Wednesday, 13 November 2013

by Chin Wye Mun, Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014

#FHC2014 #merpatiRTH #tigersYSF #RHGP #seladangsHTG. If you have probably seen your Twitter timeline recently, you've probably wondered to yourself: What’s going on with all these hashtags? Perhaps you've also seen hordes of burnt faces, tan lines, grass-covered legs, muddy shoes and wet socks in school lately, as these are telltale signs of a Cempakan during Games Carnival. Today, 11th of November 2013 was the start of a week to be filled with such students. The field today was abundant with colourful banners and flags, each house marking their territory and trying their best to present a display that would garner them high fan club points. 

Games Carnival started officially with a briefing by Mr. Is about the rules and schedule for the day. From there, the students split up into their different sports and fan cells. The sports being played for the day were football 9-a-side and football 5-a-side for boys, netball for girls and volleyball which was a mixed event. 

Here is Lee Jien Tzen’s thoughts on playing volleyball for this year’s Games Carnival, a first for the Merpati badminton captain!

“To kick start Games Carnival with a sport that I rarely play was certainly challenging. What I disliked most were the times when our captain held trainings under the burning sun for this very day, further contrasting our harsh tan lines. However, as Merpati house captain, Ezzamel Zarif, always stressed upon volleyball as a team sport, urging us to always be there to support each other. To be honest, I guess that’s what made us top today! Whenever any of the members hit the ball and didn’t manage to pass the net, we would give them a pat on the back and say ‘Let’s win that point back!’. And whenever we won a point, the fan cells cheered on and we gave each other a high five, boosting each other’s confidence. Special thanks to Ms Tok too for cheering for Beruang when we were playing a tough match against Helang.

I feel that our practices have paid off well, despite facing a few tough rallies against the opposing teams. With every team we played against, we always tried to increase the margin between our points and theirs, giving the other team a lesser chance of a comeback against us. When victory was ours, we leaped with joy and celebrated with our fellow Beruangs in our Fan Cells, knowing that the gold medal was ours. It was a wonderful experience and I wish I could relive that indescribable moment once again.”


And for football 9-a-side, Seladang house captain, Amanda Lee shares her views of the game from the sidelines. 


Photo credit : Lai Li Chan
"If anyone tells you that you won't be feeling the same pressure as the actual players on the field, well they're wrong! Or so it felt like, especially during the last football 9-aside final of the day between Seladang and Helang. The other matches were intense enough, but the last match just blew us away. Every single moment had us on the edge, leaning over so much in anticipation that the coach had to call out for us to move back several times. Seladang kicked off (pun intended!) to a great start, leading the way with two to one. The second point being an own goal - to the delight of Seladang players and the chagrin of the Helang players. When it came to the second half, both the houses went head to head, each one scoring in succession of the other, making the fan cells mad with excitement. The second half ended with a teeth-clenching tie, Seladang being so close to winning! The game went into extra time, and footballers were dropping like flies, their muscles cramping after a strenuous hour on the field. 

Again, it was as frustrating and heart-stopping to watch as the first two halves had been. Seladang scored first, followed by Helang, then Seladang, then Helang again. Sounds like a total roller coaster for the fan cell members right? Well, it was. This boring game I could never stand to watch, had me jumping up and down like a maniac - not unlike football fans we see today. We screamed ourselves hoarse for the players to not give up, to keep on going, to defend, to score, and to give their all. I think I might finally understand what people see in the game. 

Twenty minutes of extra time passed, and both houses were still in a tie! Penalty rounds were called out. The players huddled together, strategizing who would shoot what, who would keep when. I don't exactly know the rules for how football penalties work, but I can say that there were some pretty spectacular saves and of course superb goals. It was always almost pin drop silent before a player would take the shot. When it was all down to one last shot - a shot that would make it or break it, the moment was just so intense. And oh, what a moment it was! One of the many that I, and no doubt most of us, will remember when we think of Games Carnival 2014. The ball just grazed the top of the goalpost, placing Seladang in first place. There was this rather confused moment, before the cheers and shouts erupted. A beautiful game indeed."

