Saturday, July 22, 2006

Weekend without Echoes

In keeping with original material, something you are highly unlikely to read in any newspaper, unless you look really carefully.

In their final home game of the season, the Northern Virginia Majestics fell flat, losing to the Western Massachusetts Lady Pioneers by a lopsided score of 4 to 0. The Majestics fell behind early, and had little offense to answer a tenacious team play of the visiting Pioneers. With all the scoring completed before the 60th minute of the game, many spectators remained only for the hope of the 2nd game of the doubleheader.

The game was played at Gar-Field High school, across from the Potomac Mills Mall, and was sparsely attended. But the small crowd, seemingly largely made up of friends and relatives of the players, was vocal and supportive, even when the outcome was long-settled. And to their credit, the Majestic players continued to play hard throughout the game, even though it was a lost cause.

In the nightcap, the Northern Virginia Royals faced off against the Elite of Raleigh, North Carolina. This game was marred first by a very passive referee, who let multiple fouls go unpunished, and then by a strong and long-lived rainstorm, which started with a few minutes to go in the half and continued throughout the 2nd half of the game.

The game was scoreless at halftime, but in the 2nd half the visiting Elite were able to score two goals in the pouring rain, and while the Royals continued to put pressure on the Elite defence to the end, they were hampered by the loss of a player to a red card on a particularly hard tackle which to this reporter seemed more a natural consequence of the slippery surface than any attempt to harm another player.

Fortunately, the Elite player, who for some time was screaming in apparent agony, was able to get up and walk off on his own power. After the game a fellow Elite player reported that the injured player was OK and had no lasting damage to his knee.

With the score 2-0, and with the continuing rain, few spectators bothered to stay through to the bitter end.

The bright spot of the game for the Royals was the dedicated play of one intrepid ballboy, who without raingear stood his ground in the pouring rain to ensure that the players had a steady supply of balls to put into play. When the other far-side ballboy became so cold he literally could no longer move, this ballboy ran back and forth from one end of the field to the other, hoping to supply the spark the Royals needed to get back into the game.

When the rain died down, he could be heard complaining, and when the rain picked up, he cheered it on. With no thought to either his comfort, or his health, this young man exhibited the drive and determination that was equal to the task. Way to go, Matthew. The players also worked hard to the end, rewarding the few who remained to the end. All in all, an entertaining evening activity in Prince William County, notwithstanding the lopsided scores.

Matthew the ballboy, shown with three Royals players during
the pre-game introductions. Later, Matthew was thoroughly
soaked by a torrential downpour while performing his duties.

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