As I sit here looking out the office window at wonderful splashes of vivid oranges and reds, burnt browns, and bright yellows, I cannot believe that it's October 23rd, and the college soccer season is nearing an end.
Prior to this season, I didn't have much of an interest in the college game. As I was busy following the Revolution and Stingrays, the idea of college soccer hadn't even been a passing thought. But after reading Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ, and absorbing observations from small-college football teams, it inspired me to do the same, in terms of college soccer. Thus, a new window to the game was opened, and what a Ticonderoga-sized window that proved to be.
I sit here in the exact spot where I first took it upon myself to follow college soccer. I looked toward my two alma maters - RIC and CCRI - and hashed out which school and which squad (men's or women's) I'd choose as my primary candidate for additional soccer writing chores. I ended up choosing the RIC sides, but as the season wore on, the RIC Anchorwomen became "my" team.
There's something in the collegiate game that is absent from pro soccer. A remarkable innocence of the game still resides on the pitches of colleges and universities. A wonderful sense of community prevails. The crowd energy is much different, though still spirited nonetheless, as the majority of them are parents and friends of the players before them. In other words, they literally love the players, and their enthusiasm is touchingly clear.
Tonight, the RIC Anchormen will face off against Amherst College in one of the final RIC home matches of the season. I cannot believe how quickly the season has transpired. It seems as if the RIC-St. John's Fisher College back on a hot and muggy August 31st afternoon just took place. Now, as the leaves began to retreat from the trees, the number of visits to the RIC Soccer Field has dwindled down to three.
Forget the Sox in the World Series, or the Patriots rolling over the competition. The Rhode Island College soccer teams occupy the first priority slot in my universe right now.