As the resident soccer guru at the Observer-Reporter, covering the WPIAL and PIAA soccer playoffs is a yearly ritual for me. And, over the years, a few local teams have proven quite enjoyable to watch - the 2006 Peters Township boys immediately comes to mind.
Having been involved with the sport either by playing it or covering an event, soccer has been a part of my life for nearly 30 years, started playing at the age of 4.
And, during that time, I never saw anything quite like Monday night's Bentworth boys playoff game at Bentworth Athletic Field.
The place was a zoo.
The crowd compared in size to what attends the WPIAL Class AAA boys championship match and they were into it - both Bentworth fans as well as a decent sized contingent from East Allegheny.
Tempers flared in the stands but nothing more than words was exchanged, and mostly it was the East Allegheny fans taking abuse for cheering its Wildcats. Cowbells rang. Announcements were made to stop the cowbell (personally, I think we need more cowbell).
The Bearcats were physically tough, despite losing 2-1 in overtime. They weren't the most skilled team but they never wavered in effort. Too bad a few Bentworth players got a little too caught up in the emotion. There were a couple cheap shots and some needless taunting.
In the end, however, this reporter hasn't had as much fun covering an event this school year.