1) Badut getting all sentimental after the camping and has not recovered from a massive withdrawal syndrome judging from his SMS:
" Just to say that the team building was a success despite all the drama and hiccups. Just tgk the video and kind of missing the hockey team already. Looking forward to see the team perform masa north zone :)"
"I showed some of the videos tue [aku tak pernah faham why Badut would spell "to" as "tue"] my wife last nite and she said this team seems to be very receptive and full of confidence. Ada jugak part yang kau kata kau bengang sebab kita antar zul to ketuk the pintu hihi"
2) The team building camping went very well and perhaps the smoothest despite all the hiccups
We had never done any camping without Wong. That was his department so we took cue and made sure that he would be around and outdoor activities are his forte.
Unfortunately, he could not make it this time as he was already away on another outdoor trip with another group. Some people suggested that we postponed or canceled the camping (ehem ehem) but I was adamant that it must happen because I already promised the boys (as always). After all, the window is very small and if we miss this date, they would have to go to the tournament without the camping first.
We wanted to do it in Manjung so that we could close it with a friendly match with old boys (especially those from batches who had gone through the Mighty Ducks Project). Unfortunately, the response was not encouraging that it was pointless to do it in Manjung, so at the last we shifted it to Ulu Kenas. We could not get the confirmation from Ulu Kenas either so about 3 days before the camping, I called Kem Intan Suraya.
The owner (a nice auntie in her 60s) instantly remember us and said "yang ni projek Donald Duck tu kan?"
In between suppressing my giggling and trying to stay focus on the conversation, we booked the venue at the last minute.
Then we did not have the tent for the camping, but rescue came from MCKK (which actually has really nice tents for this sort of activity).
On the day itself, we had another problem - with only one car going in the morning to receive the boys, we could not fit the 5 people and all the camping stuff (periuk belanga Coleman dapur memasak etc) into the boot. Some of the boys (Mizan and Nash from Class of 2011 came along) had to squeeze at the back and we had to put bags in between someone's legs ha2.
Not even half way through, my car's air-cond went kaput. It was one of the most uncomfortable journey ever but the boys survived (though they were not pleased, of course) and we reached Sungai Siput in one piece.
From there on it was perfect - the cooking was perfect (I meant no nasi lemak bubur, no sirap ayam, no bihun goreng gumpal etc like in yesteryears). Even when it was pouring on the last night and all our kayu api that we collected earlier on was soaking wet, we still managed to start a good fire for BBQ.
This was also the camping with most hockey content, with the boys treated to a few games of hockey (apart from the usual simple fitness drill etc.)
3) I did not lose my temper
Frankly speaking, I started the camping with a foul mood since Canoe and I and A were the only taxpaying adults to do everything when the boys arrived - Badut, Chibik, Pak Tuan and Ober (Class of 99) only arrived about 1 am in the morning with Zul (Class of 2010).
Understandably I didn't pick any call though it was more because the phone was on silent mode throughout (ha2 yeah right).
When Badut rang me at 143 am, I was 20 minutes into my first nap in the previous 36 hours so I didn't pick up.
In the end, they had to cheat and send the ever innocent Zul to knock the door of our chalet at 2 am to get in. Whatever anger building up fizzled out immediately the moment Zul flashed his jittery smile and I thought "oowh come on in and get on with it".
4) This team has more common sense than the previous teams
And how do we determine that? Because they completed all the tasks that the previous teams struggled in a jiffy with much better results. They had clearer thought process, they worked better in a team and they were more at ease with each other.
I attribute this to the fact that the majority of the players are F3s and F2s. Their seniors (F4 and F5) are wise enough to make way for them so they discarded any notion of seniority complex in the team that the juniors can joke and communicate freely with the seniors. In the process, there was less inhibition and the team could float an idea and discuss freely (compared to some teams in previous years).
That was why it was a lot easier to work with them throughout the camping and it was so much fun - you did not have to shout to get them to clean up, they were punctual most of the time, they organise themselves well.
Good stuff for the tournament.
4) Sleeveless jersey
The boys had always wanted a set of sleeveless jersey. I vetoed them year after year because I think they were too skinny.
By a sheer twist of fate, when we were selecting a new jersey for the team, even the smallest of size available (S) would be too big for them because most of them are small.
In the end, we had to settle for a special type of sleeveless line - the size is purposely designed to be smaller and would fit the boys well. I hope they will finally get rid of the superstition that one set of jersey carries more luck than the other, now that they have the sleeveless set as they had always asked.
5) The boys are organised and show more initiatives than some previous teams
So far they look more determined and organised. They haggle me more often with SMS (ha2 on top of all the other things I had to put up) and they put up their own Facebook page to communicate/focal point for hockey related matters. At least they show a bit more ownership this time around.
If you want to show support for their initiatives, please go to their Facebook page and "like" the page as an encouragement.
So, Badut's excitement to see them play in the next tournament is not an exaggeration - these boys did beat some odds and showed a bit more promise than some teams we have encountered so far.
Anyway, talk is cheap. Best to see them in action - so far I have managed to upload these videos, enjoy :-)