This weekend was a weekend that I had waited for with anticipation since last November. It was the first time in 2016 that I would be able to see the Carolina Railhawks play. Last year they were under a dark cloud ( you can read about it in My Open Letter to the Railhawks ) because of their ownership but toward the end of the season, they obtained new ownership. Not knowing what this new ownership would bring, I will admit that I was little skeptical if these changes would actually make a difference in the club. First, let me tell you that this new owner is not only awesome, but he is willing to spend money on the club to get it where it needs to be. He looks just like an ordinary fan except that he had enough money to buy the club. And the fact that he is from Eastern NC, Kinston to be exact, is a huge plus for me as I grew up in the neighboring county in Richlands.
Now for the first time, the fans will be treated to not only a party bus to help those who like to party before and after the game to take them to the stadium, but also events before the game. In fact, their season opener is this weekend, and fans are encouraged to come early to take in all the festivities. They will have a food truck rodeo, fireworks, pregame entertainment as well as the autograph alley after the game. And also, a flyover and a parachute team, how exciting right?
The autograph alley is our absolute favorite as it is how we get to met the players, grab pictures with them as well getting to know them. This year there are a lot of new faces on the team. So it is exciting as a fan to get to know them better. Of course, there are our favorites like Austin Da Luz, Naz, Akira, Shipalane, and Connor Tobin. I will have to admit that I was disappointed that two of our favorites, Austen King and Daniel Jackson, did not get resigned this year. But I will say that am excited with the caliber of players that they have signed. As season ticket holders we were able to attend a meet and greet after their Preseason Match against Toluca FC ( look for another post on the match) from Mexico.
Since yesterday was #EpilepsyAwareness day, I decided to be bold and ask the players that I talked to if they would mind wearing a purple ribbon for us. Of course, the ones that knew our story immediately said sure. But the new players did not have a problem with wearing one as well. Then when I told them Gracie’s story, they were glad they did.
In fact, we happened to be talking to Aly Hassan, about his cool tattoos, when Akira ( who you know has been a favorite since the first game we attended ),walked by and Matt Watson asked, “Akira what is that for?” He didn’t even know the story and said I want one, I am all for supporting a cause. This quickly made him one of our favorites and, of course, his English accent helped out a lot. Gracie loves accents. He introduced Gracie to Simon ( sadly, I didn’t get a picture with him as I was talking to some other players about Gracie’s story). But I can honestly say that I am genuinely impressed with the caliber of players that the Railhawks have signed this year and they are truly a team that makes sure that their fans know how much they appreciate them coming out for every game, and they are so thankful for the support. What a refreshing thought!
Of course, I will have to say that I am little sad that John, our former rep has left the Railhawks to work on his writing career, and I was scared to see who we would get as our new rep as John was our third one in our two years as season ticket holders. Yesterday I made sure to find our new rep and introduce myself to her. I can already tell it is going to be a great season with Katy.
Here is Katy with Gracie. Notice the guy in the background glancing at the camera. Well, that is Matt Watson. I made him get in the next picture.
Now I will leave you with pictures from the Meet the Team event. I think my favorite one is the one with Gracie and Connor Tobin, as you know, he is the one she wants to be like on the field. Look at that smile.
So if you live in the Raleigh/ Durham area, or even if you don’t (heck we live an hour away) and you are looking for something to do on Saturday, April 2, check out a Carolina Railhawks game. Kickoff is at 3 pm but gates open at 1:30. Tickets are still available; you can either buy them at the box office or grab them at their website.
And if you go make sure tweet me @MMGMOM3 and let me know that you are there.