Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Vice Captain

Addendum: It's three years instead of the four I wrote. I didn't realise this until I was counting the years. This story took place in 2003.
(yay~ I'm not as old as I was worrying about yesterday. It pretty much freaked me out to realise that I'm fours years older than before, luckily, I'm only three years older~ diaoz...)

This is a fictional story based on a somewhat exaggerated true account. The exaggerated accounts were told to me with first hand experiences, from no less than three different people. Gathering these three exaggerated accounts, adding in my own exaggerations, plus the actions and the romanticism of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2006, me having watched 36 out of the 60 matches, and will be watching the four remaining matches, I shall now let my fingers dance over the keyboard.

I was quite surprised that on that evening straight after that event, almost immediately, the three souces separately called me up or SMS-ed me relating to me their accounts of what happened before. Of course, they are my friends, thinking that I might have wanted to be updated on almost every of his actions. In the end, I had one of my sources send in an anonymous SMS to the central character. I never admitted that it was me with the anoymous SMS, even though a couple of months later, I did send some other SMS using my own phone, with my number, and stating that I'm Joan, but that's something else.

Back to the story. Actually I wanted to post up another entry before this, but Flickr is not working on me, so I can't put up the pictures. If you might have noticed, I don't know who might have though, that there was briefly, for about an hour only, a half completed entry posted up. I accidentally pressed the publish post. Then I took it down because I wasn't able to complete the entry no thanks to Flickr. I did save it, so wait for Flickr to work on me and I'll complete the rest, but for now, a totally no pictures post. Well, actually, I don't know if it's Flickr's problem or my connection problem. Either way, enjoy the story.

And if you find the story familiar, drop me a comment telling me how far my story deviates from your memory of it. It has been four years already... omg...


The Vice Captain

The boys walked off the glistering football field after 45 minutes of agony. The other team had managed to keep them from scoring. Although they did managed, too, to keep the other team from scoring, things was just not going right for them.

They were the Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United of the Junior College football teams all rolled into one, and it was a well known fact that these boys had a higher calibre than most S-League teams. Their opponents were a lesser team, not very well known, and definitely not that top school that they were. And they were still not winning. What was going wrong?

The burden of winning the game fell squarely on the team's striker, the vice captain, the Face of the Year winner, the guy everyone in school instantly recognised. He needed a strike. He needed to win the game for the team. He needed to retain the school's pride. He needed to fulfill everyone's expectation. Out in the stands were thousands of his schoolmates and teachers and even the principal, all shouting the school's name in glory, and his name in motivation. The burden was just too much for him to shoulder.

He walked over to the team captain and exchanged a couple of words. The team's teacher in charge came in to give a prep talk to the boys. All was not lost yet. There was still hope, after all, this was a David and a Goliath, the Champions against the minnows. The problem was however that, David won Goliath. He must prevent that from happening. Must. And they had 45 more minutes to achieve that goal, or more goals, it wasn't actually that difficult a task.

Half time ended. The boys took to the field again. The game continued.

The second half of the game went no better than the first. He found it difficult to create an opening out of the other team's defences, his pace was always checked by his marker, perhaps the other team had already done their research and knew that this was their man they had to mark tightly no matter what happened. And the other team was right.

In the middle of the second half, the teacher in charge signalled to the referee that he wanted to male a substitution. Was it tactical? Was it because of injury? For what reason was the change made, no one knew, and probably never to know. All that we know was that the change was made.

The team captain was taken down. As the team captain walked over the pitch to pass the captain's armband over to the vice captain, he felt the burden sadled on him grow increasingly heavier. Now it was left to him to marshall the team to retain the title of the national champions of the A division.

As we all know, Junior College only takes away two years of our time. It is so short a time that regrets cannot be overturned with the prospects of a "we can do it again next year" mentality. The seniors will graduate, another batch of students will come in, but before that, they needed to ensure that the seniors were able to graduate and leave the club in glory. And let them for the last time to don the school colours.

The vice captain was a senior too. There was no next year for him. Next year would see him lying the the mud in a jungle serving his National Service. This was probably the last year he would be able to compete in a football competition, a nationwide one, in fact. And after emerging victorious (with pun intended, insider's pun), the last hurdle left for them to once again lift that cup and bring it back to their school.

Just as the vice captain saw the captain taking a seat on the bench in the stands, the striker from the other team tore apart his team defences and headed straight for the goal. Thankfully, it hit the post. But this called on for the team captain not to slacken.

Mustering all his concentration, all his determination, and all the motivation he could, he rallied the team to defend well and prevent the other team from scoring. But still after many tries, he still could not find the back of the net. It ended down to himself.

It seemed to him that it was his problem. He was missing strikes, his goal was not strong enough for the goalkeeper to miss, he was just not winning the game for his team. It was all his fault, or was it not?

As the clocked slowly ticked down. The final blow came to him. A midfielder from the other team once again broke free from his markers and shot a neat pass to the striker lurking near the post. With the striker so well-positioned, there wasn't a high chance that it would miss. And it didn't.

1-0, to the minnows.

He got more frustrated. And as he got more frustrated, he lost his concentration. He shots were now not even troubling the goalkeeper, because it always ended up on the stands. The schoolmates cheering from the stands became silent. The teacher's face was grim. The captain was almost in tears. The vice captain too was near to breaking down. Slowly it became clear that this year just wasn't their year. Even with all the good players, they just weren't able to do their best.

The final whistle came. The final verdict. Loss. Dejected, depressed, disappointed, and all other de-words possible, the boys headed towards the locker rooms. Teams were on their faces, mixed with grime and dirt and sweat.

Boys do cry.


I wonder how many people remember the events of the national finals four years ago? I wasn't there, of course, I wasn't in the schools involved. I think school rivalries are comparable with the club rivalries you see in European leagues, not S League, S League is totally pathetic. School rivalries are almost as intense as national rivalries, especially among the top schools who have been competing against each other for years.

I grew up in a primary school hating the other school across the street. The stereotype of the students in the other schools still sticks and made me swear never ever to send my children to that school. I grew up in a secondary school which had some not as intese but still some bickering with other top Chinese co-ed schools in the area. My junior college was not that happening, but due to another competition that I was involved in, I came to hate this other college. This goes on. Especially in the bigger schools, just like especially among the bigger clubs.

Anyway, I'm now thinking of my topic for my term paper. I'm deciding between Sport and Nationalisms or the Commercialisation of Sports. And my sports would predominantly be able football since we are so close to lifting the cup at this stage.

Ah well, I feel so drained. I'm wondering if I should file this story under my Prozac Nation or not. I've been writing only about relationships up till this point, and my Prozac Nation is mainly about that. Hai... Will have to file this somewhere, do is there really a need to? hmm...

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