A part of my heart, a part of TEAM NUS.. 4 memorable years of SUNIG..
By: Sarah Tan
“Just do my best because this is my first SUNIG for Aquathlon..”
which was I was thinking when someone asked me what were my expectations for the race. And then, it hit me; that it was going to be my first, yet my last SUNIG for not only Aquathlon, but also, for Cross-country; most importantly, for NUS. Which also prompted me to write this reflection, not only for myself; but also for my teammates and friends, current and future, to encourage them to train hard and fight to make it into the team to represent the school.
I was never from a sports background in secondary school unlike some of my friends; and was only in an average sports team in JC because soccer was not an area my JC particularly paid attention to. I joined because it was fun and I could do with losing some weight, made good friends and had some fun experiences playing in the A’divisions, but it was only when I entered NUS and joined the NUS Soccer team that I learnt about the satisfaction of playing competitively, and what more, for an institution that really places pride on sports team identity.
Soon after I joined Soccer, I thought that perhaps running would be able to make me fitter in games, so I decided to try out the Cross Country team. With the soccer girls and Coach Arasu, I really had opportunities to play with many different teams and I would never forget the fun times we had in KL and Shah Alam. And definitely, the many trainings for SUNIG and Invitationals; all the goals to beat NTU, for whatever shortcomings I had, I was motivated to work hard to improve myself so as to better contribute to the team. Although I didn’t make it into the team in Yr 3, I really want to thank all you girls for the awesome experiences I had – MIN LI (really enjoyed all the HTHT sessions 😉 ), Jiayu (always disturb me, but I forgive u!), Yi Ting (the forever solid keeper), Kat, Azlin (thanks for always being so encouraging), Tixi (thanks for being my TH roomie!!), Pei Qi, Yan Bing, Sher, Audrey & Emily (Kpop buddies!), Pam, PRIS (my soci buddy 🙂 ), Sarah Ng, Wen Ting, Yun Xiu, Ulrica, Angie, Sooks, Huixin, Jes, Jaslyn, Khai, Isty, Yin Hong, Candy…
Now, for Cross-country, which I only started at the end of Yr 1, it was another whole-new experience for me, who was never in competitive running. Learnt to like intervals (especially doing and complaining with Cai Sang 😉 ) and also learnt that running was NOT only about running. Also had a chance to compete in my first overseas competition recently in Jarkarta BIG 2012 – which was really an awesome experience with all the friends I’ve made & a dream come true when I achieved a podium-finish. Made it into the SUNIG team in Yr 2 & 3, whereby we did really well in, and this sunday, I would be racing in my final SUNIG as vice captain, hopefully everything goes well… But what’s also important is the friends I’ve made in the running circle because of cross, got to meet some of the superstars – Ruiyong, Huaqun, Renuka (i mean in a positive way!), Xinqi, who taught me that running was not only about talent and passion, sacrifices had to be made to be able to do really well. Yes, achieving a podium-finish may look easy, but I doubt anyone would know the number of hours and discipline put into perfecting the running style, improving the splits by seconds… And also the close friends that I would say, played a huge role in my uni social life – Siew Min, Anne, Zak, Tricia, Emain, Cai Sang, ShanQi, MEI HUI; I’m really missing the times we had together 🙂
Lastly, for Aquathlon, which I started only sometime last year, when I thought that I should fill in the void which soccer trainings used to occupy & also to improve my swim. Honestly, I’ve always thought that the Aquathlon team was really scary, seeing people training up to 3 times a day, and still doing well in every other thing. After spending almost a year with the team, I still think that its sick to train 2-3 times a day, 7days a week; but the team is not full of scary people, but friends who trained hard to push their limits and still knew how to have fun 🙂 Besides just training, I also learnt how important team support was for the overall morale and performance of the team, which I had experienced in my first Aquathlon SUNIG at ECP (& sadly also my last :((( ). I really wish that I am able to contribute more to help the girls get back our gold next year SUNIG but the only thing I can offer is my continual presence at trainings to motivate and help the rest 🙂 But I would really like to thank COACH DAVID for being such a motivating and supportive coach (taking photos during our race, offering words of encouragements during the trainings & races) & also the seniors, who constantly return to offer advice, motivation, support & your undying passion for the sport (Lemin, Jon Ma, Christine, Dex, Darren, JJ, Kevin, Yingliang, Gen, Jason) – I think the team really really appreciates you guys! Thanks also to my fellow Lane 9-ers (sorry coach, it really exists!): Debbie, William, ChunHui, John, Mathias, Nazri, Charis, Ken, Subra; let’s use this “lane-identity” to spur each other on for training attendance & best-improvements (which I already see in like all of you..hahhahas). Finally, thank you to the girls team (Sherlynn, Sara Ng, Enid, Clara, Mel, Debbie, Chun Hui,Charis) for racing hard last Saturday & putting up a good fight against the other unis. Let’s train hard to beat them next sem!
