Monday, June 11, 2007
The U16 hockey team will be competing in the national level inter-SBP competition in Kuantan on 16 to 18th June (this coming Saturday to Monday). The North Zone level was in early May and right in the middle of their mid-year exam, so we didn’t have much time to practice after that for the national level. We had to resort to an intensive training cramped in 3 days covering as much aspects as possible – the rest we have to leave it to fate, their determination and rezeki.
I feel like I’ve known these kids for ages although we only took over in early March. For the U16, we only paid extra attention to them in early May – but by now most of us already know what shoes they wear, who is whose betik, which group exists in the team, everyone’s interest etc. Along the way you can’t help but feel very close to them.
Mighty Ducks brought together a rag tag of different people from our batch who were never in the same group back then. The fact that at this age, we came together and re-forge a closer friendship (that could not have existed this well back then in college) is in itself a journey that adds value to the whole experience. The ability and understanding that we have to put aside all the labels, masks, egos and identities we as individuals wear in our respective lives for the sake of a bunch of kids in dire need of attention and guidance – is a comfort that I always fall back to when the toll that this endeavour takes on us sometimes proves too much to stomach.
On one hand we have the ex-hockey players Badut, Chibiok, Joe, Mpro, KNO and Canoe. I have to admit that I was never close to Badut in school for reasons I can’t quite fathom myself. Apart from Persatuan Bahasa Melayu, we never ended up in the same group – hence the distance. Chibiok was even more distant (ha ha maybe the fire drill “bapak kau setan” put us at a distant right from the start ha ha) and there were times I had been harsh to him and vice versa due to the different directions we took in koleq. I was a lot more uptight in junior years and was so hell bent on keeping everything in its place, Chibiok was quite trigger happy ha ha; so the two of us sometimes did cross fire ha ha. (Although I need to point out that in our final year there could have been a commonality in the form of the junior whose bed was right to mine in Dorm 21 ha ha).
I got along fine with Joe throughout my years in koleq but just like Badut – we were never close. On our own free will, I am sure I wouldn’t have chosen to sit down in his crowd and vice versa back then. Canoe is from a different batch altogether, so go figure.
Of all the hockey players in Mighty Ducks – only with Mpro and KNO whom I have had many opportunities to work together and along the way understand each other’s styles. KNO was my classmate since F1 to F3; he was also in KPKM in our senior years. In our last year in koleq, KNO was instrumental in helping me out to make the Dataran Pemimpin (Leader’s Square) a reality for KPKM 1994 – and that included going to shop for the trees, planted the trees and even designing the whole place.
Mpro was a lot closer because we seemed to have been able to get along since day one, also perhaps because we did share common friends in the like of Epit, Sheppe, Zahir, Syed Asrul (and the northern clique). We were also budak coop since Form 2 (though I quit after Form 3 and he went on to be close to Sherry ha ha ha).
I can say I am a lot closer to the non-hockey members of Mighty Ducks. Chamat was among the first person I spoke to in koleq during one games hour and he gave great encouragement in my early years to improve my English ha ha. Chamat has this attitude in life that I will do what I think is right for me and I will put public opinion secondary; which sometimes did inspire me to have a bit more stomach when I did have to ignore public opinion.
Epit has always been close even when he was a senior prefect and “ayam tambatan” in Prefects Board 1993; especially during the period in 1993 the Fects Board would have wanted to impale my head on a pike for what I had written about them in Warta KPKM (Underground Version). Never once he ever brought up that issue with me though I can appreciate the difficult situation he was in.
No one was ever able to “leash” Wong when he was in koleq; he had always been his own man – so my relationship with him had always been that of a close friend, dating from those days in Form 1 when we the Terengganu boys were so close to each other. He was also my deskmate in Form 3 and had a hand in many dodgy replies to letters I sometimes received from girls from other SBPs (before I got bloated out into my current shape).
Idzam joined us in Form 4 and although I have had a cordial relationship with him we never got opportunities to be really close. He spent most of his time with the Sc6 guys and so was naturally closer to them.
