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Bobcat pride was on full display last weekend

Extraordinary events, indeed, transpired at Southeast Polk Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the Bobcat boys soccer team punched its ticket to the state tournament. Times-Republican sports editor Ross Thede described the experience as a “lonely place, floating even-handed in a sea of obscenities, injustices or maybe even prejudices.”

This does not describe the SEP Stadium that I experienced on Saturday. While Mr. Thede found himself floating alone, I found myself swimming in a sea of Bobcat pride. So much has been made in the news and on social media of the poor behavior of a few fans and the decisions by the referee that resulted in the ejection of the entire Marshalltown fan base from the stands that afternoon. But comparatively speaking, so little has been made of the best parts of the story.

Bobcat Nation came out in force on Saturday afternoon to cheer on a soccer team most worthy of its support. By my estimation, we outnumbered SEP fans by 3 to 1 – in their stadium. It was a beautiful thing. If you chose to look for it, I am sure you could have found some prejudices somewhere in that stadium, but what I saw on Saturday was a diverse Marshalltown community coming together in droves to support its kids. I saw Bobcat pride on display for 80 minutes of regulation play, for 20 minutes of overtime and for eight rounds of penalty kicks. I saw Bobcat pride on display as well-behaved fans put their emotions aside and peaceably exited the stands against their will. And I saw Bobcat pride on display when school administrators and fellow fans worked to correct the poor behavior of the few in our ranks.

Bobcat pride was most definitely on display on the field of play, as the Bobcat players and coaches all behaved with dignity, class and decorum throughout the entire ordeal, just as they have all season long. And all of Bobcat Nation was, of course, immensely proud when that glorious final save was made to send the Bobcats to state.

I look forward to meeting up with my fellow Bobcat fans again in Des Moines on Friday evening to cheer on this impressive group of student athletes. They are certainly worthy of our continued support. Go Bobcats. On to state.