Or to really proclaim what I think we’re all feeling, blame it on the rain. I do. Why? Because in that final game of our 2012 Grape Stomp Tournament, we saw, as always, a team on fire, our RC Flames burning up the field ever so courageously and determined as possible. We saw how you held the most possession of that soccer ball. We saw you making your planned runs, how you were performing your usually successful plays, how you were defending your goal.
But we also saw the ball skipping and flying amok on a field drenched in mud. We saw your black soaked in downpour. We witnessed you fighting ever so valiantly, yet slipping and sliding, falling, all of it leading to frustration and sadness and shock. And we saw Diamond Bar attacking, really attacking, and landing some good shots.
That’s why we blame it on the rain.
And this is why we’re gonna take that second place trophy and run with it:
The Rancho Cucamonga Grape Stomp Soccer Tournament has always been known for its rain curse, and we all wait for the year when our home tournament will have wetless, beautiful weather for a full weekend. After being cancelled mid-morning at our first Grape Stomp tournament attempt the weekend before, our AYSO Region 65 rescheduled and gave it another successful shot last weekend, and our U16 RC Flames and seven other teams battled their way to the final.
Our Saturday skies opened up to gorgeous weather, and our soccer play was as beautiful as ever. Morning Game 1 against Walnut won us a win 2 to 1, and in Afternoon Game 2 we confronted Claremont and claimed our 3 to 2 conquest. In downtime we devoured Chuchi’s Tacos for lunch and, thus, are so grateful to Andreas’ family for cooking for Camp Rancho two weekends in a row. Your kindness is overflowing, and the fiesta you provided us all so abundant and delicious. Little did we know you are as passionate about Flames cheerleading as you are devoted in cooking — Thank you, Grandma Chuchi!
Morale was high and spirits content as we returned Sunday morning for Game 3 versus Saugus. And with a towering triumph win of 6 to 1, we claimed our third victory of the 2012 Grape Stomp.
But on Sunday afternoon at, yes, exactly 1:06 pm, the clouds began to release their traditional fury on our Grape Stomp, on our canopies, on our soccer bags, on our Flames, on everything. And in our Championship match against purple and white at 3:30 pm, the torrential rain drenched the fire we had ignited. The wind whipped our canopies, our umbrellas, everyone. And as this monsoon proceeded to take over your play, it was so hard to watch glory slip away from a team that we all fiercely protect and from a band of brothers who embrace each other with dignity. We could see it on your faces. Your pain was felt by all.
And the way it ended, if it had to end this way, although at the moment it was almost unbelievable in weather, I believe it was our Flames Guardian Angel saying, “That’s enough, boys. You’ve done your best. You’ve given it your all. It’s time for this to end.” And before a whistle could be blown, or even let alone heard, that inundation of water, wind, and hail was so bountiful that we all just stopped and walked away. Okay, ran.
So Flames, yes, this is your home tournament and we went into this full throttle wanting to defend our title. That’s how we roll.
But now do this and never look back: Turn your thoughts around, hold that 2nd place trophy, and remember all you did to get it, think of every minute of it. Remember the 11 goals you racked up and the numerous you stopped, blocked, halted. Remember your beautiful soccer performance of successful plays and runs and connects and passes and communication and teamwork. Remember the words of your prayers and the fervor of your team roar. Remember all your moms in Flames pink, your dads by your side, and never forget how darn proud we are of you and what you have achieved in these first three crazy-fun, Flames spirit-driven tournaments. Remember it all. And maybe, just maybe, one day in the next four months we’ll meet those purple boys again and our point will be proven. We’ve really only just begun.
So in the end, whose house? OUR HOUSE. WHOSE HOUSE? OUR HOUSE. You kept true to your word. Just like you blasted in your final team call, you did what you said you’d do: You played your hardest until the final second. You never gave up. You never stopped trying and running, strategizing, attacking, protecting. We can still hear you roar. You set fire to that rain.
And lastly, our Rancho Cucamonga Flames U16 Boys Select Team was chosen to attend the AYSO 2012 National Games in Knoxville, Tennessee, for one week in July 2012. This is a huge and honorable opportunity for these young men. These are the Olympics of soccer for us. Fundraising starts now. And a big dream lies in our future.
Next stop: Kickin’ It Up in the Hills, Chino Hills, California, March 31st & April 1st, 2012
Nothing in the past is as powerful as what we choose to do in the present moment. Louise Hay