Monday, March 05, 2012

There and Back Again

We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things
Will never change for us at all

A New Spring?

And so it ended. We would not make it to the national championship in STF this year although by all accounts, many would have agreed grudgingly that we deserved the spot most judging by how we have played.

I am not usually keen to talk about luck. I don't believe that much in luck, I certainly don't put my faith in luck. But those who were there watching the semi-final at which we crashed, would have inclined to agree that luck was certainly not on our side even if you are not a firm believer in such a thing.

We were up against Sekolah Menengah Sains Mohamad Jiwa (to whom a credit is due, because their Alumni was the pioneer of this tournament) in the semi final, after a rather slow start at the grouping.

We drew both with STSSS (1-1) and SAINA (0-0). The first game was disastrous, luckily by the second game the boys were more composed and began to dictate the game.

They thought their biggest fear was against STAR in the quarter final. They played well and scored first - always elusive with previous teams. STAR equalised during a short moment of confusion when the ball had hit a leg in the D and the boys were expecting a whistle; but the game continued. Anyway, what was important they did beat STAR - which I kept telling them was what would have been expected of them, since STAR had never once beaten koleq on the hockey field since I followed the team in 2007 (except last year when we lost by one goal during penalty stroke).

They did continue the tempo during the semi final against MdJiwa. They played well, kept the pressure, scored first before a lull in defence allowed an easy goal by MdJiwa. They had many opportunities which could have ended the game but eventually it dragged to sudden death and penalty stroke.

By then it boiled down to luck.

Even so, the boys actually had a good start all along. Twice they were leading during the penalty stroke when Megat (the keeper) saved. In fact Megat played so well that we just had to reward him cash on the spot (ha ha).

In the end, they still lost 1-0 by penalty stroke.

They went on to play for the 3rd and 4th placing, played extremely well and defeated SMSAH 4-0. But by then, they would not have qualified for the national level.

How do you make sense of everything, when you feel they truly deserve to be in the national tournament?

Well, I have always believed that life is fair. If you don't win, that's because some other teams deserve to win. They may not be the best team to our naked eyes, but there are other things hidden from us that make them more deserving to win.

They may have trained much more than our boys. The school could have put all that they have for this. They may be more experienced and more determined - and a plethora of other reasons.

But what is important is for the boys to also realise that for every one door that closes, one more will open. Sometimes we don't get what we want now because something bigger is waiting.

So the only option they have now is to press ahead with more consistent training.

And this is where they will fail without the proper support from the adults. Mr Thaman and Mr Pala had drawn up a good training schedule, consisting of 3 days training on the turf, 2 days in the gym and another 2 on the field. We have committed to book the turf and pay, as well as arranging regular friendlies because frankly speaking, what the boys require most is match exposures (sounds familiar ha ha).

I came back from KK without a voice (which will definitely spell trouble because I have one full month of speaking engagements that I have to honour), fully drained and in deep withdrawal syndrome (because I don't want to leave the surreal world of school's hockey team and back to the real world).

But certain things about Mighty Ducks that never change.

First, it is never about hockey. Looking at Mr Thaman and Mr Pala talking to the boys, telling their hopes and asking the boys to play one beautiful game for them will melt anyone's heart. It is the most beautiful story that can be told - stuff that would have made it to big cinema screen if anyone dares to fund it.

Mighty Ducks has always been about our collective stories, from different backgrounds and worldly worries; weaved together into one stream of endless tales of love and selflessness. It is about the journey to teach a group of young, gullible boys about the way of the world; so that where we have erred, they will not and where we have failed, they will succeed.

I told them that my objective is very simple. I want to teach them the pride and joy of being an MCKK boy by experiencing the feeling when they walk into a hockey pitch - the fear evoked in their opponents, the respect they earn from others, the confidence which they carry.

I want them to feel what I felt at their age; when I grew up feeling I could change the world if only I put my mind to it (the fact that I didn't is something else altogether). I want them to understand the meaning of undying loyalty to a cause and to develop resourcefulness to convert that loyalty to a result.

Because once they understand the meaning of all this, they can truly conquer the world when they grow up. They can become whoever they want to be.

And that's the best gift we can give them so that when they look back one day, they would want to take our place and offer their services to the society without conditions.

The wheel of life turns all the time. What once has passed may come again, what was lost may be recovered. The time may yet come when others will tremble when they have to face MCKK on the hockey pitch.

(In between that, we have a lot of work to do to raise money and arrange friendlies and making sure they understand how much they mean to us, but that's always another story better not told here).

For the photos, please visit

For updates on the boys' progress, please visit Mighty Duck Project's FB page

The present boys' FB

You can follow their games and activities on Youtube  channel MightyDucksMCKK