Thursday 21 November 2013

by Alisraa Aldin, Form 3 Cempaka, Class of 2015

If you haven’t figured out already, it is probably never a good idea to wear anything in between shorts and full track pants during Games Carnival week. The drastic tan-line on both my legs from the first day alone serves as a constant reminder to that fact. It also turns out that wearing shorts on Day 3 does not in fact undo the damage - it just leaves your legs with something reminiscent to fifty shades of sunburn.

They say that things get easier past the halfway mark and while that may be true for many things (such as weight loss, or writing articles), Games Carnival Day 3 would have to be an exception. We’re all worn out after the previous two days, and while the thought of going through another with aching limbs and harsh sunburns should make us cringe, the spirit in the air was higher than ever. The difference between the four houses’ scores were too close for comfort, leaving the players desperate to turn things around for their respective houses.

Apart from the significant lack of time and house members, one of the biggest changes that come with Games Carnival being held at the end of the year would have to be the change in several sport venues. With the seniors having examinations in the South Hall, the badminton players had no choice but to take a bus to the nearby Community Centre - isolated from their cheers of the dedicated fancells and the rest of the student body.

As the Merpati badminton captain, Lee Jien Tzen experienced this first-hand and shared his thoughts on his experience.

“I’ve never felt so out of place before, being temporarily separated from my house as we awaited our transport outside school. Not having the rest of your house to back you up was an added challenge, but despite that, everyone was pumped up and eager to demonstrate their abilities in the court.

Our first match, much like previous years, was against Harimau. I’d have say that the most memorable match against them was our 2nd singles. It was a close match, a single point determining our opponents as the final winner. We didn’t let that break our stride however, and decided to put more effort into winning the two doubles, putting us in the finals against Helang. 

The fight for first place was even more tight, lasting almost two hours in total! We had to go through all five matches, with each house having an equal number of wins and losses. The outcome of who would get the gold medal came down to one last deciding match. Our heart beats rose as we watched the players play but in the end, it was us Beruangs who came out victorious.

I suppose in all honesty that badminton isn’t a team sport. At the end of the day, we go on the court alone or at very most, with your doubles partner. But to say that we are not a team would be a complete lie - every single one of us put their all in leading us to victory. We became our own fancells, cheering each other on from the benches. So I’m really thankful for my fellow Beruang badminton players, for putting their all in leading us to victory. We may have been playing individually, but this gold medal was a team effort.”

Back in school, handball was played at the far side of the field, The competition was tight, with each house having their fair share of school team players in both boys and girls teams. Here are the thoughts from Chew Qq Hanh, a member of the beruang handball team, as well as quite a number of epic-faced, kung-fu worthy handball pictures due to the lack of badminton and wiffleball photos. 

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

“To say that the finals between Beruang and Helang was intense would be an understatement. Things weren’t looking good at first - Helang had a good two points ahead of us while we had yet to score a goal. But Ezzamel told us not to think so much about it. It was just the start of the game, were we really going to give up so easily?

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

I think what he said really helped get us back on track. The never wavering screams and chants of the fancells sent adrenaline through our veins too. We started to fight back, evening up the score and finally managing to pull ahead. I wish I could say we had it in the bag from there, but Helang truly were formidable opponents. Every time we thought we finally had the upper-hand, they’d break through our defences and turn the tables around. In the end however, we narrowly managed to pull ahead of Helang with only a point or two.”

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

In addition to the already well-matched handball players, the girls teams had one more threat to worry about - CILC. They were the wildcards, leaving the other houses in a mess as they propelled themselves to the upper brackets of the competition. Seladang handball player, Woon Tyen Yee, shares her thoughts on playing against them in the finals.

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

"Here's a little fun fact: I didn't know CILC was playing handball as well, until that very day. That’s when the anxiety kicked in... I've got to admit that the match against CILC was one of the most tiring matches I've ever played (adding to the fact that my stamina is very poor). My favourite part was probably the moment before the game, where my teammates and I would huddle together while I give them a pep-talk to motivate them. Seeing their bright smiles, high fiving each other to distribute the glue on our hands and shouting the loudest 'Seladang!' after three, that was the moment when I overcame my anxiety. The game was filled with good fakes, fast breaks, brilliant saves by the keepers and not forgetting the thundering cheers from both Seladang and CILC supporters. As we were leading with two goals, it got more intense towards the end. Our opponents took advantage of our depleted energy levels, breaking through our defences easily and creating many chances. Fortunately, luck was on our side. When the whistle blew, I momentarily closed my eyes. I didn't know whether to feel happy that we finally clinched the gold, or to feel sad that it was my last time playing handball for Seladang with the greatest team of people.”

Photo credit: Lai Li Chan

Now, moving on to my own house. Truth be told, GC Day 3 was more than just a dark day for Harimau. You could say it was a true test to our spirit and resolve. Failing to get a place in any of the day’s sports, most of us weren’t up to watching the other matches and simply chose to eat away our sorrows in the canteen. I would know - after all, I myself was one of those people.

In another part of the field, I was representing my house in wiffleball, which recently replaced softball in the previous FHC season. At first, the match against Helang was going pretty smoothly. We managed to strike out them out early, leaving them with only a few points head start in the first inning. Things took a turn for the worst though when they returned the favour and did the exact same to us - only without letting us get a single point. Our first few batters were struck out, leaving the rest of us unable to bat till the next inning and in a state of confusion.

I think the shock of not scoring a point must have threw us off our game for awhile. We didn’t do that well in defending during the second inning, allowing them to widen the gap. By the time we got ourselves back on track, the gap was a little too big to recover from.

I still remember my very first time batting, back when it was still softball. I was a last minute addition to the team on the day itself, joining simply because they didn’t have enough girl players and the captain was a good friend of mine. That year, we won the gold medal. So as you could imagine, it was frustrating initially. We all felt as though we were unsuccessful in following the footsteps of our seniors, failing our house in the process. But today, I look back with honestly no regrets. 

While I don’t have a clear recollection of the actual events throughout the whole game, I still remember the more important little moments prior and during the match: The drive-through worker’s hilarious “This is McDonalds lah” when Kong tried ordering Mountain Dew there after our last practice, the surge of hope that returned to all of us when Yan Hong made a clean catch and of course, Andrew’s ‘motivational’ High School Musical references when we were close to giving up. Those moments will continue to define my Games Carnival Day 3. Our team may not have succeeded in bringing back a medal for our house, but nevertheless, we were still a team.

I’ve come out with a lot of new experiences this Games Carnival. Some are as trivial as knowing that your fashion choices make a big difference in how awkward your tan is. Others include getting last place, but still feeling like winners simply because we didn’t go down without a fight, and had fun doing it too. Throughout the year, my house has always been the underdogs in Games Carnival. But being the underdogs doesn’t mean that we’re any different from the other houses. The bonding between members, the fight to get a placing, the spirit it’s all the same - it’s simply a placing that distinguishes from the rest.

There’s still a long FHC season ahead of us in 2014, and Games Carnival is merely the beginning. Anything could happen - it all depends on whether you choose to let your wins and losses define your spirit. 
by Anonymous 12:46 15 comments | in , , , , , ,


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