IBG 15/16: Soccer

Written by: Gabriel Boey Jie Yong

Edited by: Shervin Lim


Ah, yes, soccer, the one word that will either start a frenzy of passionate discussions or instil boredom quickly in the person you’re talking to. The one word that could either unite or divide people – just ask what English club they support, then sit back and enjoy the show. Yes, for some crazy people; for the people who arrived early to play with the balls, the ball is either a spherical emulation of their youthful spirits of restlessness and passion, or they really love balls. Either way, everyone could be certain that they were playing for glory and gore.

Tell me more about this ‘soccer’.

Tell me more about this ‘soccer’.

The game was played in an arena about the size of a badminton court, and each game lasted 8 minutes. The rules were fairly uncomplicated, so I didn’t have to explain what the offside rule was to the girlfriend I did not have. After an impatient delay, the first match began  and ‘the game kicked off’.

…yeah, nobody laughed when the soccer captain said it either. Oh well.

*

AB vs F (Male)

From the get-go it was clear what each of the teams wanted: possession. Both teams fought for the ball energetically and frantically, but mostly frantically; the ball slid out of bounds countless times, almost hitting KE Vision’s camera once! Both teams scuttled about for the longest time, with hard counter-kicks getting the ball out of play and some players even slipping and falling! Someone ought to give the guy in charge of waxing a lashing… or something.

Eventually, someone from AB took a shot that rammed into the F keeper. Quick to learn, AB stole the ball away shortly, took another kick, and this timefound a way into the net. It was the first goal and the crowd went wild! This was the pivotal turning point – here on out, everyone simultaneously lost the patience to defend, and the game became a full, free-for-all, mania of aggression towards the goal.

The seagulls from Finding Nemo as pictured. MINE MINE MINE.

The seagulls from Finding Nemo as pictured. MINE MINE MINE.

For whatever peculiar reason, it seemed that some of them were playing mind-games and trying to retain possession of the ball, with only two minutes left on the clock. Eventually, Xian Zhi from F scored a nimble goal between the AB keeper’s feet and equalized the game.

FINAL SCORE: AB 1-1 F (M)

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AB vs F (Female)

Due to a shortage of players, F Block’s Resident Fellow’s son was drafted to play… for AB! Dun-dun-dun! We were only into the second match and there was already a traitor in our midst!

Traitor as depicted just joking you’re still cool in my books bro

Traitor as depicted just joking you’re still cool in my books bro

There were no goalkeepers as it was still early in the series, so it was fairly reasonable that both teams started off on a slightly uncomfortable footing. However, as time progressed, it appeared that F took the offensive, while AB kept a more guarded stance.

Go, girls, go!

Go, girls, go!

There were times where I thought that they had snucked magnets under their clothes or something, because it was not an uncommon sight to see all of them congregate to take possession of the ball.  It felt like none of them knew how to proceed; an opportunity for AB to score was immediately wasted as the idea to run like hell escaped one of the players for a long, long time, and possession slipped from her as if in slow motion –somewhat reminiscent of the Matrix. It was only at the last minute that, after a tangle of bodies, one of the AB players finally located an opening to kick, allowing the ball to cruise merrily into the net. The whistle was blown and the match came to end.

FINAL SCORE: AB 1-0 F (F)

*

E vs GH (Male)

From the kick-off, all of us in the audience knew that this game would be a blast. I mean, literally. The game began with the ball flying across half the court, thereafter ricocheting off the side of the net in a resonant bang.

All of the players were good, yet one person – Joel – seemed to be responsible for most of the shots on goal. He sprinted across the court like a flaming juggernaut – taking crosses from his teammates neatly as his feet moved agilely to manoeuvre the ball away from his opponents. Every ball was fired at the goal with the speed of a bullet. His shots, however, were a little bit off-mark; the ball reflected off the crossbar and went off the court. A moment of silence for the ball-boy: it will be a long while before he can run like that any more.

Joel and his team-mates from E Block clearly dictated the pace of the game, as they pushed aggressively and aimed to strike as recklessly as possible. GH could only play defensive and wait for an opportunity to slip past the E Block players if they wished to connect the ball into the net for their goal. The cautious play and controlled bursts of speed to retain possession were evident on the side of the GH players as they endeavoured to keep up. Nonetheless, it felt like the pressure from E Block had gotten into them, and their subsequent shots were largely inaccurate.

Soon after refining their consistency of aggression, Joel scored a goal: one so lightning-quick and intense that it caught GH off-guard and sent the crowd in an uproar of cheers. Soon came a second, and then a third one from an impossible angle – each one catching the crowd by surprise and erupting in yells of euphoria and support.

E making the GH players show some ‘elegance’

E making the GH players show some ‘elegance’

FINAL SCORE: E 3-0 GH (M)

*

E vs GH (Female)

Another shortage of players meant that the match was once again played without a goalkeeper.  The game started with both parties slightly disoriented and the pace rather sluggish – turnovers led to other turnovers and sometimes confusion followed in the chaos. But the enthusiastic spirit that both of the teams put on and their desire to simply get out there and have as much fun as possible was definitely commendable –, even contagious as the atmosphere was mostly light-hearted at this point. Every one of us basked in the light of being in the midst of recreation and friends.

