Saturday, September 22, 2012

What a great day of soccer.

Every soccer day is great.  But today was special as sixteen co-ed teams assembled for a memorial tournament for Julia Turner.  It was organized by a friend on fairly short notice and was a smash success. 

Julia was a Welland Notre Dame student who passed away during Christmas time of 2011 after a short battle with cancer.  Her illness and passing deeply affected her entire age group, all over Welland.  To describe her quickly, I would say she was a very nice girl from a very nice family.

Her friend, Sam, had the idea for the tournament and got 16 co-ed teams to participate.  The event supported The Hope Centre , a project that Julia's family supports.  The venue was the set of mini-fields at the Welland Soccer Club.  All the game officials (12) volunteered their time and the club happily supported the cause with the use of the fields.  Julia and her sister Jackie were both travel level players at one point.  Sam and her parents are long time members of the club.  I was lucky enough to officiate four games today and witness the fun, first hand.

A local butcher shop set up a BBQ there and forwarded profits towards the cause.  People were dropping in all day to check out the action, have some food and catch up with friends.

Today was very touching.  I saw so many people eager to help Sam and she did a great job keeping everything and everybody organized.  With a determined young lady at the helm, the event exceeded all expectations.  All those kids spending the day together was a good thing.  Sam's parents and friends were very proud of her efforts.

Not even a crazy night of rain would damper anybody's spirits.  It was nice watching all of these familiar players get a chance to play their favourite sport away from the confines of league rules, coaches, etc.  They mocked up their own uniforms and just played for the sake of playing.   My son Anthony played on a team with a bunch of friends.

I hope this tournament happens again.  The cause is just, the inspiration is strong and the leadership is solid.

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