When we started out the whole thing in 2007, we were still young (ehem ehem) and had more patience to put up with kids. Some of the boys used to SMS or call us every other day and during weekends they would drop messages. We used to write letters, send them cards before their exams etc. A few of us were even “assigned” to look after the off-the-field aspects of the boys – which means attending to their ever growing needs (some were emotional ha ha); though in the end the “other” assignee withdrew from the assignment without ever serving a notice.
In short, the boys received full attention. At tournaments, they could call and ask us to buy some grubs. They could joke with us and we put up with their cramps and nagging.
Over the years, either we grew tired or our patience level with kids grew thinner by the day, the boys after them are not so lucky. Many times they got screamed on the phone (ha ha) for being very persistent. They hardly had any chance to sit down for meals with us and we returned less and less. Things got worse when Mr Thaman and Mr Pala took over and the distance grew.
Nowadays when we go back it is a far cry from what it was. The gap is big and the boys are not as warm to us as their seniors were (or they have yet to master the art of squeezing everything for the old boys; like their seniors).
Which is unfair – because they work and train a lot harder than their seniors and by comparison, they survive frugally.
For the sake of fairness, we decided to go back last weekend to catch up. Partly out of guilty conscience and to make them know that we care for them as much as we had for their seniors. Partly because some of Bapak Itik (in particular one Hafiz Nizam Hashim, one time project director and the other “assignee” who was supposed to do this bit) had not come back for more than a year.
So the four of us (the over grown hobbits – one was more like a Troll ha ha) set out on a journey from Putra Heights to Kuala Kangsar. Joe had arranged to meet up Ayien at Ali Maju in Putra Heights for breakfast, so that we can get him to pay breakfast (that’s a saving of RM20 on our account ha ha). Badut called and I told him that I was on the way to East Coast, which he duly believed. Mpro really wanted to join but he had other pressing matters to attend to in Melaka, so he followed us in spirit through blackberry messenger ha ha.
The best thing about road trip like this is the catching up. It has been a long time since we hitched on a road trip together, so the time passed very quickly. Lo and behold, we reached Kuala Kangsar in the afternoon to be greeted by the now infamous Clifford’s worst attempt at sucking up: “1Clifford: Pelajar Didahulukan Pencapaian Diutamakan”. I prefer “The Ship Is More Than The Crew” anytime – in this life or any other life because 1Clifford does not fit well with the now legendary:
“Today is Monday
Tomorrow is Tuesday
But Monday is not everyday
The ship is more than the crew”
Anyway, we were late by 20 minutes so Azu and Haziq (Form 4) already called asking where we were.
Because this week is supposed to be “membeli jiwa” week.
We promised to catch up with the F4s and F3s off the pitch and buy them lunch since the last time we did this was when they were in Form 3 (laaaa tak de lah terbiar sangat, last year dah beli jiwa dah!).
Anyway it was good catching up although trying to get one sentence out of them is harder than to extract a confession from Syam and the gang masa kena rounded sebab keluar town haram! We did learn a few things that escaped our knowledge so far though it hardly changed our opinion on many things.
One thing that was quite a change though was the lunch itself. While we were loyal to the customary Saudiah meal (nasi putih, kari, ayam goreng etc.), all of them ordered nasi goreng ayam or nasi goreng ayam madu. Next time around, we should make a point to try nasi goreng ayam madu he he at Saudiah.
After the bribery, the boys started off the game half sleeping and the score was 2-0 in favour of MCOBA at the end of the first quarter. But they picked up after that; managed to equalise at 2-2; held on at 3-3 until Chibik shouted “Jack, do something!”. By the end of the fourth quarter, MCOBA scored 2 more goals to finish at 5-3.
We had a brief pep talk (by my standard ha ha) and the more this one teacher gave signal to Mr Thaman to get me to stop, the louder I spoke and the longer it became. Not that I wanted to be a pain, but I thought the role of a teacher/coach/manager is more than just to show up completely detached from the team by sitting at the highest/furthest level of the grandstand and never come down to say a word to the boys – only to enforce petty rules in the end.
We took shower at a masjid within the compound (I can’t remember the last time I took shower in a masjid, must be pre-1997 time ha ha; luckily the terompah helps!) before adjourning for dinner at Benteng (must make a point to Wawan that Benteng’s quality and value for money is really going downhill). We left by 9 pm, Chibik went back to Ipoh and I fell asleep by the time we crossed Ulu Bernam.
Back to the silly old work routine in KL; it is still hard to get rid of the withdrawal syndrome (although it’s much easier nowadays). I think we may yet spend a bit more time with them in the future when circumstances permit; after all the F4s are the first batch who remain intact till the end since the Class of 2008. We spoke about their chances at the national level but whatever the results will be, it has been fun following their progress and games all this while.
Mizan has improved so much that tak sia-sia bagi Most Promising Player award in Manjung in 2007. They all have grown up so much that if you do not come back as often (hint: Epit) it’s quite hard to recognise them. Chibik acknowledged that the mid players played tirelessly and relentlessly. Azu as the keeper and captain excelled on and off the pitch – good keeper and persistent captain who withstands my venomous curses to ensure his team gets the weekly training.
Against all odds, I think we had achieved more this year than what we had achieved in the last 3 years, because it comes to the point when the boys understand the meaning of it all.
So whether we win or lose in Ipoh, I think it is not as important as giving them the chance to feel proud being a hockey player. To devote yourself to a cause and feel a sense of belonging; to stand up for your team. All the main ingredients of what makes MCKK boy an MCKK boy, which has been missing for the last few years.
In that respect I think we had achieved something – so the least we could give them is nasi ayam madu at Saudiah J
More photos here.