Tuesday 19 November 2013

by Ryan Yoong Ka Jun, Form 4 Science 1, Class of 2014

Recuperating from the sunburns, sore throats and (extreme) fatigue is not easy. However, that’s a sacrifice we make for our houses every Games Carnival. We often feel the full force of all these things after Day 1 (and after an eternity of sitting behind a school desk). As I sit here with my still-uneven skin-toned hands typing away at the keyboard, I look back to Day 2 of Games Carnival with mixed emotions. 

Photo Credit: Lai Li Chan 
Of the many sports that day, I was drafted to play table tennis given my background on the court. Let me be the first to tell you; it’s completely different. Having gotten used to the heavier fluorescent tennis balls, hitting the extremely light ball (let alone making it go over the miniature net) was a BIG challenge. However, with some coaching from our table tennis captain, Matthew Tang, I managed to get the hang of it.

Our first opponents were the Tigers whom had managed to defeat the Eagles earlier this year. With that in mind, we were high in hopes and spirit. The first singles saw a close match between Seladang’s Matthew Tang and Harimau’s Nithin Daniel. A hit here, a lob there, a slice on occasion, the ever-so-scary smash once in a while, and the match was over; Harimau had started the ball rolling. Next up was me against my good friend, Imran Teh. Frankly speaking, we were very worried. Something that often gets overlooked throughout the Games Carnival is the planning that goes on behind the scenes. It’s tedious, mentally exhausting and part of that process is predicting the other houses’ moves. Fortunately, I managed a victory in the second singles (phew!). With the score one-all, we entered the doubles stage, which we were fortunate enough not to have that many problems with, thus lifting us into the upper bracket. 

Lo behold, our next opponents were the defending champions, Beruang. With players capable of remarkable shots from impossible angles, we knew what we were in for. Nevertheless, we fought our hardest to try to dethrone the champions but alas we were defeated. Despite that, I learnt a lot from our matches. I learnt how patience is key when playing a slow game. I leant how to adapt to situations we weren’t prepared for. I also learnt a new stroke which I have yet to use in a game (which will probably not be in the next few years since this is my last Games Carnival). Overall, it was definitely a pleasant experience with all the table tennis players. Kudos to everyone on a great job and congratulations to the defending champion, Beruang, in both the boys and girls table tennis. 

One other ongoing game that day was basketball - which was held at the outdoor basketball court this year, much to the chagrin of the basketball players. Whoopee, more time to barbecue ourselves in the hot sun. Here are some views from Seladang Basketball players Amanda Lee and Vanisha Ann:

“It was quite a big change, from the much bigger (and cooler!) court in the South Hall to the smaller one outdoors. Our first match was against Beruang- that was definitely a close one. With us only winning by one point scored in the last minute of the match, we were quite worried for our second match with Helang, whom we considered as our major opponent in the game. 

For the past four years, we have gone off face to face against Helang in the basketball finals with them constantly prevailing as champions. With zero coaching or much practice, Seladang has been able to conquer the title of second place for many years. This year, the match was a close one with one house scoring immediately after the other. However, Helang gloriously emerged as the champion yet again, but this time only a two point difference - a huge improvement for us since previous years.”

Walking down from the N1 building, the next thing you hear are the cheers from the swimming pool that echo throughout the school; a sign of an ongoing water polo match. The louder the cheers, the more intense the match was, and this one was the loudest it had ever been that day. By the time I ran (contrary to the prefect instruction) down to the poolside, the game had already gone into its final stage; penalties. It was the match between the Harimau and Helang boys which would decide the winner for the day. I thought this story would be better told from a first person point of view so here’s a personal account from Richard Ooi of Harimau and Colin Yoong of Helang:

Photo Credit: Lai Li Chan
“We played the first half and managed a 1 or 2 point lead against the Helangs. Moving into the second half, it was more intense and the final score was 10-10, pushing the game into extra time. However, by the end of it, it was still neck and neck at 10 all. As a tiebreaker for the match, we moved on to penalties. It was 1 keeper and 5 shooters per house. I was the keeper for Harimau and also a shooter later on. The whistle blew and it was on. However, midway through the intensity, I started experiencing a searing pain in both my arms. Being pulled out of the pool was something I didn’t want to do, but had to. Since it was a rule that the keeper could not be switched mid-game, we were forced to concede a goal. We lost 11-10 but I don’t blame anyone. It was a long and tiring game which I’m sure everyone will remember for years to come.”
- Richard Ooi, Harimau Waterpolo Boys Team

“ Nerve wrecking is the best way to describe our the final match for boys water polo between Helang and Harimau. I thought it was over when we were down four to two. What's more our captain, Mervyn had been sent off after two technical fouls, so the only thing I felt at that moment was exhaustion and hopelessness. 

The game went into halftime - a time when there’ll always be one house telling its players to keep it up and not get too overconfident, and another house telling its players to not give up and play better. Helang, sadly was the latter house. Although spirits were down and our eyes were red (not necessarily due to the chlorine water), the game wasn’t over yet. So Helangs went back into the second half, with our spirits recharged. 

Harimau scored, we scored back. This back and forth of goals and leads went on throughout the game. There were a number of underwater fouls and close tries that were really frustrating. Even more so, when the whistle blew signalling the end of second half, but the scoreboard was still even.  At extra time we were still aggravatingly head to head till the last minute, when Harimau scored one goal. It was tough to keep going, especially when you know there’s only one minute left on the clock and your team is one goal down. Finally at the last second, when I thought everything was going to crash, I took a shot from half line, which flew straight past the goalie’s arms. We then went into penalties, where we narrowly won by two goals. A great game indeed.“
Colin Yoong, Helang Waterpolo Boys Team

With water polo wrapping up the day's events, we all went home as tired as ever. Though we went home with 0% energy, a stop at McDonalds, a cool shower and a long, uninterrupted nap easily recharged us for the next day. I for one was determined to see through the next day's matches with much vigour and I'm sure the same goes for everyone else.
by Anonymous 00:00 11 comments | in , , , , ,


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