Call it what you (and, by “you,” I pretty much mean “I”) will.
Call it a North/South showdown. The “Battle of the Beach.” The “Clash of the Kilbys.” Call it other pseudo-clever handles that I’ve thought up that make Point Managing Editor M. Patricia Titus sigh — or just call it a lot of general anxiety for poor Nana Kilby, having to choose sides like she’s in a Marvel movie.
But whatever you choose to call the annual rivalry between the Indian River and Cape Henlopen High School soccer teams, and however it gets played up by those red-waving media types (Olé!), there’s no denying the game’s added intensity and sometimes even bitter energy.
While that was again the case when IR head coach Steve Kilby and his son, Cape head coach Patrick Kilby, faced off with their squads Tuesday night, the mutual respect between the two powerhouse programs was never more shining than it was in the JV game just before the varsity’s.
That’s when players who have not only been adversaries, but often teammates, for years while growing up playing for the River and Henlopen soccer clubs, decided to put on hold the rivalry and all of its associated physicality and Hamlet-type themes to instead focus on something of even more importance.
With Cape’s JV leading, it was the players’ idea to take a step back and let Indian River senior midfielder Josh Timmons — who many of them have known throughout their lives — score a goal in a game for the second time in his career.
For those of you who don’t know Josh (how that is possible, I will move past), he’s a member of River’s TOP Soccer program for players with special needs. He’s also person who obviously impacts a great deal of the lives that he comes in contact with, an advocate of River Soccer Club and Indian River High School soccer, and a prime mover and shaker in the local honey game (he and his dad, Tom, run an apiary in their non-soccer-related free time).
While I’ve known Josh for the past four years and can personally vouch for all of this, I finally got to sit down with him after Tuesday’s game for an interview and his thoughts on his second career score.
It went like this:
Tell me about your goal.
“My goal was great. I had a pass and I just want to say I had a good time. It’s my second year for a goal — it’s my senior year, and I’m very tickled and happy.”
What can you say about your teammates?
“My teammates are doing great. They’re doing wonderful. The captains are getting ready and organized. And I think they’ll be ready.”
What do you think about the rest of the season?
“In my opinion, we’ve got a good team and motivation, and I think we should have more opportunities to get more people excited, more happier.”
While there were, of course, plenty of interviews going on after the game, with plenty of media outlets asking questions and getting answers about what’s become one of the region’s most talked about rivalries, I very much doubt that any of them could be as definitive as that.
Thanks to Josh, the message of what sports like soccer are really about — a message that often goes overlooked among rivalries and championships and even winning and losing — was put very much forward in perspective, for all of us to see. Sometimes it’s not about the game — it’s about “having a good time” and having the opportunity to “get people excited, more happier.”
I know that’s what it did for me.