Small-town futbol goes big time

Liga Mexicana competition picks up as season draws to a close.

Don't bother asking Angel Oriz to strap on a pair of soccer cleats these days. His playing days are over -- at least for the time being. Oriz, 37, is far too busy coordinatÿing the Liga Mexicana to particiÿpate in games.

"It's very demanding," Oriz said. "During the season, it's like a full-time job."

Oriz, the league president, and his 5-man board of directors hanÿdle numerous phone calls, disciÿplinary hearings and scheduling conflicts on a weekly basis. With approximately 400 players on 19 teams, managing the Liga Mexicaÿna is definitely a group effort. Games run from April through September, and for many, it's the best show in town.

Comprised of teams from Hood River, The Dalles, White Salmon, Parkdale, Odell -- some from as far away as Vancouver, Wash. and Pasco, Wash. -- the league is flourishing. A regular-season game on a Sunday afternoon might draw up to 200 spectators. A playoff game such as this Sunÿday's championship match in Odell for the Titulo de Copa, a midseason tournament, could atÿtract as many as 600 fans.

"These events are big money-makers for our league," Oriz said. "We charge $1 per person, which helps us pay for referees, field maintenance and league costs."

Oriz said most of the spectators are family and friends of the Mexÿican players, who make up apÿproximately 80% of the league rosters. Representatives from Honduras, Greece and the United States also participate on a reguÿlar basis.

"Most of the American guys don't speak a word of Spanish," Oriz said. "But as long as they can play, they are welcome."

Five games remain in the 2001 regular season followed by playoffs in late August and Sepÿtember. For more information on the Liga Mexicana, pick up a copy of Cascade Weekly.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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