Battle for the Parkas


On December 27, 2021 the Eagle soccer team was having a regular practice when some astonishing news was heard. Coach Kenny Martin announced that there would be a bowling tournament during their tournament trip in Dallas. Now of course this wasn’t just a normal tournament, because bowling might be fun but maybe not for a bunch of tired soccer player. Instead, what made this tournament different was the prize, something that all soccer players wish for, their parka. 

“I was ecstatic when I first heard we would be able to compete for our parkas since it would be so nice if we could keep them especially since they are too drippy” Emon Malek ’23 said. 

The way the tournament worked was simple, four person teams, one game of warmup, one real game, and all aiming to get the highest team average overall. It couldn’t seem simpler and many players thought their dream would come true. There was a catch though, and that was that only four or five people would get their parkas, if and only if, they could beat the Coaches. This would be a daunting trial as many soccer players would soon figure out that Assistant Coach Moore used to play league bowling back in the old days. 

At first, it seemed possible. The Soccer team was proving to be as good with their hands as they were with their feet scoring high numbers in the warmup rounds. Blake Keller ’23, Mambo Tello ’26, Evan Crosswaitt ’22, and several more easily broke the 100 mark in their warmup round while the Coaches were struggling to rack up heavy points. All seemed loss for the Coaches, but the battle was on. The real bowling game proved to be successful for almost every soccer player bowling team with each almost having an average of greater than 100 points. Things looked promising too as each Coach was struggling to put points on the board. 

In the end, the coaches came on top. They knocked out the soccer player’s highest team average of 104.2-point average with a mind blowing 117-point average. None of the soccer players could believe it as they simply left the Coaches at the bowling lanes to go play laser tag with high hope, they would be rocking a parka out of season. 

“The bowling tournament was something Coach Martin and I talked about to give the boys something competitive to do during the slow time. However, we as the coaching staff were not going to let them win” said Coach Moore. 

As grief rolled over the St. Thomas soccer players and the dreams of having a parka were crushed, Soccer Captain Ruben Vara ’22 was joyful. Not all hope was lost since there was another chance to win a parka in this tournament. It was the impossible clause though and since no one thought it was possible, because Coach Moore proved to be amazing at bowling, they all put their hope in the team average. This small silver lining was that whoever had the highest score overall would win a parka, and the veteran Captain Ruben Vara ’22 took that glory for himself.

“My nearly perfect game that night was something that not even I could have guessed would happen. I had only been bowling maybe three times in my life prior to that night. With the parka on the line, God led my hand and I bowled as if I went every weekend” Ruben Vara ’22 said. 

 Ruben came out with a high overall score of 159 points only to be almost matched by the senior Evan Crosswaitt ‘22 with 156 points. Although the difference was only by three points, the three points was the difference between an impossible award and nothing. In the end though, props need to be given to Evan Crosswaitt ’22 as third place was nearly 30 points behind.

Overall, every soccer player had a great time. Many would say that it could have been the highlight of the tournament if it wasn’t for them taking home the tournament championship trophy. All being said, many players hope this becomes a tradition since the St. Thomas soccer parkas are truly amazing. The players will need a couple bowling lessons though if they really want to keep up with the Coaches. 

“It was one of the most exciting, yet competitive parts of the Fort Worth trip. Knowing I had to chance to take home a $250 parka, I gave it everything I had” Thomas Pham ’23 said.