Luck of the Irish on St. Patricks Day
Day #488 Hike #549 * New Track #488
Saturday March 17, 2012
Soccer Fields at James Workman Middle School - Cathedral City, California
My Tripometer: 7 hours * 3 Miles * +50 Feet
Snow dusting over the range above Palm Springs
From the 10 Freeway, head out to the desert past Palm Springs and take exit number 126 Date Palm Drive. Turn right for about a mile and a half and then turn left on 30th Ave. About a half mile down the soccer fields will be on the left.
Alyssa chests the ball in the first game - Jordan like airtime :)
Welcome to the State Cup for the AYSO Extra U-11 Division. The Ventura Mighty Vipers went 18-2-1 for the season and playoffs and beat Quartz Hill in the League Championship Game to earn their right to enter this prestigious tournament of four; The Final Four! Coach Matt tallied 55 Goals and double digit assists for the 21 game season. Unbelievable! Averaging nearly a Hat Trick a game!!!
In their first game, the Vipers took on a stubborn Laguna Hills squad. It was a pretty even battle but with same nice saves from Aalyiah, our goalie, the Vipers shut out Laguna Hills 2-0. Alyssa earned an assist to Sofia for the second and clinching goal. The mood was set by Meagan, our shortest girl, in the first quarter when she struck the ball to score her first goal of the year (she may have had one many months ago). Meagan plays tough for being so short. She is well skilled with the ball it is was no surprise that she scored.
Hiking in the sands beyond the fields
After the game, the other Semi Final game took place. Quartz Hill won the Wildcard and faced off against Mission Viejo. This was a grueling match up and we watched every moment of the action. At the end of regulation, the game was tied 1-1. They then played two 7-minute overtime periods but there was no change in the score. Finally, the game went to a Shoot Out and Quartz Hill prevailed by blocking some key shots and hitting theirs. Thus, the stage is set: Quartz Hill with a nearly flawless record of 21-1 (the one loss to the Vipers) will seek vengeance against Ventura in the final State Championship Game!
There would be a multi hour delay between games so I took the opportunity to explore the open space. The sand beyond the fields was thick, thus hiking was not much fun. The weather was perfect but you could tell that the "deadly" winter storm was quickly approaching. We drove through and beat out the rains at 4am when we left Ventura. Finally, when the whistle blew, the rain began...
Vipers versus Quartz Hill - Before the game
The Vipers first played Quartz Hill a year ago during the Palm Springs Tournament. That day, the winds were steady at 30mph and gusts reached 60mph. It was a crazy cold sideways rain. With temperatures hovering just above 30 degrees, the Vipers lost this match up and ended up placing 3rd in the tournament. They played approximately 10 tournaments last year before the Extra Season began and the Vipers won more than half and only finished 3rd once and never finished worse than 4th, and that game went to Shoot Outs.
Quartz Hill stunned the Vipers in the regular season and went undefeated for the entire year. All year we have been building and waiting for a chance to rematch in the Championship Game. This was last month and Alyssa scored 2 goals and sucked the will out of Quartz Hill. Vipers won 2-0. But now, Quartz Hill wants to set the record right.
In the first quarter, the rain started coming down and the temperature dropped. Quartz Hill took the early lead. The girls were playing so hard but Quartz Hill seemed to have the edge. On a broken play, Alyssa raced to the ball and met Quartz Hill's tallest player. At full speed, the struck the ball at the same time. The thump could be heard like a thunder echo. Alyssa lost her footing and fell back. The hard ground had no give way and Alyssa came down on hand with her arm stretched fully back. She immediately bounced up but right then we all knew. She screamed, "my arm!" Her arm was completely broken and mangled. Her hand and forearm were hanging at a 90 degree angle midway down from her elbow. I will never forget the site of that. I have it on video but I do not know if I'm ever going to make the video. I need time for this. Feeling so helpless, my little girl never realized that she could be injured. She played with so much courage, heart and will. She always gave it her all and it all snapped in front of my eyes.
Fortunately, we have doctors and nurses on our team. Dr. Ira helped support the arm by making a splint using an old shin guard. The paramedics finally came and took her away. Just before we left, they resumed play. The girls were all crying and coach wanted the game stopped, but they fought on. Sofia took matters into her own hands and proved her toughness by scoring a huge goal to even up the score. Play continued and Hailey had a chance to take the lead. She went for the ball but her cleat nailed the Quartz Hill goalie in the face. Finally, the first quarter ended in a 1-1 tie and I was on my way to the hospital.
About a half hour after we arrived, the Quartz Hill Goalie showed up at the hospital with a concussion. Proof of just how brutal this game was. This was no disadvantage for Quartz Hill because they had another Goalie who they would have used anyway for the rest of the game including shoot outs.
From the hospital, we received updates on the game and the drama continued into overtime. The rain was coming down harder and the Vipers played their best defense ever. No one could score, but then the game went to a shoot out. We all feared this scenario because we have all seen how good Quartz Hill's star goalie was. She could jump and block shots that would otherwise go in high. The only and best chance to score is to kick low and angled in the corner. You just hope she doesn't guess right.
Miraculously, all the Viper Players scored and Quartz Hill missed some shots, made a couple too, but Hailey batted a key ball away to help propel the Vipers to the win. The Mighty Vipers Win. They Win! Unbelievable...
But the thrill for us was subsided due to Alyssa. It was St. Pattys Day and the waiting room and ER were overfilled. Two kids next to Alyssa ages 6 and 10 were in a car accident. One of them was on life support and the mom was rushed to another hospital. The family was there and an unfortunate decision had to be made. There was another guy with a knife stuck in his eye, and the drama continued. Alyssa's attention kept getting pushed back. Finally, after 7 hours, they put her to sleep and tried to reset her arm. They couldn't do it though. The Dr's exclaimed that they didn't have the right tools for kids so they did the best that they could. We left the hospital at about 10pm with a girl who was still all mangled up.
If you are ever in Palm Springs and need to go to the hospital, if the ambulance driver says he's taking you to Desert Community, word of advise, say take me somewhere else! This story will be continued, and still will the day. Believe it or not, I stretched in a couple of hikes in the rain while Alyssa was in the ER. Ayden was not allowed in the ER area so I couldn't very well keep him in a waiting room for 10 hours...