Flag football is now more prominent in the Hmong tournaments than its earlier successor, soccer. Hmong teams travels from all corners of the nation to join together in an all out melee to distinguish who is the best during what is known to us as the 4th of July tournament.
With the July 4th Hmong tournament approaching, I sat down and had a one on one with a long time friend, Fong Vang aka Rabbit no. 00, who is a member of the team X-Conz. Fong is a multi-talented player with X-Conz and plays several positions from tight-end, quarterback and safety.
From a series of questions, I sought out the mind of this player to catch a glimpse of his thoughts of trying to bring the title back to Minnesota and some Q&A about his team, X-Conz.
Jerry: With the Midwest crews being outwitted by Sanstorm from San Diego, California 2 years in a row, I would like to inquire about your plans this year on defeating this team. Firstly, I would like to know how are you guys preparing for battle this year versus the year before?
X-Conz: First off, you’ve got to give it up to Sanstorms, the defending champs, but as you know all champs sooner or later are capable of losing. This year’s goal is to be triumphant and to get the title back to Minnesota where it belongs. In order to do this we have to work harder and practice harder. Our weekly Sunday practice is mandated for every member to show up but sometimes it’s understandable that some individuals aren’t able to make it through.
Jerry: IDK is this year’s preliminary owner of the title of “champ” in Dakota County’s Hmong competition, what was your thought about the event that day?
X-Conz: A lot of the referees that day were IDK players and it seems that they were showing a lot of favoritism towards their own colleagues. Not to call them cheating, but calls were coming their way and we eventually lost at the end. One of the primary down fall in this event is that staffing wasn’t up to par and what I mean is that the event had individual members from all teams to alternate as referees. You know this gets a little bias when you know one team better than the other team, judgment calls for penalties in the game becomes one sided.
Jerry: The name X-Conz is pretty unique; could I ask who initially came up with the name X-Conz and why the team decided to keep it?
X-Conz: One of our team associate named Cheeto came up with the name. It was back in 2001, our 1st ever appearance as a team in the Eau Claire, WI flag football tournament. We initially thought of Rebels but not everyone agreed to the idea. All of a sudden Cheeto yelled out, “X-Conz”. And that was that.
X-Conz: We came from a different era in time where we’re all now reforming to make a difference in the community. This is also a way to express ourselves instead of being out there on the streets and so the name came about due to leaving our past behind us.
Jerry: Is there a team captain or a regulator that keeps the unity between team members when there is conflicting ideas amongst each other?
X-Conz: Junior and Freeway keeps the team united.
Jerry: Who do you see as your greatest threat in this year’s competition and why?
X-Conz: I don’t see any individual team as a threat. It’s our own team that gives us the threat of losing because sometimes everyone wants to be a star and it doesn’t work that way. If we unite and play as one, we’re unstoppable. Plus you can’t underestimate any individual team out there, from big-name teams to no-name teams, it sounds a little cliché but “It’s any given Sunday.”
Jerry: How many members comprise of this team?
X-Conz: 35-40 members, hard to count because people come and goes all the time, but when it comes to game time everyone wants to play and sometimes it gets a little frustrating but that’s a topic on it’s own.
Jerry: Could you elaborate on this topic?
X-Conz: Sometimes some members don’t show up to team practices and when it comes to game time everyone shows up wanting to play. All I’m saying is that if we could get every individual on the team to show and practice our weekly routines, everyone would be up to speed on game day.
Jerry: What position(s) gives your team the advantage over other competitors in this sport?
X-Conz: Our defense is second to none, though, we have a great offense it’s our defense that wins game for us.
Jerry: Why do you believe your team is superior to other teams? Is it the chemistry with teammates playing over the years together?
X-Conz: Going back to the 1st answer, we play hard and aggressive. Plus we have years of experience playing together, versus these newer teams that are just forming together now. I think intimidation plays a factor in the mental part of the game for other teams because our team has been out there and we’ve done it over the years and people know who we are.
This sport is impacting the tournament realm by surprise since its initial introduction back in 2000. Flag football has become the “numero uno” when it comes to the volume in team and participation, plus audience and crowd expectations. This sport is still gaining it’s recognition and still in its infancy stage, soon to blow up in exponential proportions with the youth of the Hmong Community. I hope it stays this way for the future to come.
I’ve got to give it up to Fong aka Rabbit of the X-Conz crew and to X-conz as a whole in being a leader in the sport today. I see a bright future for the team and hopefully with will and determination this team or other teams in Minnesota could bring the title back to us, where it belongs. It has been almost a year and the forthcoming of the event will be just around the corner. If you haven’t had a chance to see them in action, go out there, you won’t be disappointed.
Shout out to all the crews in the sport, there will be more to come and should you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected]