EL CENTRO — Competition was intense at McGee Park Saturday during a marathon flag football tournament fundraiser hosted by Decanon Financial Services. Organized by Daniel Flores, a partner at Decanon Financial, the event raised over $1,000 to benefit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the Imperial Valley Humane Society, and One Valley Against Bullies.
The tournament kicked off at 9 a.m. and ran through late afternoon with six teams facing off in a double elimination, eight-on-eight tournament that was highly competitive, yet family-friendly.
Flores decided to put on the event after becoming aware of the work that CASA does for children. He partnered with his friend Jose Beltran, who volunteers by teaching children in boxing.
“I’ve always been someone who gives to charity,” Flores said. “When I saw what CASA does, I decided to help out.”
“They’re a lot of competitive teams here,” added Beltran. “Everyone loves football, so we decided to start with this. We’re also trying to raise bully awareness, as it does happen in the Valley,” he said.
The tournament hosted a mix of teams, including friends who got together just for this competition as well as organized groups that play flag football competitively.
One team, the Red Dogs, has been an organized flag football team in the Imperial Valley for 21 years. The team competes in almost all flag football tournaments around the Valley, and is currently comprised of mostly 20-21 year olds, many of whom are the sons of original Red Dogs team members.
One player, Sergio Osuna, 46, is a current player who has competed on the team for 21 years, since its inception. His son, Sergio Demarco Osuna, is now the captain of the team and the father-son duo enjoy playing together.
“Our first game as the Red Dogs took place the day my son was born,” Osuna said. “Now I’m playing with the ‘little’ Red Dogs.”
“We’re all about family,” he said.
The team winning the tournament was the organized Kryptonite team that plays competitively in a league called Master Flags in Mexicali. The team consists of former athletes who are self-motivated to practice on the weekends, according to David Hernandez.
Hernandez said he has played on the team for the past three years. Although the Kryptonite team enjoys playing in a “really good league” in Mexicali, they would like to see the Imperial Valley open up a league, he said.
“I think you would find a lot of people would be interested and it would be very popular down here,” said Hernandez.
Kryptonite is sponsored by Clinicas de Salud, and their patriotic jerseys display the USA flag, just to have a little fun and show off where they’re from when playing in the Mexicali league.
The team not only won this tournament, but soon hopes to compete in the championship game in their own league.
Flores and Beltran said they plan to continue their altruistic efforts by putting on other seasonal events to benefit organizations in the Valley.
“This went really well,” Beltran said.
“We’re going to keep this going,” Flores said.
More information regarding upcoming events can be found on Flores’ business page, at decanonfinancial.com