When a handful of friends and I started the Sons of Lourdes Football Club sixteen years ago, we had really big plans for it. We wanted it to be a “real” club where we didn't only have kits and other game day essentials. We wanted it to have, first and foremost, simply a place where Lourdesians of any generation can converge, for the school teams to have a good football development programme, and to be able to field a competitive squad in whatever league or tournament that we decide to enter.
It took a lot of legwork and personal funds, of which we did not have much, to set the club up. It took a lot of sacrifices in terms of time and energy— and one might say, compromises in one's personal morality. We gave the club gave all of that. But things quickly turned against us. A couple of important people made it clear that they weren't for us— and they left us with no home and no real chance of turning our dreams into reality.
We gave up.
But our roots are deep and strong. Other groups would take charge and give the club a shot. They would also fail eventually but newer groups took their place. Much like a hydra, the club just kept keeping on and becoming stronger in the face of severe adversity.
Fifteen years on, we were finally back at home. The first time we got an invite to visit and to play at the Lourdes School of Mandaluyong field came in late 2018. And when it came, I couldn't help but feel some doubt about whatever motivation was behind such an invitation. But it was genuine. And looking back at it now, it can perhaps be the start of that golden age that, quite literally, generations of LSM footballers had been working towards.
The club's core is now in the hands of JC Santiago, who was in high school when we first started, and Dean Fabian, one of our younger brothers who was finishing college back at the time. It is they that we have to thank for the 2nd King of SOL football festival that happened last Saturday. Over the years, they have been working diligently to keep the club together, to keep each other connected, to keep our dreams alive.
It's fortunate that the current crop of school administrators have a vision that accommodates SOL FC's own. But now, it is up to us to make good on turning our own vision into reality. Not that the club is falling short on that area but it is indeed so exciting to talk about it.
Last Saturday's festival was contested by ten teams of at least ten players each. It was a closed-door affair, which means everyone that played is either a bonafide LSM alumnus or part of the present LSM community (students and faculty). In other words, everyone that stepped on that pitch to become a mud person for a day is part of SOL FC— no guests. And that means, from a twenty-something member club, we have grown to at least 100 players strong. And strong those players were!
It was such an amazing feeling to see all of us gathered in that makeshift dugout. It was so fulfilling to share lunch with all of those men and boys and kids. It was so gratifying to play with and against them. It's exciting to look forward from that day to whatever the core group thinks about next.
It was really so nice not just to be physically back home but to actually feel at home. The Franciscan brothers were there to support everyone, the teachers were there to cheer their students who joined, some of the guys brought their wife and kids, some alumni who couldn't play still came just to egg their friends on.
Many of us stayed on the field when it was raining hard. It gave us a feeling of such sweet nostalgia that perhaps only we will ever undertand. Thank God there wasn't any lightning. All in all, we were all happy.
Thank you; Joseph Tutanes, Adrian Guillermo, Ron Guerrero, JC, Dean and everybody else who held our club's torch when Kinky, Bart, and I couldn't any more. Thank you for keeping on and staying true. Let's do this again!