On a day when one eye was on the radar tracking impending storms and one eye was on the action on the pitch it was the sentiment and signs in the stands that took center stage despite it all. For the River City Red Army it was a day to put aside rivalries from the field and show a little love to another USL club and the community that was devastated by a tragic shooting earlier in the week. Several times during the game Charleston Battery scarves were held high and banners were unfurled that read “Stand Up for Charleston” and “Love Conquers Hate”. The team mascot Kickeroo joined in with his own sign affirming that the game would be played in honor of those in Charleston, SC. It was an unexpected and touching reminder that there is more to a game than competition, there is humanity, and people matter more than a final score.
Meanwhile on the field players were trying to beat the clock and score before the weather arrived. The Wilmington Hammerheads started at a frenzied pace with 2 attempts at the Richmond goal before the fourth minute. Both teams stood their defensive ground and despite 5 shots each (3 on goal for Richmond and 2 for Wilmington) the goal keepers maintained clean sheets in the first half. The Hammerheads were showing some fatigue in the last 15 minutes and the teams barely made it off the field before darkening skies turned into a torrential downpour.
Eventually the weather delay turned into an end of game decision as those remaining were sitting in a darkened stadium and press box while the storm raged on. It will not be an unfinished and undecided game or the chaos of the storm that will be remembered. It is the simple and sincere gesture of support and hope that was displayed in the stands. A moment where we were reminded that in the end we are all part of One Team.
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