Inspired by Thing 1 and 2 from Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat,” wearing light blue, fuzzy wigs and light blue and red tutus over their black uniforms, players from Challenge FC Ahwatukee 07 Blue were jumping around, all laughs and giggles, as they made their way to the procession line.
And Challenge FC wasn’t the only Thing running around the field. Some other teams also dressed as Thing 1 and 2, surrounded by a sea of various themes, which also included Minions, Trojans, and superheroes, among others. The parade kicked off the 28th annual Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout at the Kino Sports Complex.
Although the Challenge FC team has participated in the shootout since 2016, this was the first year the team took part in the parade. Coach Marcel Abarca said that the last two years the team was scheduled to take part in the soccer Olympics on Saturday, so it didn’t attend any of the events on Friday.
But now that the team is older and that schedules have been moved around, they were able to walk among the other teams in front of their family members and friends.
“I’m excited to see what everyone is like,” said 10-year-old Lyndell Tanner, who plays right back with Challenge FC. “I’m hoping our team will win something.”
Besides the parade, Friday night’s festivities included the Spirit Cup, soccer Olympics and fireworks. Teams, family and friends walked from one field to another to take part in all the different events.
Participants said they hoped the weather wouldn’t be an issue like last year, when multiple games and events were rained out. Brian Salazar, head coach of the Renegades Guanajuato of Tucson U12 and U13 boys, said he and his team enjoy coming to the tournament every year, but hopes the weather doesn’t cut their weekend short.
“Hopefully everyone enjoys themselves and hopefully we can get some wins,” Salazar said.