“It’s nobody’s fault,” words stated by Nick as we were leaving the field of the Oso Soccer Complex of the Mission Viejo Classic at the end of the Ranch Cucamonga Flames’ Game 3 in pool play, a game where we played some of our hardest soccer and held some of our most fierce determination ever.
Our warm and sunny, 90-degree-plus weekend started on Saturday with a 7:00 am check-in for our 8:00 am match against, who else, dagnabbit, Claremont. We’ll play these guys one more time hopefully in our two remaining tournaments, but our first game of pool play ended, again, in a loss, 1 to 3, to this team who, honestly, doesn’t have anything over our Flames.
So off we went under our erected canopies, umbrellas, and tents to enjoy some pb&j sandwiches, a handful of card games, some sibling soccer, and relaxation in the warmest camp yet of the season.
For our next game we were up against San Pedro at 1:00 pm. Opportunities knocked and doors opened; we played well, but ultimately succumbed 0 to 2.
During our Sunday morning pregame peptalk, the Flames became aware of our reality — we needed to win this game at 10:30 against Lakewood. We must defend and dominate to give ourselves needed points and possibly continue on to a consolation match later in the day.
So with team spirits high into the clear bright blue sky and Mary leading our team parent march as we all shouted, “Who Are We? We Are Flames!” our boys entered the pitch and began their fight. It was an amazing game, one these boys will always be proud of. And by halftime we were up 2 to 1. But as we maintained our hold on Lakewood into the fourth quarter, it just so happens the smallest and least productive kid on the opposing team happened to be in the right place at the right time, kicking a wildly and fumbling loose soccer ball into the net, just feet from our goalie.
So in the end, our last game of pool play, Game 3, ended in a 2 to 2 tie, leaving us narrowly just one lousy point short from that desperately desired consolation match. But as they say, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, that’s how the ball bounces, literally, and it is what it is.
And what exactly is it? It’s a devoted group of young men having the time of their life in the world of soccer. And from the looks of those smiles above under the huge shade tree, they don’t look too upset. And that’s the way it should be.
Next stop: Sun N Surf, Huntington Beach, CA, Father’s Day weekend, June 19th and 20th, 2010. GO FLAMES!!!