ROCKINGHAM – It’s no secret that football is king in Richmond County. Just taking a drive past Raider Stadium on a fall Friday night will give you needed proof of that.
It’s also not a secret that the Scotland County Fighting Scots are the largest of the Raiders’ rivals.
But Tuesday night, the Richmond Young Professionals put a lighthearted twist on this long-time rivalry as they faced off against the Scotland Young Professional Network in their inaugural RYP vs YPN Flag Football game.
As explained by Richmond Young Professionals President, David Stogner, the connection with RYP and YPN began over a year ago when the YPN executive committee contacted him in regards to RYP’s recent successes. It was at this point when Stogner invited the members of the Scotland YPN to join them at their upcoming Talk of the Town meetings.
“Being that both counties share many similarities ranging from population, economy and opportunities for young professionals,” stated Stogner, “we determined that the conversation between our two groups should continue.”
And continue it did. Shortly after the meeting, YPN contacted Stogner, inviting RYP to a kickball match hosted by YPN in Scotland Couty. The event, taking place last spring, hosted nearly 40 young professionals between the two organizations, and gave everyone involved an idea.
The inaugural RYP vs YPN Flag Football game took place Tuesday night at Browder Park in Rockingham, and was certainly a success for all. Over 30 members from both organizations came out to the event to play and support as each team battled for pride, bragging rights, and of course, a trophy.
Officiated by referee Bryce Speigel, the game was played in an eight-on-eight structure, and was open to both male and female players of varying ability levels.
“It sounded like fun,” expressed a group of YPN members. “No one had to convince us to come play.”
Although neither team admits to practicing or preparing for the night’s showdown, both teams appeared to work well together, each successfully putting up dozens of points for their organization.
And even though both teams fought hard until the final whistle, there could only be one winner.
With a margin of victory that fluctuated throughout the entire game, RYP is thrilled to have come out on top 56-48 and pulled off a win for their organization. A victory that allowed them bragging rights, a photo op, and custody of the event’s custom-built trophy.
But for Stogner and the other Young Professionals, the night’s event was not all about what happened on the field, but rather through the conversation and relationships that were formed before, during and after the game.
“Having events like this,” expressed Stogner, “serve to reinforce RYP’s mission and focus predicated on the theme of WORK. PLAY. GIVE.
“We hope that through some friendly competition in a sport that has a tendency to result in division between rival counties, we can promote a mutually supportive relationship to encourage positive change in your region.”