Other than 9-a-side, there was also football 5-a-side, which Ryan Yoong, house captain and Seladang 5-a-side captain presents his experience on as follows.

Photo credit : Lai Li Chan
"I've never really been one to play football. I'd always be in the team but never one of the main players; so imagine my surprise when I was chosen as the captain for the 5-a-side team for Seladang. Not chosen exactly, more like there was no one else to put! Shocked, nervous, excited. A combination of the trio would have to be the summary of what I felt at the time. Now? Pure happiness and nothing but the utmost respect for my team who never gave up no matter how badly the odds were against us. 

Just last GC, Seladang placed 4th in this event but GC 2014 proved to be very, very different. With a new team, completely revamped with the majority consisting of juniors, whom I sincerely hope will continue the legacy we seniors have left behind, it was a fresh start. Stepping on to the field with our multi-coloured boots and what not, we were high in spirit and energy. 

Our first match was against Helang, whom we viewed as a major threat since they knocked us out of the 1st/2nd placing in the previous year. The first half of the match was intense; both teams bursting with energy, pacing from one end of the field to the other, whilst skillfully maintaining control over the ball. After some meticulous passing, Seladang managed to convert an opportunity into a goal. Cheers from the sidelines only added to that moment of joy. The best part? Minutes later, we did it again; and it propelled us into the upper bracket of the event. 

Next up was Harimau. The first half was an intense passing session between the two houses with the occasional shot that would just brush the edge of the goal. However, in the second half, things started to heat up. After some substitutions from our part, we managed to score two goals which secured the gold for Seladang. 

It is my last year playing in the Games Carnival, thus effectively making this the last time I play 5-a-side with such an amazing team of people. I couldn't have asked for a better team and I wouldn't have. We didn't think we could do it but we did. I believed in my team; but more importantly, we believed in each other."

Now, I myself played netball, which I’ve played for most of my Games Carnival years. Before the matches started, balls, nail clippers and team cheers were flying everywhere. In the spirit of the game, there was always the line-up to shake hands before the game starts. It’s the last moment before everything turns serious. It is when each handshake represents a pledge from each player to play to the best of their ability, to play fair and to play with a certain spirit that would leave no room for regrets. 

After the handshakes, players made their way to their respective positions. This year, I took on the role of Centre, not exactly something I’m used to but when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? Anyway, I must admit our first few games were not our best. We were too nervous, unorganized, too rushed and just uncoordinated. Blind passes and butterfingers ruled our game. With time and patience though, we won our first match against CILC. 


Photo credit : Lai Li Chan
We had a close match with Helang who really stepped up their game especially in the second half, giving them a win by 2 goals. Following that, we went up against Seladang, who took the win by 6 goals or so and our last match with Harimau gained us a favourable win. 

Even though we lost by the most points in the Seladang match, I feel that I have learnt a lot from it. I have learnt the importance of being patient, especially in a team, being supportive, courteous and never backing down. In the match against Harimau, I learnt to enjoy the game, love the game and simply, play the game. Most of all, I love how 15 minutes of passing a ball around can teach you a life worth of lessons. 

Even though we only placed 3rd overall, a major drop from our glorious position at the top last Games Carnival, I’m still content with how the game went. Admitedly, I was disappointed at first. Tears welled up in my eyes and I was full of regret. But then, I realized that it was just the first day of Games Carnival. With four days more to go and so many people cheering me on, I wasn’t going to give up just then. What’s done is done and the best thing to do would be to accept the results, focus on the next day and come back stronger than ever. 

So, to anyone who didn’t get that much sought after gold medal so far for Games Carnival 2014, no worries! Each day entails a new sport and a shiny gold medal waiting for you. You just have to keep on going, keep fighting and never give up. Your spirit will drive you and your house to a precious placing at the top. Thanks to all the members of the Beruang Netball team for a great last Netball Games Carnival. I couldn’t have hoped for a better family to play with or a better house to play for. :) #merpatirth ! 
by Wye Mun Chin 00:31 1 comment | in , , , , ,

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