Efforts by N. Cheyenne football team helps make RPR Homecoming special

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I’d like to take a moment to shine the spotlight on a special group of young men from Big Horn County: the Northern Cheyenne six-man football team. Our Reed Point-Rapelje Renegades had the opportunity to play the Eagles this past Friday and when their team took the field, I couldn’t help but feel admiration for those boys. There were only seven of them and one had a cast on his arm. They’d had to forfeit two previous games because of their small numbers.

So far this season, RPR has had two teams forfeit due to lack of players, so we were nervous that Northern Cheyenne would do the same. This was our Homecoming game and it would have been a real shame to have no action under those Friday night lights!

The Eagles played hard, but by halftime, they were down to five players; the ambulance taking one away for a concussion (we pray he’s okay!) Though they could have forfeited at that point, they decided to play on, and though we could have kept six men on the field, we didn’t. The game continued, with one seriously overweight Eagle being buoyed up by his teammates and the crowd, then eventually being physically lifted up by Eagles and Renegades each time he went down.

Those boys kept up their jovial attitude, even getting RPR fans to root for them, and that was real magic right there on our football field! I think in this competitive, dog-eat-dog world, we’ve lost sight of true sportsmanship; why we get out and mix it up with another team in the first place. Sports are the antidote to fear, bias and division. They have helped break down racial and socioeconomic barriers. They have given us hope and joy as we watch athletes and teams excel despite difficult circumstances.

At the final buzzer, after the teams had shaken hands, they gathered mid-field for a prayer. The Cheyenne coach said that they were grateful to be able to come play and he thanked our team for the opportunity.

I thank him and his boys for such a fine display of guts and heart! My son was truly touched by the bravery of the Eagles and the good attitude they maintained, and I know that other Renegade players felt the same! I believe that a small miracle occurred that night and I will never forget it.

Audrey Steinfeldt

Reed Point, Mont.

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