World Cup fever has hit Davidson, and in true Davidsonian fashion someone planned a fund-raiser around Saturday’s England vs. USA opening round match. About 80 people gathered at Our Town Cinemas to watch the game on a big screen and to help out a new local charity called Valid USA, which aims to provide food security and community-based healthcare for malnourished children around the world.
There was a fair amount of loud cheering, drum beating and horn blowing inside the theater as the 1-1 tie in Saturday’s match in South Africa was a good result for the USA. (Our condolences to the handful of Brits in the audience, who had hope for something better than a draw.)
Pat Millen of Davidson, who has been immersed in the soccer world for years and now works in sports marketing, planned the event. He is the co-founder of Valid USA along with fellow Davidson Steve Justus, an emergency-room physician who has been working this year in Tanzania.
The event was another one of those distinctly Davidson occasions that attracted a crowd age 6 years to retirement age. (Gary Steber and John Kuykendall were the senior members of the USA cheering section.)
It wouldn’t have been possible without venue like Our Town Cinemas, which makes its theaters available for community events like this one. The new movie theater in Sadler Square has two 80-seat and two 40-seat screening rooms, as well as a concession stand that serves wine, beer and pizza along with the usual popcorn and candy.
To help raise money, the event had contests to pick the score and other events, in exchange for a donation to Valid USA. Paddy Millen (Pat’s son) augmented the concession-stand fare and the fund-raising by going through the crowd selling Rice Krispy treats.
There were also giveaways for bags, T-shirts and mini-balls.
One contented neighbor joked during the first half: “Davidson sucks, doesn’t it.”
There’s talk of a second gathering at Our Town Cinemas to watch Friday’s USA vs. Slovenia game. Alas, the game is at 10 a.m., which may make it hard for most folks to get there. If the show goes on, we’ll post something on The Guide in the next few days with details about how to join in.
June 13, 2010, NewYorkTimes.com, “In Showdown, Sure Hands and Shaky Ones,” George Vecsey’s “Sports of the Times” column reviewing the game.