I have never been more prouder to be a Carolina Railhawks fan than I am right now. The other day we attended the game where the Railhawks of the NASL played LA Galaxy of MLS. If you are unfamiliar with the divisions, MLS is the major league soccer organization in our country; it is the highest level of professional sports. The NASL is the league below the MLS, where some of players go to for more playing time. In fact one of the former Railhawks from last year Kenney Walker plays for LA Galaxy this year, he was on loan from there last year.
So now you familiar with what each league is let me tell you why I am so proud. First I am proud because the Railhawks not only showed class but earned a hard fought victory of 1-0 in overtime. This game was a little unusual to say the least. The field that they normally play on was slated to be resodded this week, so instead of playing on that field they played on a different in the same complex. This field did not have the stadium seating like the regular one but I will have to hand it to the Railhawks staff they were able to bring in bleachers and have standing room only sites to accommodate the spectators.
We normally sit on the side opposite the players but Tuesday night we sat on the same side, in fact we sat behind the bench. I will have to say that was definitely a learning experience. So when you think about the odds being stacked against them that they have a little bit of a displaced feeling. But to be honest from the moment they took the field, it was business as usual.
The win was great but the real reason that I am proud to be a Railhawks fan was not because of the fact that they won the game, (don’t get me wrong I love that they won the game) but because LA has the first openly gay MLS player on their team. To be honest, I would not have known it if I hadn’t seen a television show about him last year. Robbie Rogers is an amazing player to watch and the fact that he had the courage to tell the world about his lifestyle choice was inspiring to say the least. Personally, I believe that everyone has a right to love whoever they chose and as long as they aren’t hurting anyone than why should other people care. Which comes to my point about the Railhawks, they treated Rodgers just like any other player on LA’s team. They did not let up on defense when he had the ball and they weren’t afraid to challenge him. To me that is what being a professional is all about, they don’t worry about what happens in the personal lives of players, once they step out on the field they are the professional players that they are trained to be.
I have seen players from opposing sides shake hands and joke with the players. When they are on the field they are only focused on one thing to win the game and to be the best that they can be while winning the game. Off the field, most of these players are friends with opposing teams, but that friendship stops when they step onto the soccer pitch.
So the fact that they treated Rodgers with the same respect as they would any other player makes me proud to be a Carolina Railhawks fan.
On a side note, I thought it was pretty cool to see the legendary Landon Donovan. His not getting picked to play for the US World Cup was a tragedy for most the world but for us it was blessing, to be able to show my soccer girls a legendary player like him was awesome. The only thing that would make them happier was if Chicharito came and played against the Railhawks one day.