On Saturday morning I was privileged to witness the under 10’s of Portmany Football Club of San Antonio beat Real Mallorca 3-2 to complete the treble and become the Balearic Champions for the 2nd time in 3 years.
It was a very proud moment for the trainers and families especially beating Mallorca’s leading youth team in their own backyard, a team that hadn’t lost for 30 matches. It wasn’t luck or a fluke either, it was a great performance by a team that has been together as a unit for 5 years. As a football mad parent (who tries not to live his life through his children) it doesn’t get much better.
It was made all the more sweeter by the fact that the Balearic football association had scheduled the match to start at 10.15am. So whilst the Real Mallorca team woke up in their own beds and had breakfast as normal, the 9 and 10 year olds from San Antonio had to get up at 5.30am with their passports to catch a 30 minute flights and then had to wait for 25 minutes at Palma airport whilst the team bus was ‘delayed’ en route.
Arriving at the ground 35 minutes before kick isn’t ideal however as the score line would later show maybe it worked in our favour, taking minds off the game. Maybe it was a conspiracy or maybe it was just poor planning from an association that is so Mallorca-centric that they have no concept of a 4 hour early morning dash to a match that lasts 48 minutes.
I have to admit I was scratching my head trying not to get annoyed as it’s the biggest day in the Balearic youth football calendar but why didn’t the game kick off at 12pm and why don’t they alternate the finals day between the different Balearic Islands rather than just play in Mallorca?
As it turned out it made the final result even better, an away win is always nice and you got the impression that the Real Mallorca supporters thought they just had to turn up (although most were graceful in defeat, something the RCD Mallorca senior side has had to get used to this season). It wasn’t their day and as their young kids left the pitch close to tears and Portmany celebrated you were reminded of the small margins in sport and why it’s such a positive influence for youngsters growing up.
Teamwork, friendship, humility, discipline, work ethic, exercise, fitness, learning how to lose as well as win…..the list goes on.
As a parent I was honoured to be there and celebrate as a team, these days don’t come round very often so have to be savoured. Fortunately this time the result went in our favour but like many things in Balearic life it would have been nice if the cards had been stacked a little more evenly.