This past Saturday night, my youngest daughter and part of her soccer team attended a Carolina Railhawks game with us. If I didn’t already loved this team than this experience would have made me fall in love with them. The only thing that it did do was force me to love this team more if that is even possible. For the most part, I sat back and let the girls enjoy their experience. For many of the girls, this was their first time at a Railhawks game. And to say that they enjoyed the experience would be an understatement.
But first I have to give props to Katy our season ticket rep for the Railhawks, she went above and beyond anything I could have imagined for the girls to get the most out of their game day experience. Through a series of emails, she offered a package that for many of the girls were a once in a lifetime experience. Being able to sit on the bench before the game, slap the players hands in the fan tunnel and to experience the impressive caliber of play by the team as well as the outstanding show of love for the fans was almost an experience that words can not describe, but I will do my best. Oh did I forget to mention that Katy even had Gracie’s name on the big screen which totally made up for my Mom Fail of the week before?
Most of you know, but for those that don’t know, we never thought that Gracie, our youngest would be able to play soccer like her older sisters. With the fear of having a seizure at any time, we often worried that she could get hurt on the field. Having her cleared to play this year, I can honestly say has been a positive thing for her. Not only are her seizures under control, but her grades also are better, her overall physical health is awesome, and she has actually come out of her shell a lot. She wants to be involved in more things and loves having friends over to the house. My little girl has become a social butterfly. Nothing makes a parent smile more than to hear the giggles of 4 girls ( My middle daughter, Mikaela, Gracie, and 2 of her friends) in the backseat of car giggling and talking about what a great time they had at the game even if they didn’t get a picture with Jeremy, but they did get to slap his hand in the fan tunnel.
But all these experiences before the game and during the game, are overshadowed by far when the girls got to get the players autographs after the game. They learned that this amazing bunch of guys love their fans just as much as their fans love them. Of course, there are our favorites, but like I told my husband, I don’t think there is one player on this team that I don’t like this year. Normally there are a few that I could take or leave but this year, from what I have seen on the field and off, the Carolina Railhawks have not only put together an amazing group of players but also an outstanding group of unbelievably respectful, friendly, and all around awesome guys as well as role models.
And I will have to say that I also love that a majority of these guys aren’t afraid to show their faith. I have lost count on how many players I have seen crossed themselves and pray before they step foot out onto the field and after they are done playing. To me that is an awesome role model, but I also love the diversity of the team, they are from all over the world, some local, Multiple races and nationalities, some newly married, some married with kids, some who are suffering devastating losses or illnesses in their own lives, but still once they step out on the soccer pitch they do everything they can for the fans because they know without the fans support there will be no team. It is so refreshing to see this kind of attitude in sports these days.
I think the best way I could sum it up, is this story of a new player for the Railhawks this year. John Orlando tried out for the Railhawks ( You might remember how impressed I was with him at the Meet the Railhawks event) at one the open tryouts they held and on Saturday, he suited up for the game. Watching his face while the team was warming up I could see just what a major life moment that was for him. And it was confirmed when the game was finished, and after all the autographs had been signed, he walked back out on the pitch and asked someone to take a picture of him on the field in his uniform. That just made me smile, showing that if you work hard that you can accomplish anything.
So thank you Carolina Railhawks team from the support staff to players, to coaches and all those that work to make a game day experience the best it can be for being positive role models for the children that attend your games and for making each fan feel like they are totally unique in your eyes. And thank you for showing that it isn’t all about the money but investing in the youth of the country.
If you are ever in the Raleigh / Durham area you need to go check out a Carolina Railhawks game, I promise you won’t regret it.