Tuesday, 10 September 2013

by Amanda Lee Yue Ping, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

You're sitting in your car, thankfully sheltered from the rain that’s pouring down continuously in buckets. Through the obscured vision of the car window you see the school field (which is starting to look like the school's swimming pool, really) and oddly enough, people running around on it. 'Crazy kids' you think. Well, it takes one to know one. And just so you know, those crazy kids were having the time of their life. Muscles straining, everyone running in strict drills, Encik Salleh standing there in the midst of everything, with his cap and signature sunglasses - just another handball training after school. With added mud and rain of course. 

In school, you'll discover that you don't just find friends, you also find families. I found a family in our Cempaka Handball team. Friendships were forged over a sport we all share the same love for, turning into a kinship which lasts even till after we graduate. The ties between our team run deep. It continues to grow deeper with every jubilant victory, and even deeper still at every bitter loss. It branches out with every fresh face, yet never frays at the absence of an old teammate. 

Photo credit : Dr Iskandar Rizal

The beginning of the year starts out with many resolutions and plans. With every marked competition on the calendar was a shot at another medal. There's always no time to waste in training for MSSKL - one of the most important competitions of the year. Yet attendance is always horrendous in the beginning, inducing disgruntled captains to post reprimands on the Facebook group, bolding, capitalizing, stating and restating the fact that there is very little time left to train. Which in turn, releases a whole truckload of reasons why players couldn't attend the said trainings. From the overused 'I have Chemistry/Math/Biology/Physics tuition', to the all-time-favourite 'I have no transport' lament, our Facebook group has surely seen them all. However of course attendance always picks up and training commences in full swing, battle gear on - though it may be a bit of a tight fit right after the holidays.
" Training for MSSKL becomes more and more intense the closer we get to the date. We would also think back on how the other teams play, try out a lot of different strategies and drills, then apply them when we play. We would have fitness trainings as well which is super duper tiring and then we'd see how bad our stamina is!"- Woon Tyen Yee, U18 Girls Team Captain (as of 2014)
We may not have enough stamina or skills or strategies, but the one thing we certainly have in abundance is teamwork. It isn't just on the field during the game, it's during those moments when the ball flies out of the court, but someone is always standing ready to catch it. Or when the guys stand ready with the ice box during our matches to hand out drinks at half time, and we girls with the ice box during their matches in turn. Or even how we'll always manage to pull through every bitter defeat, saying we'll come back harder, better, faster, stronger. 
"Sounds cliché, but I think we showed great teamwork. There were many problems faced throughout the competition but our teams kept fighting their way through. Both the boys and girls' team lost one of their matches in the preliminary rounds, but we kept our heads held high and marched to victory together."- Colin Yoong Shern Zian, U18 Boys Team
Ah yes, victory. Thankfully, we've had a large slice of that particular pie, what with managing to bag the ultimate win - Gold for MSSKL in both the U18 categories as well as U15 girls and bronze for U15 boys. The teams that made it through to the Interzone also all achieved Bronze medals. MSSKL was just the tip of the iceberg though, some of us moving on to participate in major competitions namely Sukma and MSSM, as well as various other smaller tournaments held throughout the year. 

The first taste of victory is not the part where you line up to collect your medals. It's not even the celebratory dinner after winning the match. It's that one moment just after the horn blast, when the adrenaline rushes through you, causing you to jump around and scream ecstatically with the rest of your teammates, as if you didn't just finish playing a tiring game. It's sweaty, sticky and muddy even, as everyone swarms around for a group hug - but now that? That's the first taste of victory. 
“It's hard to describe the sheer joy you feel when you win, so I won't. Just know, it feels awesome.” - Ezzamel Zarif, U18 Boys Team Captain (as of 2014)
To our seniors and of course Encik Salleh - the ever steadfast pole anchoring us all together - it's been a great run under your leadership. From the bus rides to the numerous muddy fields to the victories and the losses. From the 'Case of the Missing Balls' to the ever disgusting bibs to the time Encik Salleh left the registration papers at school. Thank you for the wonderful year. To us juniors who will step up to the plate, I say here's to another successful year ahead of us.

Photo credit : Woon Ming, Class of 2013

Before I pen off, it’s a little sad to think that we too will graduate soon enough, entrusting our legacy into the hands of our juniors, and them into their juniors' and so on so forth. Yet, we’ll be passing down our name, ensuring the Cempakan Handball team will forever continue to grow. Just like all the other previous seniors, I’m sure that we'll come back one day. Because there are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.
by Unknown 00:18 35 comments | in , , , ,


  1. Thank you for the lovely article Amanda! :) And thank you all for the crazy memories over the years \o/ Melaka, Johor, Melaka again, Pahang (not the state, the guys ^_^ just kidding), the cutting, marinating (while watching ANTM), bbqing and selling of food in school (though we probably ate more than we sold), the trip to PD and so many other memories. It's definitely not been an easy year what with all the 'no court to have training, 'no money for our own tournament', 'Yes, Interzone! Wait-what-we-have-exams?' issues, lost registration forms and what not but what's winning without the journey and the laughs and tears we share along the way right? Not to mention the oh so many MCD deliveries in between and our super crazy expensive victory dinner! (whoops) We wouldn't have been able to go as far as we did this year without the support and teamwork between all our teams ♥ It's definitely been one of the best years with you guys & I'm going to miss all the stressful nerve wrecking penalty shootouts and the mutual excitement and nervousness on the first day of MSSKL to name a few. All I can say now is all the best for next year and I look forward to hearing that you guys not only managed to bring back 3, but 4 challenge trophies this time :)

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