Passion among fans is what makes a sporting event great. None more important than the passion provided by soccer fans for a soccer match. Few sports around the globe give fans the ability to be within a few feet of the action with no barriers.
Sadly, the passion of some fans turns what should be an exhilarating experience into one that casts a dark cloud over the sport and an organization.
Don’t worry…this story has a happy ending.
During a hard fought match between Energy FC and Reno 1868 FC in the 2017 USL Western Conference Quarter finals, tensions were high and the passion of the great game got the better of some of the diehard fans of the Reno side.
As the #2 seed, Reno 1868 were perceived to have the upper hand. They had scored a league record 75 goals during the season and defeated a team 9-0 in one match. Energy FC came to play. A goal late in the first half gave The Greens the upper hand in the match. At the end of 90 minutes, Energy FC had come away with a hard-fought 1-0 victory, much to the dismay of the Reno 1868 fans within the supporters group, the Battle Born Brigade.
A dream win for Energy FC and a shocking loss for Reno. As the crowd took stock of the situation, former Energy FC defender Sam Fink found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. One decision, one momentary lapse of reason and suddenly the rules for the fans had changed as a fan hurled an object toward the field and struck Fink just above the eye. The injury kept Fink out of the lineup for the remainder of the postseason.
Reno 1868 immediately went into investigation mode to find out who had acted in a manner that did not fit the club’s name and challenged the conduct code of a hard-working supporter’s club. Within hours of the end of the game the Battle Born Brigade had made a statement saying that they could not condone the actions of an individual that affected so many. In the next 48 hours the Brigade and Reno 1868 communicated together to make amends for the individuals actions by showing kindness to the one man in the middle of the situation…Sam Fink.
Sam, now a member of Saint Louis FC, was a key player last year in the Energy Sidekicks program alongside his Sidekick Addison, has been a huge advocate for Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma, a 501c3 providing resources, support and promoting acceptance and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome.
Following the incident, Reno 1868 FC and the Battle Born Brigade communicated with Sam in an effort to right a wrong, mend a fence and do something positive in the face of a negative situation.
Today Addison handed DSACO a check on behalf of The Battle Born Brigade and Reno 1868 FC. What had the potential to be a nightmare for Sam, Reno 1868 FC and their supporter’s group became a positive situation that promoted goodwill between two teams, a player, his Sidekick and DSACO.
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