They Don’t Call It Orange Beach For Nothing

We’ve been traveling to soccer tournaments for many years and if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that it has to be about more than wins and losses. Soccer is a beautiful but fickle mistress–one moment she’ll treat you like a king and in the next instant turn her back on you in the cruelest of ways. No, it’s got to be about fun, good food and the fellowship of a band of brothers who give their last full measure of effort on the field of battle, and come what may, stand or fall as one.

Of course, winning is also nice. And when everything goes your way, as it did this weekend with the Grissom Tigers winning the Island Cup Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama, you find yourself especially grateful. Grissom defeated a fine squad from Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma (ranked #3 in the nation in 2005) 1-0 in a hard fought final. The tournament started off with an 11-0 blowout of local favorite Foley (the game was mercifully called at halftime), and the Boys in Orange then went on to defeat two other tougher Alabama teams, Albertville and Cullman, both by 1-0 scores.

The final match saw a smaller, but skilled and tactically sound Grissom side facing off against the speed and bulk of the Okies from Tulsa (what do they put in the beef out there to grow boys that large?). It was a fast and physical rumble which saw both teams come up short on several good chances in the first half. Early in the second half, the Tigers drew first blood off a well-placed header taken off a corner kick. Union then picked up the pace and pressed hard but the Tiger defense held fast and fended off several dangerous attacks. We countered with some charges of our own, and were it not for some fine saves by an aggressive Union keeper, we could have very easily score two or three more.

When the dust settled, Grissom was the last team standing and the Island Cup Championship was ours. There’s still a long road ahead to the state championships in May, but a tournament championship and a win over a nationally ranked team is a great way to start down the path. In the meantime, Orange Beach is now a little oranger. In fact, now that the Tigers have blown through town, it could be said that they don’t call it Orange Beach for nothing.

  1. DJG

    So you beat our Bearcats? Congrats. I don’t know anyone on the team (or I would have had an excuse to go to the beach!)

  2. mike the eyeguy


    The Cullman Bearcats were fierce competition as we expected. They finished second in state last year and in fact won 5A state about 4 years ago. They have a good coach (we took a coaching course together a few years back) and he and his crew represented Cullman well.

    You should get to know someone on the team so you do have an excuse to come to the beach! We’ve already decided that we’re coming back next year to hang out on the beach and eat our fill of seafood, uh, I mean defend out title.

  3. DJG

    Sounds like a plan to me….any excuse to go to the beach!!

    So…are you in the orange photo?

  4. David U

    Sure glad we can beat the Okies in SOMETHING! We sure haven’t beaten them in football as of late.



  5. mike the eyeguy


    Sorry, just noticed your question. No, I’m behind the camera, not in the photo. Number One son is on the bottom row, second from the right.


    Perhaps not, but the Tide is rising. The basketball team has done an incredible job after losing their star player. The pundits have them playing Michigan in the first round at Greensboro. I hope they make it past the Wolverines so they’ll have the honor of falling to my Dookies!

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