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PAA Tampa Bay Unites Community for a Day of Picnic, Cricket, and Culinary Delights

Hira Ayub

On November 4th, the Pakistani American Association of Tampa Bay brought together the local Pakistani community for a day of camaraderie, friendly competition, and delicious food at Lake Seminole Park. With the weather in the pleasant 70s, families and friends gathered to celebrate their shared heritage and enjoy a day filled with activities.

The highlight of the event was the cricket tournament, featuring some of the best local talent. The opening match kicked off with the Smashers of Sultan, led by Captain Mohammad Aneel, facing off against the Zalmi Raptors, captained by Ilyas Yamani. It was a nail-biting game that kept spectators on the edge of their seats, but ultimately, the Smashers of Sultan emerged victorious in a closely contested match.

The second game saw the Markhor Strikers, led by Captain Ashfaq Fatmi, taking on the Sohni Dharti Hitters captained by Tahseen Majeed. Both teams showcased their skills and determination, but it was the Sohni Dharti Hitters who clinched the victory, adding another layer of excitement to the tournament.

The final showdown of the day featured a fierce battle between the Smashers of Sultan and the Soni Darthi Hitter. The teams gave their all, displaying impressive sportsmanship and skill. In the end, the Smashers of Sultan emerged as the ultimate winners, securing their place as the cricket champions of the day.

Ashfaq Fatmi (Captain of Markhor Strikers) and Mobashar Tahir (Player for Smashers of Sultan) were crowned Men of the Match. The Best Batting awards went to Mobashar Tahir (Player for Smashers of Sultan) and Khurram Parviz (Player for Zalmi Raptors). Musa Ayub (Player for Smashers of Sultan) earns recognition as the Special Fielder, while Saqib Ali (Player for Smashers of Sultan) secures the title of Best Bowling. Lastly, Tahseen Majeed is acknowledged as the Runner-up Captain for Sohni Dharti Hitters.

While cricket took center stage, a tug-of-war competition stirred the competitive spirit among various groups, with a highlight match between women and men resulting in the women’s team, led by Farhana Sherwani, claiming victory. Men engaged in a lively game of Pittho Gool Garum, showcasing their strength and agility.

Go Go games, tailored for the women, added a touch of fun and laughter to the day, with Shafia Khan leading her team to victory. The atmosphere was further enriched by a Jamaican food truck offering live BBQ and Apna Bazar treating attendees to a spread of Biryani, Samosa, Chaat, and Paratha rolls.

Children were not left out of the festivities, engaging in games like catch a ball, cornhole, drats, kite flying and various other activities. The picnic concluded before sunset, leaving everyone with fond memories of a day filled with joy, community spirit, and shared cultural pride. The Pakistani American Association’s picnic at Lake Seminole Park was a resounding success, fostering unity and creating lasting connections within the vibrant community.

PAA Tampa Bay organized a vibrant Eid Mela in April, bringing together over 1500 members of the Muslim community for a joyous celebration. The success continued in August when they commemorated the 76th Independence Day of Pakistan, drawing a crowd of nearly 600 attendees. Looking ahead, an enticing event awaits poetry lovers as PAA Tampa Bay hosts a Mushaira on December 9th, 2023, at CEC (Community Education Center).

A big shoutout to Usman and Bilal for consistently capturing the memorable moments of PAA Tampa Bay on their YouTube channel, ‘Usman & Bilal in America.’

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