So there you have it – a bunch of people who lead a very different lifestyle, who come from very different groups in koleq and out of the blue thought that maybe we should put our heads together for a bunch of kids we didn’t know.
How is it so far? Marvellous. I discover that this is as much about us re-discovering our friendships and capitalising on lost opportunities back in koleq; as much as it is also about the boys realising their potentials and discovering what it means to be a budak koleq.
I am reminded that with everything in life, it is always about the experience. The whole journey so far is about going through the experience as a team on both sides of the fence – the coaches, the players; the team as a whole.
And it’s a wonderful experience.
And that’s why with the intensive training camp, we wanted to provide the kids “an experience” that they can remember, that can remind them when they are at our age what it feels like being in a team.
Instead of just hockey training, we brought them camping in a remote area by Sungai Perak; deep into Sungai Siput. While the idea of camping itself is not that horrendous, the logistic of shuttling a team of hockey players and coaches in and out of that place to Ipoh for tactical training on the turf was quite a nightmare. The balance between making them go through the camping experience and giving them enough rest to train the next day can also be quite delicate sometimes.
But the boys were up to it. When we asked them to cook, they did willingly and in fact enjoyed it very much. They cleaned everything without being asked and arranged all the utensils and dishes nicely at one place. They were punctual and sharp on the dot, they hardly complained on every single instruction we gave them – even I initially had doubts whether they would have cooperated for some of the games that they may consider beneath them; after all we only know them for almost 2 months.
We actually blindfolded and tied their hands at the back and asked them to put up the tent in that physical conditions. One group actually managed to do it within half an hour; though the others were slightly behind. I kept saying to myself that if I had been subjected to this back then, I cannot guarantee that I would not walk out of the team ha ha.
Even the captain; who sometimes is known for his temper – is trying his best to manage his team on and off the field diplomatically as requested by us. It’s a very easy choice for 16 year old to ignore us; but he chose the hard way because I think like so many other budak koleq; they want to win so badly they’ll pay any price for it.
We can never tell whether a 3-day training camp will have significant impact on them; but hopefully they will remember what has been entrusted to them and take the learning points (about team and about life) to their hearts.
As for what will happen in Kuantan this weekend, please come and support them. They will need every single clap they can get.
Friday 8 June
- Chamat brought them running all the way to Istana Iskandariah and back
- set up tent with everything tied and blindfolded
- management games
Saturday 9 June
- woken up twice in the middle of the night by my car honking the night away, the causes are still a mystery (and the car was parked right in front of the tents)
- woke up at 6 am and started cooking by 630
- left for Ipoh at 8 am
- training @ Ipoh turf
- light running at Taman Dr Seenavasagam
- came back to the camping site at 630
- cooked nasi lemak
- management games
- reflection session
Sunday 10 June
- woke up at 6 am
- cooked breakfast
- clear camp site
- left for Ipoh at 830
- training @ Ipoh turf
- friendly game with MCOBA
- friendly game with Class of 05
- set pieces and tactical training with Thorsten Hielderberg, the hockey technical consultant helping the team
- sent the boys back at 4 pm
- sirap ayam
- “kau drive je sampai jumpa jalan mati” (walaupun nyaris2 langgar bukit)
- nasi lemak sushi
- tuala bini Badut
- conjunctivitis attack!
- “kau sound aku baik2”
- “sepohon kayu daunnya rimbun”
- “tolong ambik aku kat KK pukul 12 malam”
- “pon pon pon pon…”; “chibiok keter kau laa pi la check” (although it’s clear it’s a different car honking the night away)
- Chibiok bergolek2 macam ayam golek cuba nak score goal
- “malam ni kita buat khinzir beratur la, sempat lagi beli babi ni” to the amazement of everyone
- “kalau tak sembuh pun cramp kau, paling kurang habis daki kau dia urut”
And many more.
Thank you to everyone who had helped; KNO and I will post the photos shortly when we have time to upload.
Posted by Noni Kapet at 2:15 PM