Ten years ago some friends and I were having dinner after coaching a kids tournament all day in Fayetteville, AR. These girls and I were part of a traveling women's team that enjoyed playing in adult tournaments, mainly in Texas and Oklahoma. The conversation steered towards the direction of "why don't we have our own tournament" and eventually "Tree… why don't you do it?". I was at a point in my life where this wasn't such an outrageous thought, and from that conversation the Melinda Marie Evans Kick for the Cure was born.
It seems like yesterday that I was feeling my way around trying to organize and direct a tournament with absolutely zero experience. Thanks to the guidance of some friends in our "soccer world", and some very generous people, we were able to somehow scrape together our first tournament with 21 adult teams. Of course, mother nature wouldn't have anything easy, and an enormous thunderstorm flooded the fields the night before our first day. Luckily, this was before the city really regulated the use of the fields, and the park director allowed us to play. We had so much fun slopping around and playing in the mud like little kids… it was a memorable event.
The next year, with the help of the UCA women's team, we added a college division and the rest is history. It doubled the size of the tournament and added a whole other atmosphere of soccer for families to watch and enjoy.
I am sad to say that after ten years of organizing this event that I am no longer doing it. A decade seemed like a good time to cut it off, and it never got quite the pull from the adult side that I wish it had. I have a full time teaching/coaching job that I love and takes an enormous amount of time as it is. I believe that eventually our adult organization, ARCSA, will be doing a tournament of its own, sometime in the near future.
I want to thank EVERYONE that has been involved from the start to finish (you know who you are!). Due to your generosity and willingness to volunteer your time, donate money, etc, we have raised about $150,000 over the last ten years for breast cancer research. It is human nature to always want to do more, I just hope that this particular event has been a bright spot to some of you and that you continue to play, coach, referee, or just volunteer your talents to the beautiful game.