Written by: Shervin Lim
Edited by: Sarah Cheng
I’ve always wondered about the person who had to bear the most pressure in a sporting match.
It couldn’t quite be the spectators, because their pressure was only in the head and were physically quite detached. Maybe it was the keeper, whose eyes could never really leave the ball. Or was it the captain? Perhaps the coach – they had every right to feel the weight of expectations, of others and of their own.
After today, I realized who that person(s) was.
But before I tell you about that person, let me start you off with the first line of the evening’s game, with Wai Kit, Vikash, Alex, Jerrard, Wei Chen and Yan Shi. Aggression was the name of the game, clearly, as we witnessed a burly opponent ‘jousting’ Wei Chen; the latter unfortunately became the first of many to crash into the barricades.
That incident pretty much established the mood for the rest of the game – one of immense competition and overzealous opposition. It also led a spectator from the sidelines to remark: ‘Wa, this game is damn scary’, and I’m certain he wasn’t the only one feeling the heat. Eugene entered to relieve Wei Chen while he recovered, as the team began to exert their pressure on KR.
Clever manoeuvres from the veteran players of KE kept possession of the ball as no. 3 from KR was brushed aside by surprise. After an attempt at the goal by no. 11 missed its mark, a line switch was made and more aggressive KR players entered from their end. Undeterred, Vikash and Sritam put up a stellar display of teamwork when they managed a pass that made its way back into KR’s side of the court.
6 minutes into the game and we finally witness the past and present captains of KE Floorball converge on the same court. Seemingly inspired by this scene of ‘manhood’, Yan Shi responded with a remarkable save after a ball was fired from the mid line. This penchant for mid-court attempts continued, but true to his craft, Yan Shi kept ’em balls out.
Halfway into the first period, however, another blow struck when Wei Chen was knocked aside once again and had to be out of play for the rest of the game due to an injured ankle. It didn’t quite sound like a floorball match any more when that many blows are delivered, but these trained professionals kept their focus and remained unfazed by their opponents’ less-than-amicable tactics.
So while Wei Chen recuperated on the side under the care of team member Gwyn, the rest of KE Floorball returned to challenge the opposing team, starting with ex-captain Vernon and his precision in the face of
tree-huggers three ‘huggers’. For a moment it seemed as if KR had began to identify our core players and were determined to shut them down.
Soccer skills also surfaced when the spectators were treated to an array of headers and kicks, especially on KR’s part. Unperturbed, Zhaoming arrived on scene with the SMC first-aid team and tended to Wei Chen, who watched on as his team mates battled furiously against their blue-blooded foes.
After a good team manoeuvre by Jerrard and Eugene against ‘Human Cannonball’ no. 3 from KR, the match hit a low point when KR’s no. 10 held on to the ball for a good minute while they contemplated their next move. A scuffle occurred midway, leading to a 2-minute penalty for Jerrard while coach JQ called for a time-out. Returning to the game 5 against 6, even Yan Shi could not protect KE from KR’s first goal of the match.
KR leads 1-0.
Battles aside, our players still had compassion in them for the ones who fell.
Eugene proceeded to the face-off, although KR regained possession. Taking the offensive, KR decided to take more attempts from the mid line but were denied by Yan Shi time and time again. Vernon’s footwork continued to fumble his opponents while Jerrard was jostled by a KR player who, subsequently, took a penalty for his misdeeds. At this point, KR decided a time-out was necessary.
Shortly after, the period ended and both teams switched sides. The score was 1:0 to KR and KE was eager to turn the tides. In came Wai Kit, Jerrard, Kenneth, Vikash, Alex and Yan Shi as they resolved to break even. At the same time, they had to manage the relentless meteor-esque game play from KR whose players moved like bowling balls. Amidst all the ten-pin action, Yan Shi delivered yet another nimble foot save.
10 minutes into the 2nd period, Alex nearly landed a shot for KE, leading the crowd to yet another wave of ‘ooh’s. No. 17, a.ka. KaRate Chop man from KR, meanwhile received a penalty for his blade fury attempt. A shot taken by KR nearly entered the goal before Yan Shi’s knees came to the rescue, and the ball was deftly cleared by Vikash. Feeling the pressure from having one man down, KR decided to up their defences.
Due to the sheer number of players KR had, doubling KE’s team, they had the liberty to put forth less experienced players while their core ‘heroes’ rested – one of which walked in circles on the same spot trying to find the ball that went out. Of course, due credit must be given to these players for their valiant efforts at the game, while our players trudged on in spite of exhaustion.
Changing their play, KR began to slip their players in the midst of KE’s defences in their attempt to catch our players off-guard. Seeing, however, that our players were quick to react, KR decided to call a time-out to re-discuss their strategy while coach JQ issued new instructions. Back after the time-out this time were Vernon, Darel, Zack, Eugene, Sritam and Yan Shi.
In the concluding moments of the second period, KaRate Chop man continued to chop on while no. 10 Captain Bulldozer from KR rammed his way around the court. A full line swap was called by KE, hoping to find an opening for the equalizer. Although none were found, Yan Shi ended the period with a precise catch that only made our adversaries more eager to return.
The final period seemed most intense in that KE was determined to make a comeback, while KR resolved to deny our players at all cost. The captain, however, was taken out shortly after the whistle due to a fall. When Vikash, too, fell victim to another opposing push, the offending KR player finally received a penalty.
In spite of the penalties taken, KR kept up the offensive and found an entry to pull the scores 2-0 in their favour. Having rested, Captain Eugene returned to the court and left KR’s no. 17 scrambling while Vikash took over and almost scored a point. KR returned the attack when their player went head-on with Yan Shi who blocked off two shots before conceding the 3rd. KR led 3-0.
Eventually, the veteran line (comprising Vikash, Eugene, Zach, Wai Kit, Vernon and Yan Shi) came together for the final push. After a difficult helmet block by Yan Shi, Wai Kit shot the ball into the opposing keeper’s hands; all this time, the team never relented and kept edging their way forward. However, an interception by KR somehow gave them the chance to seal the game, 4-0 to KR.
And as the players shook hands and returned to thank the supporters, the answer couldn’t be clearer. The one who feels most pressure could be a member of any of those ‘categories’, because that person isn’t a role; that person is a feeling, an embodiment of passion for the sport, and belief in the team. It is conviction for the game that gives one pressure, not the role that he or she has to perform.
So the same must be said for the measure of a man, in that pride can be found in honour, faith and resilience. Our players may have conceded a battle this evening, but who’s to say that we didn’t just win another? Who’s to deny us the fight we put up, of fair play and of dignity? For it is not the transient defeat that matters, but the lasting lesson we most recently acquired.
Well done, KE Floorball, for you are the teacher of that lesson.
(KR) 4 – 0 (KE)
Photos courtesy of KE Vision.