Atlanta United host Columbus Crew on Thurs., Oct. 26 in their Knockout Round match (7 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMás, TSN, TVAS) -- and, naturally, the usual pageantry and rituals will accompany their first foray into the post-season. This time around, rather than a celebrity, four fans chosen by supporters' groups will hammer the ceremonial pre-match Golden Spike. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has just profiled one of them, Josh Proctor.
A diehard gridiron football fan, as the story tells it, Proctor attended one Atlanta United match this past March, vs. the New York Red Bulls -- and instantly fell in love. He immediately bought season tickets for himself, his wife, and four children -- but not long after, doctors diagnosed him with blood and bone marrow cancer.
Through treatment, Proctor explains in the newspaper story, faith -- in both God and in Atlanta United -- has kept him going:
"I'd be depressed Monday through Friday. You're thinking about cancer every single day, but then Sunday morning or whenever the match was, all I was thinking about was getting up, getting dressed and getting down to the stadium," Proctor said.