Red & White Rugby Players Receive Baptism of Fire at Pionir Hall!
The semi-final play-off series of the ABA League [basketball] ended as expected. Red Star, with victory in the third match, earned its place in the final, thereby scheduling a fourth consecutive spectacle in the culmination of the season, this time against the champions of Montenegro.
Already prior to arrival on the ‘territory’ of the Pionir basketball fortress, and a full 90 minutes earlier, we were aware that the hall would be filled to capacity. The introductory moments of the warm-up and the emergence of the Mornar players on court slowly heated the atmosphere.
Everyone was ready for a basketball spectacle, but what none of the fans and others present in the hall knew – apart from us at SCZ (Only Red Star) and the club’s marketing department, as well as the spokesperson of the club and those tasked with ensuring every Red Star match is a spectacle in its own right (our great friends Nesha, Filip, Igor and Kosta) – was the surprise that we’d prepared together for Red Star’s faithful: the arrival of the current Serbian champions in rugby league and the winners of the 21st derby against their arch rivals just a day earlier on Gypsy Island: Red Star’s rugby league players.
As I awaited them in front of the hall, in order to introduce them to the people from the club who would take over responsibility, my mind was crossed by thoughts about whether we were doing the right thing, how the spectators would greet them, whether they would cope with the pressures of a packed Pionir… They arrived, we gathered, Kosta explained everything to them, then we headed straight into the tunnel and towards the court…
And then, a spectacle and the kind of welcome that only the Red Star faithful can stage for their favourites, and these boys definitely became that this evening… There emergence in the middle and official presenting by the announcer brought the atmosphere in the hall to boiling point. Everyone was on their feet chanting “champions, champions…”
We could finally breathe easily, with everything moving in an excellent direction, and them… for them the experience was just beginning! The Red Star fans didn’t let them leave the court for a good five minutes. And while the hall resounded with songs about Red Star, the rugby players recorded every second with their phones, which soon afterwards appeared on social networks… Taking their places courtside, they cheered for the basketball team throughout the entire match, enjoying every score and in the end celebrating victory.
The end of the match was followed by socialising with sporting director Nebojsa Ilic, an exchange of gifts and an invitation to the next match against the Buducnost club. There is no doubt that the idea of mutually supporting clubs within the framework of the Red Star Sporting Society is completely correct, and that in the future – alongside footballers, volleyball players and handball players – the presence of our rugby league players at basketball matches will be a normal and regular occurrence.
Us at SCZ, as well as people from the club, will not stop there… Soon there will be new spectacles and new presentations of the red & white family.