Alvarez said after the game. “We played so well the first half, then, I just don’t know what happened. It’s tough to swallow – I guarantee you I will not sleep tonight because we let our fans down.

“We are a new team and a young team, but we can’t let something like this happen again, especially at home.”

Despite the crushing loss, the players manned up, put on their warmup gear and went back on the turf to sign autographs. And I honestly believe half the crowd was there on the field, getting signatures, photo and memories.

And believe me, those memories will last a lifetime.