SPECIAL REPORT FROM BURNABY: A miraculous story of endurance and victory
by Brent Hanson on Monday, November 6, 2010 2:00pm
Celebrations erupted Saturday afternoon as the last of the 11 players trapped in a 90 minute battle walked from the pitch.
The last man to emerge from the pitch was man of the match Brent Hanson, whose leadership was credited with helping the men endure the final
10 minutes, during which they had no outside contact as Coach Ken and the rest of the coaching staff were too nervous to speak.
Sirens and horns blared and people cheered as Rino’s Vancouver walked to the 190-by-54-metre metal change room following the biggest win of the season.
“We have done what the entire world was waiting for,” Hanson said to Rino President Robert Freedman after the victory. “The 90 minutes that we fought so hard were not in vain. We had strength, we had spirit, we wanted to fight, we wanted to fight for our families, and that was the greatest thing.”
Hanson, Freedmen and the rest of the squad then began singing the team anthem, “Don’t go Chasing Waterfalls” by TLC.
In Vancouver, Team Sponsor Rino offered congratulations to the victorious players and their fans.
“Today we join the rest of the world in celebrating the best possible outcome: the successful victory of the Rino Players who returned to their hometown safe and sound and with a victory,” Rino said in a statement.
Game went smoothly
As the game proceeded smoothly Saturday, the time required to bring the players an early lead took just 35 minutes, thanks to a perfectly timed header by Dylan Smith after the Chilean Keeper misplayed Charlie Carrick’s shot.
The game seemed to go so quickly that barely anyone had time catch their breath and those earlier estimates of a Chilean victory were quickly forgotten.
John Bligh, the 9th player off the pitch, will get to meet his new beer after the game. His spot at the local bar
gave birth to a pint of Canadian, his second soon followed.
Charlie Carrick was the 6th player off the pitch. A 24-year-old professional soccer player, Carrick pumped his fist in happiness after he stepped from field.
Tyler Wilman, a 29-year-old father of one cat, was the 4th man off the pitch. A religious man, he prayed throughout the game and had friends even send prayers to the Rino players.
After all the players were off the pitch, the six fans sent to Burnaby to provide support followed the team to the change room to celebrate. Shaan, 23, who has played soccer for years, was among them. “I cried 39 times, for every player and for every member of the team,” she says. “It’s impossible to contain such emotions. I’m a strong woman, but I couldn’t do it.”
Jordan Haas, 45, was the 1st player off the pitch. He had taken a nursing course previously and was known as the doctor on the pitch because he helped so many fellow players with their health problems during the game.
Over the roughly 90 minutes the men spent playing the game, Haas continuously calmed the team, administered treatments and treated minor injuries, all while playing a flawless game.
Andrew Wade hugged his mistress after emerging from the pitch. His wife told a local newspaper she would not be at the sideline to greet Wade because she had reportedly found out about his mistress.
Cyrus Greenall, the 5th player to reach the sideline at the end of the game, told a Burnaby television station the game was the hardest thing he has ever faced in his life, but his faith in God got him through it.
“I was with God, and I was with the devil,” he said through a translator, his Dad. “But God won, I held on to God’s hand, the best hand, and at no point in time … did I doubt that God would get me a victory.”
After weeks of waiting and preparation, it took just 90 minutes to win the biggest game of the season and Rino’s Vancouver has found themselves in second place in the standings and out of the mine that was fifth place.
It is true that the Victory has become a team-deﬁning event. A narrowly avoided tragedy has been transformed into something triumphant. The undeniable resilience of the players, the sheer drama of their struggle and ultimate deliverance has uplifted the team in a way that can be compared to Canada’s hockey gold medals at the Vancouver Olympics, or perhaps the lunar landings of a previous generation.
To all the players…Congratulations. And thank you.