CHARLOTTE, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – With a ceremonial courthouse, Livingstone College opened its new stadium, complete with a new soccer field and track during the historic West End classic against Catawba College.
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Anthony J. Davis says what better way to introduce the nearly $3 million renovations than with the return of the Mayor’s Cup after a long hiatus.
“I think it’s time. When you think about our communities, we’re not rivals, we’re collaborators in space, and today we’re going to have a competitive soccer game, and what better way to do that than on a field where HBCU all started with soccer,” says Davis.
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Although this year marks the ninth annual game of classic football, West End Coalition President Dee Dee Wright says it’s not just about what happens between the lines, but also about allowing the community to come together in brotherhood.
“We want to make sure that seniors that are in the community have the services that they need, we have those that are working with Covid 19, so we are there when they need us,” Wright said.
Athletic director Lamont Massie-Samson says a new soccer field isn’t just for the students and athletes, it’s for the community.
“Being able to see people walking down the track, walking around, hanging around, having fun and doing it in a safe environment, bringing their kids, this will probably be their first opportunity, you know, to have a little kid on this campus, you grow up in Salisbury. and you have this as a background, you have students saying I grew up on the Livingstone campus, that’s the kind of thing you want,” Massie-Samson said.
The West End Classic wasn’t the only HBCU football game that kicked off the football season.
From Salisbury to Charlotte, Duke’s Mayo Classic featured one of HBCU’s greatest rivalries: North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central University on its 100-year anniversary, on Charlotte’s biggest stage for the first time.
The colleges are 55 miles apart and share more than 100 years of history with each other, but the on-field rivalry began in 1922 when the teams first met in Greensboro.
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“It’s something that means a lot to both parties, every year it’s trash talk or a competition between Central and A&T. It’s a great rivalry, it really reminds me of the Carolina-Duke-NC State type of thing in North Carolina as far as an HBCU rivalry,” said Trip Stone. His son is the NCCU Eagles long snapper.
A&T alumna Kimberly Hines and Hiwatha Smith have been attending the game for as long as they can remember. They say it is the environment that attracted them. “I think it’s all about family here, we talk trash, we joke around with people like the guy over there in the center jersey because they got lost, but here when we come in we have fun. , we want to celebrate,” says Smith.