Blogs | Eric Benevides

#Forever11 observed by R.I. and beyond

At a time when the NFL’s protests during the national anthem and the federal corruption investigation in college basketball are dominating our national sports scene, a heartwarming story is taking place right in our backyard in the wake of the untimely passing of Maddie Potts, a senior captain on the Chariho High girls’ soccer team.

Potts died on Sunday morning after suffering a brain aneurysm during the Chargers’ game at home the previous night against Middletown -- and right before she was called upon to take a penalty shot.

On Monday morning, the Rhode Island Interscholastic League requested its girls’ soccer teams to share a moment of silence for Potts before each game this week, but it seems that those teams, as well as their schools and other teams from other sports, have gone the extra mile to honor her memory.

Check out Twitter and you’ll notice that pretty much every school and high school team in the state have shared their condolences – #Forever11 is the hashtag of choice. Teams, and even some fans, have worn blue – Potts’ favorite color – or Chariho green, either through the color of their jerseys, special T-shirts they made, ribbons, bows, or wristbands. The Woonsocket High girls’ volleyball team even took blue marker and wrote “#11”, “M.P.”, and “Potts” on their legs (see picture) before taking the court for their match against Providence Country Day on Tuesday night.

And there have also been tributes by high school teams outside Rhode Island. In Massachusetts, before Tuesday’s Eastern Athletic Conference girls’ soccer game between Bishop Feehan and Coyle-Cassidy, a moment of silence was held in the center of the field for Potts. The same will take place in Connecticut on Wednesday night before Stonington and Ledyard play their girls’ game.

This obviously isn’t the first time a high school player has died during their respective season, but it’s tough to remember if anyone’s passing has brought the state together like this one. At a time in our lives where it seems like all the news in the world hasn’t been the greatest, it’s inspiring to see a bit of news in which people are uniting for a cause like this.

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