“¡Viva el Fútbol!”
SHS’ Annual JAG CUP Palooza
It’s time for kick-off! Under a dyed sunset, the football field glistened with anticipation for the competitive action that was to commence.
On April 1st, Spanish Honor Society unleashed their yearly ‘World Cup’ tournament: Jag Cup. After a 2 year hiatus, the event was sure to shoot for success and delight the many who share a passion for soccer. To the surprise of many, the night proved to be a ruthless one as each team played their hearts out!
Scattered with a rainbow of bright and attractive jerseys, players lined the bleachers with enthusiasm, impatience, and a fiery spirit. Leading up to the start of the tournament the teams consistently fished for any advantage they could have above the others, particularly with time. As they say in sports, it’s better to have time on your side than on the sidelines.
As 6 o’ clock struck, SHS President Emily Martinez and Vice President Vanessa Garcia voiced into the microphones for the tournament to begin! Making their way onto the field each team was introduced with a song of their choice paired with their preferred team name. Opening the event was the leading “Senioritas”, followed by the Dream Team, Little Kittens, Sophomore Carries, Porvenators, Grown Ups, Jobros, Kirkland Water, Los Mafiosos, Steven Fitz Fan Club, Rubber Hearts and Vinny, and Blue Thunder.
By the time all the teams were set in position the announcer called for the first matches to start. To uphold the rules of the game, veteran soccer players were called to referee Jag Cup, including juniors Adam Abougendia, Christian Blanco, and Nicolas Velasco, as well as seniors and SHS members Lorenzo Muscarella and Daniel Valderrama.
With stakes as high as that of FIFA’s World Cup, players huddled around the centers of their field to strategize against their opponents. With chants coming from the bleachers on opposite ends, the tournament was gearing up for a competitive end to the first week after spring break.
As each round passed each player began to unleash their skills.
One of the highlights of the night was the Steven Fitz Fan Club whose all-star Steven Fitz-Henley carried the team to a number of victories. With his MVP-like performance, they had gained quite the attention as they battled teams who seemed to come with ‘field experience’.
To their credit, this made this year’s Jag Cup extra spontaneous and enjoyable as the teams on standby started to get exhilarated by the game being played on the field. What was even more impressive was the match between the ‘Grown Ups’ vs. ‘Senioritas’. With an intense start to the match it came down to the penalty kicks, leaving for a spicy ending. With PPCHS’ very own security guard Felix highlighting the ‘Grown Ups’ alongside teachers Mr. Garcia, Mr.Jablonka, Mr. Pierre, and Mr. Maye, this team was packing a punch, until their first-round exit…
By the time the finals were starting the sun had set and the audience began to grow more intimate as the night began to settle in. With an unexpected match beginning between the veteran-led ‘Senioritas’ and sophomore-led ‘Dream Team’ each team played the 10 minute round having something to prove. With ambition radiating off of each powerful kick, audience members on the sidelines gazed at the field in awe as the competition grew fierce. Things got a little too frisky to the point where the leading referee, Lorenzo, pulled a yellow and red card on Gabriel Diaz of the Senioritas! But, all was not lost as the ‘Seniorita’s’ closed out the night with a win and a title to go down in the history books.
As the organizers of this event, Emily and Vanessa had their creative and collaborative skills tested to the utmost degree. So, to effectively bring a fun-filled evening to both the audience and players, they had to get extra crafty in terms of the event’s setup. “This event was one of the hardest things I’ve had to plan given the various components that went into this event. However, as time went on we got the hang of it as we began to share our load with our amazing members,” senior Emily Martinez states.
The day of the event Vanessa and Emily shared a similar feeling with a mixture of nerves, excitement, and uncertainty for how successful they will be. “It honestly felt like Vanessa and I were running around without a brain cell [to spare]. But, without the help of administration, our SHS members, and other volunteers there is no way the event could have turned out as well as it did,” Emily shares.
One of the striking core memories of this year’s Jag Cup related to the crowning of the winners as it marked the end of a successful event. For Vanessa and Emily, it was rewarding seeing all the teams leaving the field with their bright smiles, even if they didn’t win the Jag Cup title.
Already looking ahead, Vanessa and Emily are looking to expand Jag Cup with a more ‘unique’ roster. “Next year it would be awesome to get more teachers to play. The teachers put up a great fight, even against the winning team! It was so sweet to watch them play as their students came out to see them,” Vanessa expresses.
After such a successful end to a comeback year for Spanish Honor Society, there is definitely much to look forward to next year. So, it’s time to gear up and play up your anticipation for next year’s Jag Cup, as it will be like no other!