I was very blessed the other night to be a part of something amazing. Let me set the stage.
It was the Erskine Men’s Soccer team’s senior night, and it just so happened that we were also playing for the conference championship as well. Not only that, we were playing the dreaded, undefeated Limestone College Saints. It was sure to be an exciting night. It was sure to be a tough game.
Knowing the gravity of the situation there was a major push among the fans for some increased school spirit. This being the case, a group of us painted on ourselves a message for the game. “GO EC FLYIN’ FLEET!” would color the sidelines in Maroon and Gold for the duration of the bout. I am proud to have stood as the 2nd ‘E’ in Fleet. On top of that, we “commandeered” the Erskine plane (big aluminum replica) and rode it down the hill to the field. Needless to say, we were all pumped up and ready for an epic game.
The game was one of attrition with each team running, shooting, and fighting for every opportunity to score. At the end of the first half, Limestone was ahead by one beautiful (no matter how unfortunate) goal. The second half was gruelling as Erskine tried to even the score. At one point it looked like the Saints had asserted their lead when our keeper found himself on the far end of an opportunistic shot. But the eyes of one of our mid-fielders were keen, and he put a head on what would have been an open goal, saving the day. As the play clock drew near to an end, it was beginning to look desperate when Erskine finally capitalized on a well placed shot, tying the score and sending the game into sudden death overtime.
Overtime saw an increase in the electric atmosphere of regular play and just when half of the ten minute period was spent, it happened. Our keeper dropkicked the ball from the edge of his box, and it sailed across the field (as it always does). It touched down at the furthest Limestone defender who let the ball go awry. At that one of our forwards struck. It was a beautiful kick, but just a tad too high, and it bounced off of the crossbar and into the space in front of the goal. Fortunately there are more than one set of keen eyes on the Erskine soccer team and another member of the Fleet found the ball and, using his head, ended the game.
The net rippled, and the crowd erupted in proud exclamation. In an instant, the field was filled with Fleet fanatics who joined their team in chanting “E-C! E-C!” into the brisk Autumn air. My voice has never been more lost, and I’ve never been prouder to be a member of the Erskine family.
And people say that nothing exciting happens in small towns…