Friday, September 22, 2023

From Carranque to Los Manantiales: “The Dream of Neverland”

A new day dawns on the shores of the Sierra de Mijas, and under the watchful eye of Mount Jabalcuza, the most populous municipality in the Guadalhorce region as it is Alhaurin de la Torrelooks radiant in the early stages of summer.

Its infinite hectares of fields cultivated with the care necessary for the best fruits of the mother earth to flourish, give color to a strictly ordered population and devoted to the care of its corners, which we can check along the many roundabouts that lead us We find ourselves in the tour of its cheerful and colorful streets.

This year, even more so, the town shines with greater splendor when the 50th anniversary of the foundation of one of its oldest clubs in the region, the Alhaurin de la Torre Club of Soccerwhich, under the baton of its president Francisco BernalAntonello who runs the famous Italian Frascatti Pizzeria in Guadalmar, the rest of the members of the Board of Directors and above all the invaluable collaboration of our beloved Maria Teresa Ortizcharming person where there are, they have carefully taken care of all the details to celebrate the ‘Golden Weddings’ as the Alhaurina institution deserves.

The province of Málaga offers a wide range of clubs capable of training future stars, but, when it comes to love at first sight, upon stepping on the Club’s headquarters located in the Los Manantiales Stadium-the temple where two of the greatest Legends that the capital of the Costa del Sol has given, such as Apoño and Edu Ramos, give the last blows to their sports careers-, and seeing that eternal smile that Tere gave off and the affection that he showed from the first moment with David, I instantly knew that this was the perfect place for our offspring to begin to take his first steps at just 5 years old in the world of soccer.

We place the epicenter of this story on Avenida del Mar Cantábrico, where there is a small and charming football stadium called “Carranque”, headquarters of the ATCF branch, although I pay homage to the greatest player of all time, Alfredo Di Stéfano, I call it “The Factory”, more specifically, “Dream Factory”since it is there where our particular Disneyland of local soccer makes all its sense for the forging of future soccer stars.

David, player of the Bebé team of Alhaurín de la Torre. The opinion

It was, specifically, at the end of last August when we first set foot in that magical place. No less than 100 children and under the baton of our dear and incombustible Antonio Arcos –an emblem of the Club at 73 years of age–, who was in charge of distributing them with the different coaches who remained attentive to their orders, populated the lawn of our new house. Once the distribution was finished, the physical exercise began while David, in a panic at seeing so many children together, refused to enter the lawn. Those minutes of doubt were key to the subsequent development of his formation in the team, and it is that while everyone carried out their work with marked concentration, in the background of everything the sounds of noise could be heard. passionate screams from the only coach who practiced on the field. She gesticulated vehemently, screamed passionately and the boys followed her instructions to the letter with great devotion.

Antonio approached me and said, “You go in with the boy until little by little he adapts to the other boys…”, I almost didn’t let him finish speaking when I went like a man possessed towards that girl I was left with. captivated by the attraction capacity he had towards his players. Seeing the situation, he stopped the training for a moment and without hesitating for a moment, he went to David to talk to him. “What is your name? -David. Hi David, I’m Lorena, come with me…». What magic words would she say to him as they walked together towards the rest of the boys who David’s shyness would vanish instantly and without even realizing it, I was already running with the others. I calmly turned towards the stands when my mind began to go round and round about the resemblance of that girl to Tere and that is that the doubt was resolved instantly, since someone from the line and when discussing it with my wife would tell me: «Lorena She is Tere’s daughter…». Definitely, we had made the right choice!

The machinery was already running and those charming “dwarfs”, who barely rose a foot above the grass, began to kick the ball for the first time. The dream of “Neverland” -as if they were immersed in Peter Pan’s own dream-, had begun for the “Babies”: Gonzalo, Diego, Milan, Hugo, Iker, Antonio Campos, Cristian, Adri, Antonio Sáez, Manuel, José, Francis, Iago, Izan, Alberto and David.

start of the season

On October 21, 2022, the provincial Babies League championship was kicked off, with the boys visiting the fearsome court of the fly, in the popular neighborhood of El Palo. From that game I remember the lesson that the boys gave us parents as soon as the season began. While we adults were a little crestfallen from defeat, they with an infinite smile were very happy to have played a league game. And that’s how we all realized that winning or losing was not important, but rather enjoying and learning.