This note might be really long but it really expresses my heartfelt thanks to all mentioned & the teams :)Give your all, not only for yourself, all the hard work put in, but for all those around you…
Jackie & Emelyne:
Hello Hi HEY my fellow teammates! They say the third time’s the charm, and this time we have a real charm, Melvin Lee Kok Seng, or better known as the masterrapper 50 Seng! Demure, dedicated and dashing(ly fast), Melvin has been in the team for quite a while and is quite the figure on the track. With his recognizable hair and slim frame, his consistent pace and speed each round during intervals speaks volumes of his dedication to the sport and his running talent. He also once served as captain for the team two years ago, bringing much positive energy and change, providing a direction to form what the team it is today. Recently, Melvin offered to write a bit for the blog, and we gladly accepted. A lighthearted piece, let’s see what he has to share about the recent events in the team! 😀
New Season, New Happenings
50 Seng is back!!! Emelyne says it’s time for me to blog so Shizzle my Nizzle…Wassup fellas!
This season is looking great man with new faces, more peeps returning from overseas yo.
Ee Ghim, Kelly and Tricia are back and looking fantastic. I expected Ee Ghim to come back with a few extra love handles after all the American burgers and ice cream. But he’s looking fit and fab and he’s back throwing Frisbees. Meanwhile Kelly and Tricia are looking great during Sunday Run. FYI Kelly ran from her house in the East to Macritchie did 8km and ran back home. These girls make me look bad…
I’m excited about new faces joining our team after matric fair. So far we have our one and only and absolutely charming Eugene. That innocent smile that can melt a girl’s heart…those wise words of wisdom, “Meeting girls are like investments, you need to diversify and keep your options open…give me Hanyu’s number…”Absolutely love Eugene. Like I always say, he runs with no fear and he laps up every interval. No sweat buddy.
When school starts, Eugene and I are supposed to hang out more with Thiagu in the central library. We’re eyeing new eligble freshies to beef up our girls’ enrolment.. Sigh…we’re always thinking of the team…such selfless individuals.
And yes, we had many great events in the month of July. We celebrated Valerie’s Birthday! I love birthdays…with each year we gain more wisdom and wrinkles. Yay. Haha. The barcelos chicken was really yummy and Kudos to Eric for organsing such a wonderful event with booty shaking at the after party. So sweet of Eric =) =)
Then there was the Jurong Lake Run. We sent in 3 teams and did really well. The girls came in 2nd with Zakiyah doing a record breaking time of 62min for the 10km. The guys came in 3rd. The selfless Yannick and Jovian paced Emelyne to a stunning 5th position while they came back in an equally stunning 45min. Well done guys =)
Results aside, the run was really beautiful. I love the Chinese garden and its beautiful scenery. The 1st time we went there was with Chun Kai and Jin Yang during an easy run and air is so fresh and the Chinese architecture is intricate with its pagodas and ancient style bridges. And it was nice to reunite with the graduating/ “graduating soon” seniors Yap Xiong, Benedict, Roy, Mel (lim and tan) as Team Okami.
