written by Chelsey Stark, CASL intern
Despite the November rain, wind and cold weather, almost 150 Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winners and their families came out to the RailHawks game to be recognized for their outstanding fall seasons as exemplary sportsmanship role models. Thanks to the generous corporate support of Dick's Sporting Goods and WakeMed Health and Hospitals, these players were treated to a special night at the Carolina RailHawks last home game of the season.
Named in honor of Dr. Pat Hamilton, an advocate for the development of youth soccer in North Carolina, the Hamilton award is presented to an individual from each team who is a standout not only on the field, but off the field as well. CASL emphasizes the importance of growth and development of young adults, teaching sportsmanship traits needed to be successful in life, not just the game.
With hot chocolate in our arsenal, Hamilton Award winners,
families and friends corralled around our tents to receive their certificates
and gift bags while enjoying a cup of liquid warmth before the game. Dick's Sporting Goods was on hand to help congratulate the award winners with additional free giveaways. Each sportsmanship award winner also received a free ticket to that night's game. The CASL Tower was packed with sportsmanship award winners and their supportive coaches, teammates, friends, and family.
|one winner proudly taking her picture|
Luckily, the weather held off for a much drier 90 minutes as the RailHawks took to the field. In a game where the RailHawks needed a victory against Minnesota to advance to the post-season NASL Championship, the excitement of the game was at an all-time high, along with attendance. The first half closed with a 1-0 RailHawks lead.
At half, Hamilton winners lined up to start their parade around the stadium to high-five and wave to the large crowd. Cleats, CASL's mascot, was on hand to lead the parade of award winners. Many of them could look up to the videoboard to see themselves recognized on the big screen for all to see. These athletes demonstrated tremendous character, leadership, integrity and respect toward their coaches and fellow teammates for the Fall season, qualities that deserve high recognition.
The line of athletes snaked back to the field exit, and it wasn’t too much longer before the game turned into a spooky day-after-Halloween phenomenon with a power outage and only the videoboard to shed light on the stadium, delaying the second half for 30 minutes.
The RailHawks finished their 2014 NASL regular season with a 2-2 tie, and to their fans dismay, unable to advance into contention for the NASL Soccer Bowl championship.
We would like to congratulate all CASL Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winners!