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Forever Eleven: Chariho Remembers Maddie Potts

Tuesday evening’s forecasted rain, which forced Chariho High School to postpone its girl’s soccer senior night activities and game versus Westerly, seemed somehow appropriate. It has not been a pleasant fall for Chariho, particularly the girl’s soccer team. The dark, dreary and wet weather most of the week seemed to lay testament to that.

Co-Captain Maddie Potts – number 11 as we have all come to know her – would not be physically celebrating senior night with her teammates this week. She passed away doing what she loved – playing soccer – just weeks ago. And, though Maddie’s family, her teammates, and the town have succeeded admirably in saluting her memory and continuing to learn from Maddie; let’s face it: no matter how you wrap them, some things that happen in life are just plain unfair. Maddie’s untimely death was one of them.

But, as this town certainly seems to understand, while it’s easy to give into darkness and pull the covers over your head, the wiser path is always to power through the darkness and try to reach the point of peace beyond.

So the school rescheduled the game, and with a forecast of rain until Friday, it was not hard to pick the right day. Friday was the official last day of the last week of the regular season. Friday was it.

Everything was moved to Friday including planned television coverage of the game which was to include a tribute to Maddie. Of course schools generally make every effort to get scheduled games in, but this seemed more important than usual because this was a celebration of Maddie Potts and her fellow senior teammates. Not doing it – having it fall through the scheduling cracks – just seemed unacceptable. Not after all that had happened this fall.

Sure enough, Friday the sun shone – from morning through evening. And the temperature; it was just about perfect. And sure enough, as the day progressed, the teams arrived, the television crew arrived, the fans and friends arrived. The game was played.

It was an emotional evening, both celebratory and respectful of what had come to pass this season. The Chargers held a pregame ceremony to honor their Seniors, including Maddie Potts. Maddie’s family (mother Stephanie, father Dan and sister Julia) all took the field during the ceremony, accompanied by friends Liz Peters, Carrie Peters and Lauryn Hall.

Ultimately, Chariho defeated Westerly at home 2-0. The Chargers relied on youth and experience in the victory, as freshman Spencer Shiels scored the game winner in the 32nd minute and senior Garbielle O’Connell added an insurance tally in the 2nd half. Chariho has now won four straight. They conclude the season at (11-4-3, 9-4-3 Division II).

Television coverage of the senior night game, including a video tribute to Maddie Potts and interviews with family and friends can be seen in Rhode Island on YurView, Cox channels 4 and 1004 Sunday October 29th at 7:30pm, Monday the 30th at 7:30pm and Wednesday, November 1 at 7:30pm