There were, however, some sparks of interest that ignited when some rather fierce and abrupt shots were fired by E Block. Most were futile; one of the shots was rather close even though the ball had hit the crossbar and riled the crowd’s interest for a moment.

In the end, despite E Block’s aggression, GH was able to fend them off valiantly to a stalemate.

FINAL SCORE: E 0-0 GH (F)

*

CD vs F (Male)

“I see we have finally started Inter-Block Games, that’s good”, one of the SMC members said drily, as CD Block kicked off with cheering: dampened at first, but fast evolving into a full-fledged rally cry: “Let’s go CD let’s go!” Well jeez man, I only brought DVDs, but if you insist…

The cheers definitely instilled some rejuvenation within the CD players, who immediately set the pace of play. Fast and nimble, they navigated the ball through arena with utmost elegance and with unrivalled speed. However, their possession was rather oscillatory with F’s, whose offense was definitely less coherent than CD’s. F, however, made up for it with a sufficiently annoying defence.

“I WANNA SEE SOME HUSTLE” – Non-existent coach on the bench

“I WANNA SEE SOME HUSTLE” – Non-existent coach on the bench

CD’s mistakes were rather frequent – the goalkeeper wandering outside his situated area to give F a free kick; one player volleying the ball over the fence; players almost slipping up for F to get a close call and netting a goal. In the final minutes of the game, however, CD managed to locate the cracks in F’s defence.  After a sizable mess in front of the goalpost, CD found itself two goals, scored by Ron and Joshua respectively. The feeling of relief was tangible in the atmosphere.

FINAL SCORE: CD 2-0 F (M)

*

CD vs F (Female)

At first, it was clear who was in control of the game: the rallying cries from CD managed to stir their spirits and get them to focus on the game with greater concentration than their opponents. To me, the dexterity in handling the ball that CD had on display definitely proved it. F Block, on the other hand,  seemed disorientated from the first game: one of the F Block girls composed herself , examined the ball with care, eased her foot to connect with the ball… before the ball promptly went out of bounds once more. Eventually, CD took advantage of the mistakes F made, sliding the ball into the net after Cheyenne, the CD goalkeeper, let it fly past her hands. Someone should have gotten her a coffee or something.

Exhibit A: Goal

Exhibit A: Goal

This was enough to make the F girls wake up, after which they began to fight for possession and made attempts to try and net a goal. They did inch ever so close at times: one of the F girls managed to catch a cross with her chest and almost leveraged the momentum into a goal. There was also another time when they were just a few inches away, but the ball ricocheted off the side of the post.  Ultimately, the fights for possession left both of them in a stalemate, and  no more goals were scored until the final whistle was blown.

FINAL SCORE: CD 1-0 F (F)

*

Some stray observations for the rest of the day:

  1. You’d expect the atmosphere to be more intense and impassioned, with encouragement from the bench for their team to annihilate the opponents. But this is no Premier League – this was ,rather, a time for people to relax and play some games. So while the spirit was relatively muted, a sense of calmness and serenity dominantly permeated the air. Despite some ephemeral flares of enthusiasm, the audience was perfectly content to let their players get out there and have fun, which I believe is way more important than winning. This philosophy is totally not a consolatory thought child of someone who has never won in a sport before.
  2. Some teams (who eventually emerged as winners) were clearly more experienced than others – and their blocks happened to be the most vocal in their desire for victory. Coincidence? Maybe so, maybe not. Either way, even the rest of the crowd was in clear admiration for some of the really wicked shots on display.
  3. Sportsmanship was definitely a standard upheld to a tee here in the arena – slips, falls and injuries seemed to occur occasionally, but the enemy team refused to let the concept of a quest for championship obtrude their concern for their fellow residents. Perhaps this was most evident when Dr Chen’s son was playing: it took a great deal of care to ensure that he wasn’t stomped on by the rest of the players. That’ll be an image that will surely not make the blog. *shivers*

And now, drum roll please.

*dadadadadadadadadadadadaDING*

*

Overall results:

Block AB CD E F GH
AB 0-1 [M]

0-1 [F]

0-2 [M]

0-1 [F]

1-1 [M]

1-0 [F]

0-2 [M]

1-1 [F]

CD 1-0 [M]

1-0 [F]

1-1 [M]

1-1 [F]

2-0 [M]

1-0 [F]

1-2 [M]

1-0 [F]

E 2-0 [M]

1-0 [F]

1-1 [M]

1-1 [F]

1-0 [M]

0-0 [F]

3-0 [M]

0-0 [F]

F 1-1 [M]
0-1 [F]
0-2 [M]

0-1 [F]

0-1 [M]
0-0 [F]
1-1 [M]
0-4 [F]
GH 2-0 [M]

1-1 [F]

2-1 [M]

0-1 [F]

0-3 [M]

0-0 [F]

1-1 [M]
4-0 [F]

And so our winning teams are the guys of E Block and the girls of the CD Block! I wish I had brought my confetti cannon or something but they would not have let me get it past the paper! Oh well.

Final Ranking:
1st — CD
2nd — E
3rd — GH
4th — AB
5th — F

Congratulations everyone! It doesn’t matter if you wrecked or got wrecked – we hope that you enjoyed yourselves – audience and players alike.This concludes the IBG for Soccer. Hope to see more players next year!

8 9 10 11 12

Photos courtesy of KE Vision.

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