Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We Are the Champions!!!

Just today, the Junior College Staff Soccer tournament was held at Jurong JC. And after 2 years of being eliminated in the knockout stages, the SAJC Staff Team has finally gained the championship in 2007!!!

During the course of the tournament(7 matches), we did not concede a single goal in regulation, and our team depth enabled us to plug in players with barely a dropoff in skill and pace. We were also far more comfortable as an unit in defense or attack. I have to admit I made my share of errors: 1 kena lobang, 2 blown defensive assignments that I remember, 3 misplaced passes. But my teammates covered perfectly for me. And I marked several key opposing players out of the game. Hey, I've trained as a man-to-man marker, after all.

On a personal note, it was also the first championship I've won in many, many years. Since I left Catholic High as a student, whether it was chess, soccer, or choir, the groups I'm associated with have always come in second at best. NJC Choir at the International Music Festival in Sydney, 2nd place. 1997 JC soccer tourney - 2nd(I was only a member of the recreational side, but we were the whetstone on which the blade of the first squad was honed). NUS Choir at Voyage of Songs, 2004 - 2nd in damn near every category we took part in. I was so weary of coming in 2nd best, so this year I thought my own best chance of breaking the losing streak would be through this tournament.

All the staff training games, all the practices, all the times I've implored players to turn up. It's been all worth it, with or without this victory. The staff who participated, teachers, support staff etc, we've grown to know one another better. Nothing better than the fire of a game to forge us into a team. One staff teacher vowed he'd stop bullets if it meant a clean sheet(or words to that effect). He lived up to his word.

Next week will be the climatic 'end of season' intra-staff game between the PE department(plus alumni) and the rest of the non-PE staff team. Let's see what happens, though I'll probably be trying to man-mark their ace winger(who can usually run with the ball faster than I can without it!!). It's going to be a more relaxed affair, though both sides will still be trying to win it for bragging rights!
Bring my bow
Fill my head with flame, and we must
Let them know that the torch is lit again
Crystallise the pain behind your eyes
Are you ready to fight?
-A Call to Arms, Mike & the Mechanics
And after that, I have to start intensive training for the Singapore Marathon. My heart quails a bit at the thought of running 42 body wrecking kilometers.

I will do it. I need to prove to myself that I'm tough enough to endure this. I'm not a loser!


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