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Friday, April 18, 2014

Monsoon can't stop huge turnout for DC SCORES Alumni Soccer Tournament

Written by Kara Dunford
Communications Intern

(Alumni Tournament photo album).

This Tuesday, dozens of eager soccer players took the field at Tubman Elementary School, paying little attention to the dark clouds looming overhead. Instead, their focus remained on gearing up for a day of friendly competition at the 4th Annual DC SCORES Alumni Tournament.

When I left the DC SCORES office in the morning to head to the tournament, I wasn’t exactly expecting a large turnout. Sure, Mother Nature was offering a respite from the rain that had started overnight, but the forecast was bleak.

Boy, did the DC SCORES alumni prove me wrong.

When I arrived, the field was already packed with high school students decked out in their new DC SCORES alumni T-shirts catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and warming up to play.

DC SCORES alumnus Nana A. said the beauty of the alumni tournament lies in the people involved.

“The alumni tournament brings together old team players from different schools around the DC area. We’re here to have fun and enjoy,” Nana said, adding that he looks forward to seeing familiar faces he hasn’t seen in a while.

The action on the field soon picked up, and the wind and the rain followed suit. The 6-on-6 play continued on, with the players demonstrating unbelievable levels of commitment.

Tents had to be held down and umbrellas were of little use, but, incredibly, the enthusiasm of staff members and alumni alike remained high.

As bursts of heavy rain came and went, we huddled under tents attempting (perhaps in vain) to stay somewhat dry. No one complained, instead taking the opportunity to joke and catch up with fellow attendees. As soon as the rain slowed down, teams excitedly hit the field once again. Eventually, however, the rain became just a bit too wild and the tournament was called, with hopes for a rescheduled date soon.

As I made my way back to the office, clothes and sneakers soaked through, I reflected on the crazy day. It was certainly one of the best examples I’ve encountered during my time with DC SCORES of the immense and unyielding passion all involved have for the organization.

The day was a celebration of the impact DC SCORES had on the tournament’s participants, as well as a beautiful reminder of the power soccer has to form and strengthen bonds between teammates. If staff members didn’t truly believe in this impact, in this power, and in the mission of their employer, I have little doubt they would have avoided hours spent outside in highly adverse weather.

But instead, during what could only be appropriately described as a monsoon, I saw staff members go out of their way to provide the best possible experience for those in attendance, regardless of the elements. Whether that meant manning the grill, ensuring tents didn’t blow away, cheering on players, or attending to the numerous other details of the day, they did it all with a smile.

While chatting with DC SCORES alumna Ana G., I was provided with another example of all we were celebrating during the tournament.

“I started DC SCORES in third grade. Now, I volunteer, referee, and coach. It’s been an awesome experience,” she said. “It’s made me more confident. DC SCORES was a good start for me. The coaches pushed me to be better.”

Hopefully, the next time DC SCORES alumni gather on the soccer field, they can leave the umbrellas at home. But even if the rain comes, I know the dedication of the staff and the alumni will still shine through.

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