A Day with the Thundering Herd

When you create a project, you never really know if you’re going to find an audience. When I made a set of comedy sketches about the Marshall University Soccer Team, I would never have predicted they would connect in the way they did.

The sketches were a hit on Tik Tok and on Instagram – connecting with people around the world but in particular, of course, in Huntington, West Virginia, where Marshall University is located. It was also written about in the local newspaper, The Herald Dispatch.

Many who viewed the sketches were baffled as to why I was focusing on a college team from West Virginia, but for me, it was personal. My partner, Hannah, grew up nearby and is in fact Marshall University Alumni. The team already had my affections and therefore it was easy for me to focus on them.

The team reached out to me on social media and invited me to come to a game the next time I was in town. Luckily, I had good reason to be in town — for my wedding!

On August 30th 2023, my wedding was taking place in nearby Milton, WV.

Luckily, two days later, the Marshall Soccer team had a game against Xavier, and I was invited to attend, along with friends and family.

The day began with Jarrod, who works for Marshall, giving us a tour of the University, paying particular attention to the impressive sporting facilities. There was also a touching tribute to those who died in 1970, in a tragic airplane crash where the Marshall Football Team and coaching staff were killed.

Before the game, I had the privilege of meeting Marshall Soccer’s head coach, Chris Grassie, and then was invited with my family to tailgate with Chris’s wife, Allison, and their friends. The game itself was a 3-0 win for Marshall. The team made it look easy!

At half-time, I was invited onto the field to compete against my brother and friends in a competition. I am delighted to tell you that I was unbeaten!

An incredible day which I’ll always remember. It’s great to know the comedy sketches meant a lot to Marshall and it was an honour to share the day with them!

© All Pictures by Austin O’Connor.

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