My name is Caleb. On the Union’s April 22, 2017 game, where they blew a 3-0 lead against the Montreal Impact (it hurt emotionally), I was one of the children who walked out with the players. I play for Swarthmore Soccer Club.
We got to the stadium, and a guy named Tim took us to a room under where the Sons of Ben are, where we received bags with our names on them. Those were the clothes that we wore outside as the escorts. Once you’re into the outfit, you pretty much just sit around and watch TV for half an hour. Then, the big moment comes. I lined up with the others just behind the stand where the first of the game ball is held in place. I stood there for another five minutes. Then the line of players came out. The line got mixed around so much, and I’m still not sure why. It felt like the Turkey Hill cup shuffle, but with eleven cups, and much less complicated of a switch. Finally, I was paired with my player. I’ll give you two hints who he was: he scored two goals in the game and his number is #10.
Going out onto the field was easier than it might seem. I did know that thousands of eyes were watching this. But all I had to do was keep my composure. As I went out, I thought someone was smoking a whole lot, because I smelled a lot of second-hand smoke. I later found out that Tim had taken us under the Sons of Ben, and we were smelling their smoke. I noticed on the walk out my player was walking rather slowly. At that, we were the last in line. My dad said he was worried for a split second that I wouldn’t come out for whatever reason. The ground was wet, and I could feel it, as the rain started. From tips I was given, I learned not to look at the player too much. Apparently, at a different soccer game, a kid tripped over the player because they were looking at the player too much. So, I made sure to stare at the back of the guy in front of me, who, luckily, was my friend.
Because of the player’s slow walking speeds, I’d say we reached the line for the national anthem about 5 seconds later than everyone else. To be honest, I did accidentally put my hand over my heart, before realizing that at first, they would be singing the Canadian national anthem. I realized after they started singing when I quickly put my hand down behind my back. At least, when we got to the American national anthem I knew what to do.
As soon as that was over, the kids just didn’t really know what to do. We knew we were supposed to go off the field at that point. Then, my friend spotted Tim, who led us back to the Sons of Ben. Thankfully, the smoke wasn’t on that time.
Once getting inside, I grabbed my clothes bag and changed. When I came back from the bathroom, I noticed a lot of the kids that used to be there were gone. I wondered should I leave? Or should I stay? When I walked outside, dad and Theo, my brother, were walking up the steps, so either would’ve worked. We sat down at our seats, and watched the game.
From this experience, I don’t think as highly of the kids who do this. To be honest, previously, I thought those kids were special in some way, and were chosen. So, I understand that part now. I’m really glad I got the experience but nothing really changed inside of me, except my thoughts for the other kids.
You may have guessed who my player was, but, in case you haven’t, it was Roland Alberg. Similar to my experiences with the Pittsburgh Pirates (I’m 7-1 going to games in Pittsburgh), I like to think that I’m a good luck charm. After all, Alberg did score 2 goals in the game.