David, captain of the Alhaurín de la Torre Baby team. The opinion

After that lesson in maturity shown by our little ones, the second day would take place on October 30, receiving a visit from CD Campanillas in Carranque. Was the first victory of ours by 6-0, which was celebrated in style, but as in the previous day and with the lesson well learned, we knew how to enjoy it without taking into account the final score. On November 12 and exercising as locals, the second victory, this time 9-1 against La Cala, with an immeasurable performance by our great star Jose Alcántara, author of 5 goals, some of them authentic crack. Then the losses to AD Malaka and CD Carlindato return to the path of victory on December 17 against CD Romeral 7-0. That day was very special for David, since Lorena would give him the captain’s armband for the first time, which he wore with tremendous maturity despite being only 5 years old. He was able to perform as master of ceremonies to perfection and that day has been marked for his entire life as one of the happiest.

After the Christmas break, the boys returned with even more enthusiasm if possible. He had to visit the Campanillas CD facilities and on the occasion of David’s birthday, he would once again serve as captain. That game was the day I felt most proud of him since he knew how to act as a Leader like a true veteran. The team had won 0-6 and while they were all celebrating together in the family area, David noticed that the opposing goalkeeper was glued to one of the goal posts crying. He left his teammates in full celebration to address his rival and give him the appropriate comfort. She hugged him and caressed him tenderly, which made me shudder.

Apparently, that day nothing presaged what was going to happen for the following day, and that is that Lorraine After the usual Wednesday training, he gave us the sad news that he left the team due to orders received from above, to lead only the Prebenjamín team, which plunged us into deep sadness and uncertainty. Manu and Pablo took over from Lorena with great enthusiasm and on the right foot, since immersed in the month of February, a great victory away from home would come 4-1 against La Cala CD

Malaka would defeat us at home, giving way to a momentous match in the lfight for third position against CD Carlinda. And in one of the most complete matches of the season in the era of the new coaches, the boys were able to pull off an extraordinary 2-2 draw. The closing of the season was elucidated in Teatinos on March 24, in the field of CD El Romeral, where the boys obtained a great victory by 0-6.

Second half of season

During the season there were several breaks for the dispute of various tournaments and friendly matches, among which we highlight the tribute to Idaira, a much-loved girl from the popular neighborhood of La Luz, and held at the Conejito facilities, where our Babies after 3 big back-to-back victories, they got the runner-up after losing on penalties in the final. Once again, a lesson from the boys, since they knew how to spice it up by raising the runners-up trophy to the highest heaven without caring about the final position in the tournament. That cup made them the happiest children in the world.

But of all the matches held during the season, the one that had the greatest impact on David was the one played against one of Malaga’s leading teams, the Mortadelo CFwhere in an already legendary match for the history of the Alhaurino Babies and playing on the far right, an unforgettable performance would come together, with two goals to his credit, one of them from outside the area and from a cross shot, about which the rival goalkeeper could not do anything. A real goal. 9-1 against a gentleman team in an unforgettable afternoon for the kids.

The season would put its climax with the golden brooch after the Conquest of the “Andujar Oliver” Tournament held in El Ejido, where on this occasion, the amount of penalties would fall in favor of our team; and of course, the great party for the Club’s Golden Jubilee with a great celebration held at the Los Manantiales stadium, where the institution from Alhaur would recognize the work of all its players, from the Babies categories to the first team, with the delivery of a commemorative trophy of the act, extending the celebration until the wee hours of the morning.

And that is how the first year of our “little” great champions as members of the federation in the province of Malaga passed, where their magic and illusion captivated us and impregnated us with a happiness that we will keep very present with the passing of the years, for what we already we can say that famous phrase “distorted” of: “Colorín Colorado, this story is NOT over.” To be continue!…


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