From Orlando Sentinel
Number of sources: Five
Word Count: 488
Date of Publication: June 18, 2016
Thousands of fans came together to watch Orlando City play Saturday night in the city’s first major sporting event since the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed 49 people early June 12.
The club planned numerous tributes to the victims throughout the night, including a moment of silence during the 49th minute of play and the crowd singing the national anthem together.
Many fans were touched by the salute to the victims attacked at a popular gay nightclub.
“I think it’s fantastic what they’re doing,” Orlando City fan Brandon Lovelace said. “It’s really showing how this community’s come together … and I think what Orlando City’s done … just shows how much of a togetherness this community has.”
Lovelace, a 35-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., comes to about half of Orlando City’s games but he was especially excited to attend this match.
“This is one I was already gonna come down to, but the fact that, you know, this was a tribute to everybody, I had to come down for this,” he said.
Orlando City fan Ray Faris also appreciated the tributes to the victims.
“I think it shows that the city’s getting together and showing that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, you’re straight, you know, it doesn’t matter the color of your skin, what religion you are,” said Faris, 32. “It shows that the city’s coming together and supporting all the victims and their families.”
Jennifer Haupt is happy that Orlando is being seen in a different light following the tragedy.
“I think Orlando has kind of been seen as this city that’s mostly where tourists come and Disney and things like that, and I think this has just been one example of how we’re so much more than that,” said Haupt, 31.
“The fact that we have this sports team here too kind of represents us and is a very big deal and … I’m really touched by it.”
Meaghan Simms attended the Tampa Bay Rays game where the victims were honored Friday night and was excited to be able to attend her first Orlando City game Saturday.
“It’s really cool to go from one pride night where they were honoring victims to come … into the city of Orlando and then have them do the same thing,” said Simms, 27.
When she was in line waiting to buy an #OrlandoUnited T-shirt, she saw some people who were from Pennsylvania who decided to attend the game because of the tributes.
“It’s so cool to have local people, people from afar, it really is, it’s awesome,” she said. “… It makes you feel loved and appreciated.”
Lauren Fraser, 29, is happy to see the support that the LGBT community has gotten following the tragedy.
“It’s just nice to know that … everyone’s supporting you,” she said. “… Being a member of the gay community and to see everyone come out in support, that makes me feel very welcome.”