This year’s July 4th tournament was a blissful one. It was as if the weather gods themselves sprinkled magic with a ten minute stint of rain to produce to the Hmong people one of the best weathers the Hmong July 4th tournament has ever had since I could remember.
The ambiance in this congregation amongst the tens of thousands of Hmongs participating as spectators, vendors, athletes, and organizers were having the most joyous time during this festive event.
The panoramic view from the upslope hill filled with food vendors overlooking the full field were amassed with a masking of something similar to the expanse of miniatures on a faux battlefield.
The main events included the ever popular soccer tournament, volleyball, and the greatest Hmong Flag Football tournament in the nation. These events are held esteemed as the international cups of all Hmong tournaments around the world, and this tournament is the biggest of its kind.
While the youth of the Hmong has trended towards the infectious fad of Hmong Flag Football, on the other side of the spectrum the old are hard to tamper with and old school in their habitual ways of keeping to the original of all the other featured sports, soccer.
I remembered as a youth, at the pubescent age of fourteen, playing Flag Football in Fresno, California, the birthplace of where organized Hmong Flag Football started. Flag football became an instant hit among the Hmong teen crowd, a very contagious one as this phenomenon would soon spread towards the Midwest in the early 2000. Unlike the sport you see today the primitive sport of Hmong Flag Football in the days of my era were with plain white tees, a number in the back, and a team name scribbled in front of the tees with a permanent marker for differentiating the two teams on the field.
This began the story of Rebels with their other known alias notable name as Caub Fab, both to be synonymous as one, not interchangeable. This is where their legacy began, and the building foundations as the predecessor of the famed group we know now as Lights Out. Their journey from a thousand plus miles from the dinky town of Fresno, California to the State Capitol of Minnesota, St. Paul, to conquer and bring back the throne of what many Hmong Flag Football enthusiasts considered as the “Big Dance” trophy back to their hometown of Fresno, California.
It was an arduous mission competing against 34 teams in all. Some of the best teams from around the nation came out to compete this year in teams such as X-Conz, Lights Out, IDK, Bombsquad, Warriors, Midcoast, Red Rum, Team Fresno, and Black Venom.
There were plentiful teams competing, but only one can become the victor at the end, as only the strongest will survive.
It all came down to IDK versus X-Conz in the semi-finals before playing against Lights Out who swiftly without a sweat took out all their challengers in its bracket without any complication. IDK and X-Conz has met numerous times on the battlefield during local tournaments only to split 1st place or only to outshine their adversary during a close brawl on the field. X-Conz needing to make a statement that they’re not to be contested in Minnesota began their attack against IDK scoring three touchdowns, without converting any extra points, ending the game score at 18-0, in addition to advancing to the finals to play against Lights Out for the coveted title as the best Hmong Flag Football team in 2009.
The Finals: X-Conz versus Lights Out
The fortified walls thickened with a meshed of flag football enthusiasts of 3-5 people thickness that only allowed a taller stature individual to peer from atop without any problems, but for us shorter stature individuals was a matter of aggressively squeezing through the crowd.
The game started like any other game against Lights Out. Just like their indomitable march to the top seat they scored at ease with two touchdowns, in addition to scoring the two conversions uncontested, 14-0. It seems as though the final game was going to be a cake walk through X-Conz, the inevitable conclusion that had conquered all the other teams who’s competed against Lights Out this year. With the last half nearing to an end X-Conz played their hearts out in stopping, with their defense, and halting Lights out’s offensives to 4 and out. With X-Conz playing the offensive they started moving at ease scoring a passing touchdown at the end without converting the extra point with a score of 14-6. On the offensive again Lights Out ran their offense up the middle to the one yard line readied to score once more against X-Conz’s frailty defensive schemes. It seems that the end is near as the ball was tossed forward and only to be intercepted by an X-Conz player moving the ball upward towards the 10 yard line. With the last minute of the game X-Conz moved the ball swiftly in their passing game only to get to about the opponent’s 20 yard line with a close range in tying up the score if a touchdown was thrown into the mix with a 2 point conversion; which would ultimately mean a OVERTIME. Everyone was hollering X-Conz on one side while the other side was chanting Lights Out. The last play was a matter of a few seconds left on the game board and the quarterback of X-Conz hurled the football in the air spiraling overhead towards a staggering crowd of X-Conz and Lights Out. In the midst of both teams needing the victory all the players within that vicinity leaped for the ball, but only to be intercepted by one of the opposing member of a Lights Out player ending the final game at 14-6.
With the game ending the dispersal of the crowd dwindling down to only the media, friends, and relative congratulating the victorious team. This is the second consecutive year in a row that Lights Out dominated the Hmong July 4th Tournament amongst all the HFF teams.
Hmoodle staff came out and mingled with numerous vendors, support staff of organizers, and proudly sees that this year was another successful one. Once again, we would like to see that every out-of-towner gets home safely with the holiday rush hours, and we would love to see you again in the following 2010 festive Hmong 4th of July tournament.