The ‘Battle of the Bridge:’ Challenges, Competition, and Community


Layla Chaaraoui

The Norristown Eagles line up for a play down the field in the Battle of the Bridge.

Layla Chaaraoui, Staff Writer

The Battle of the Bridge, an annual week-long competition between Norristown Area High School and Upper Merion High School, concluded its run Labor Day weekend. Named after the Dannehower Bridge, which effectively connects the two districts, the event consists of a series of fall sports games between both high schools. However, due to weather conditions, the week presented its challenges.

On Wednesday, Sept. 1st, Hurricane Ida, which hit Pennsylvania as a tropical depression, made trouble for the Battle of the Bridge event. With the Dannehower Bridge, as well as many homes and businesses, flooding, both districts were left damaged. This left many displaced from their homes, forced to pay for the loss of goods, vehicles, and other essentials. The football game that was originally scheduled to take place on Thursday, Sept. 2nd was therefore moved to Saturday, Sept. 4th at 11 am.

At the football game, both schools showed a great sense of community at the halftime mark. Donations to those affected by the flood in both districts were accepted in lieu of a charge at the gate. At halftime, it was announced that over $4,000 was raised for the Norristown and Upper Merion communities.

Though the Eagles lost the football game 23-7, the team fought hard until the very end and helped raise money for those in need.

Throughout the weekend, other Norristown sports teams got their shot at participating in the Battle. Field hockey suffered a tough loss against Upper Merion, losing 12-9,  and Girls Volleyball also lost to Upper Merion. Tennis lost too, due to a forfeit. However, boys varsity soccer beat Upper Merion with a score of 1-0.

Senior Diego Guzman, who scored the winning goal for the game, was excited to play in the event. “Considering we were unable to play in a regular-season last year due to COVID, it felt good to be back in the same competitive field we are used to,” he said. “Since Upper Merion is our ‘rivals,’ and we only get one shot a year to play against them, it feels like the pressure is on us to win. It makes the game more enjoyable for those watching the game, and motivated me to play to the best of my ability for my team and school.”

While the girls’ soccer game ended up being postponed, Sophomore Emily Plummer was still excited to see the week play out. “I feel as if the Battle of the Bridge continuing helped get any outside stress that athletes, students, and families may have had from the flood away, giving them the opportunity to go out and have fun,” Plummer said. “The profits that are going to flood relief, raised by both Norristown and Upper Merion, are going to be so helpful, and made me very happy to see.”

All in all, the Battle of the Bridge proved to be both a complicated but thrilling weekend. Despite weather and rescheduling challenges, Norristown Athletics played hard in every game, even if the teams faced some losses. In a time of hardship, Norristown and Upper Merion came together and supported one another, which is something everyone should be proud of. As the Upper Merion Athletics Twitter page states, “Rivals on the field but together off of it,” and that statement never proved more true than it did this Battle of the Bridge weekend.