For the second time in as many weeks, eight soccer teams, comprised of IBEW 1245 Line Clearance Tree Trimmers from across the northern area, hit the field to show off their skills and compete at the Tree Trimmers Soccer Tournament in Fairfield. The event has become so popular that the union now hosts two separate tournaments, one for southern area members (which took place in Ripon in late April) and the Fairfield event for northern area members.
The competition was stiff, but the comraderie was what made the day truly special.
“I came today to support my team, and support where I work,” said David Ramirez, who just recently hired on at Synergy in Grass Valley. Ramirez brought his family, including his girlfriend and his one-year-old daughter, along with him to the event. “I like that the union is bringing everyone together to have a good time.”
Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell welcomed the futbolistas by sharing a bit about his own background with the United Farmworkers movement. Speaking in Spanish, he noted that both the Farmworkers and Local 1245 serve two roles — as “un sindicato y tambien una causa” (a labor union and also a cause). He thanked the tree trimmers for their role in the union and noted that the soccer event, now in its sixth year, has gotten more exciting and popular with each passing year.
“My favorite part is… well, everything!” said Alfredo Garcia, a long-time tree trimmer who works for Davey Tree in Concord. “I most enjoy getting to meet other [members] from other places, making new friends. It’s really nice.”
Many of the members came to have a good time with their families and their union brothers, while others joined the tournament simply because they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play and watch futbol.
Omar Yepez, who works for Wright Tree Service in Sacramento, has been to nearly every tournament since the union began holding them six years ago, and is clearly a huge fan of the game. The smile on his face said it all.
“I love soccer! I love to play,” said Yepez, who brought along his wife and three children. “Tambien, me gusta la camaradería [I also like the comraderie]. It’s really good.”
Nearly every futbolista brought some family and friends out to cheer them on. While the tree trimmers competed on the field, the kids played along the sidelines and enjoyed taking whacks at the piñata (and scrambling to collect the sweet treats that rained down).
Laughter and smiles abounded as the players and their families enjoyed a tasty lunch of grilled chicken (prepared by a team of Local 1245 staffers), along with rice, beans, salsa and chips. The competition came to a head in the early afternoon, and the Davey Tree teams proved to be unstoppable. The Davey Tree-Santa Rosa/Sebastopol team (in yellow) won the Gold Medal, and the Davey Tree- Napa team (in purple) won the Silver bracket.