My thoughts on what happened to my favorite team..
I heard about it months ago, no confirmations, no denials, a random free floating idea that I did not indulge.
I heard the same rumor again weeks ago, a vague uncertainty [redundant eh?], then the boys were asked to renew their contracts, they were somehow reassured that the rumor is untrue.
Then I got a startling message about the story in Bleachers' Brew. The club was sold and the biggest question came from the boys about the security of their position. New team owner, new management, new coaching staff and yes, a possible new line up. It did not take overnight to get confirmation of a new line up. A handful of the original line up is supposedly to be retained with the fate of the other half to be known soon.
I'm a noob football fan, and most of the stuff I know comes from within the team. I followed the team since they set foot here in Bacolod as part of their PFF Smart Club Championship preparation. Apart from the team composition was mainly from the Ceres-NOFA team, the coaching staff led by Coach Nonoy Fegidero, the story behind the team and how it came to be Pachanga FC was something that kept me interested and supportive of the team. Their run during the UFL Cup was very impressive, although their defeat against Global FC left me, and my friends, depressed for a week, but their impeccable finish last season wiped those tears dry and turned them into smiles with their near-perfect record. Something that, as a fan, I was truly very proud of.
I came to watch the games live twice, and they never failed to amaze me inside and outside the pitch. The team made me wonder how they jelled and matched up so well despite the diversity of the team.
And they treated their followers well. We always got a “thank you” every time we congratulated them for a well fought battle. They welcomed us at their place for post-game chatting and celebration. They made the fans feel as if we were a part of the team. There weren’t many of us but we made noise for Pachanga FC, in the stands and social media.
With the team's promotion to Division One, everyone was excited how they would match up with the top teams. There's one game which I personally would like to witness, following this statement posted somewhere after Pachanga was eliminated from the cup, "We didn't just eliminate Pachanga FC from the UFL Cup, we also killed their dream in the UFL league. Pachanga never beat us, they never did, and they will never will" ]. I would also like to see how they will match up with Stallion FC, they met in Iloilo for the PFF Smart Club Tournament last year, another time at the Cup since they were "group of death" with Global FC, and Cebu Queen City United, and that game will be the Visayas Regional Derby.
Yet, I might not see these games the way I have imagined them to be anymore. With Pachanga FC's rebirth to Pachanga Diliman FC, the boys who battled these teams before might not we there anymore, and for a fan who followed the ups and downs of a starting team, it has an anhedonic effect. Takes the fun out of being a fan.
As an overzealous fan, I cannot empathize enough to the sentiments of the former team members, coaching staff and management. I have met them a couple of times, and I can tell how hard they push themselves to the limit hoping to continue the excellent run of the team towards the short term goal, which was promotion to division one. They all went out of their way to make it happen for the team and those who support the team. The news was bad enough, and the timing, it's heartbreaking. The team would understand the family decision, most of them are working for their families too, but it might have been less shocking if the management, the staff and team members were briefed of the direction the club was going. I'm no management guru or something, just someone who tries her best at work. It is difficult to write this. It may just come out as a transliteration of my hiligaynon thoughts. Boys, I truly feel for you. All the hard work done, then another team benefits from it. No bueno.
Yet, there's still hope, as they say, it's not over until it's over. You are all good players, and there will always be a spot for you in a team, Coach Nonoy, Coach Marjo, Coach Alvin and Coach Kim did not train you just to succumb with one test. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger mates, you are a Red Phoenix, you will rise again!
To the players who retained their spots, make your teammates proud, continue to showcase what Pachanga FC honed you to be, the team may not be complete, but don't let the Phoenix in you die in vain. There might just be 7 [or 6, could be less] Red Phoenix left to continue playing for the name Pachanga FC I hope the team spirit never fades.
--- Rai M.