Last of all, our very own Zhenghong has released his own music album with 9 original songs. He wrote the music and lyrics himself. I nearly cried when I put on my earphones. Such pure emotion…such beautiful themes of love and loss.
The songs are available for free download at: loganliu.bandcamp.com
For those who would like to get their CD’s autographed, please head down to Sheares hall when school reopens. There will be a meet-the-fans session at a later date. I heard that there will be a long line of girls so the waiting time is 30min. But well worth the wait. I heard free hugs are available from 10.30pm onwards (girls only).
That’s all folks.
PS: Here’s a reminder to Norman to fix Emaine’s keyboard. She’s still typing in CAPS LOCK.
Spread the Love yo!
Jackie & Emelyne:
Hello Hi HEY dear teammates! This is our second Story of the Month, written by the one and only AZRUL AZMI!!! Recently liberated from the confines of academia, he has offered to contribute to this month’s page. Who is this person, you might ask? SHAME ON YOU! This dashing character served as our captain for the AY10/11. Despite his captaincy in his final year, he served responsibly and admirably. What drives this young man? What does Cross Country mean to him? Read on and find out!
Before I knew it, three years had gone by. As I reminisce the times I had with the NUS X-Team, I began to realize what the team meant to me. So, in my eyes, this is what the team stands for…
Nurture me when I’m naive
When I took up the appointment of captain, it was more challenging than I had expected. It was different from the other leadership roles that I’d undertaken. Situations could not be handled the way I handled it during my army days. Fortunately for me, there was always someone in the team to guide me when sticky situations arose.
Unveil the potential in me
Well, I can safely say that I would not be able to run as fast as I do now without the constant training that I had with the team and the guidance that coach has given. All the intervals I feared, the breathless slopes, the fartlek that hurts and the never ending long runs – I could not have done it on my own.
Stay by my side when I’m down
Throughout the three years with team, there were several moments when I was really down, being it emotionally, physically or academically. However, the team was always beside me with care and love to pull me through those tough times.
X-tending your hands to assist me
From the birthday celebrations to the X-Camp, these events would not have been a success without help from the team. Therefore, my committee and I are truly grateful for the team’s generosity in sacrificing their time and energy to make each event a blast!
Travelling to places with me
I never really got a chance to travel out of Singapore. Hence, I always look forward to the overseas trips that we had. It’s not really the places that make it exciting and fun, but the company that I had during the trip (:
Entertained me with the fun and laughter
Even though training was tough, I always look forward to it. Amidst the monotonous routines, there were always jokes being cracked and interesting conversations that would make an otherwise gloomy training atmosphere more vibrant and happy.
Aspiring me to keep on running
I never knew why people run or how they have the motivation to run before I joined the team. I can still clearly remember my first training, which was an interval session at CCAB. It was painful and the thought of giving up before I barely started was there. But now, I’m addicted to running.
Making my Uni life memorable
My Uni life would have been empty without the team. Not only that I did not stay in hall, I hardly know anyone. You guys are the ones that add colours to the plain canvas which is now a beautiful portrait. A portrait that is both memorable and meaningful.
Whether to be a monkey or a gazelle, or to join climbing or running, that was what went through my mind when I came into NUS. I guess it was a blessing in disguise when I was rejected by the monkey colony. Or else, I would not be running free with the gazelles right now… thanks for running with me!
Jackie & Emelyne:
Hello Hi Hey dear Crossers! Welcome to our new feature, the “Story of the Month”. Under this page, our very own team members will write a bit about themselves: their past, their present and their hopes, dreams and futures in Cross Country. This month, we have our very first writer for this exciting inaugural page, Nicholas Tey Kian Heng or just “Nic” to the rest of us. Nic has been with the team for the longest time now, and he is a great guy. A funny and an equally fun character, he is also single. *hinthint* What drives this passionate man in our team? Without further ado, read on to find out!
Running: My life teacher
As I write on my running experience, I still somehow find it amazing that I am still in this sport, given my passion and love for football (I actually play it as well). While some may run for the love and pride of winning, some run for the passion, but I think I am someone who runs not just for the passion of sport, but also running for the life experience n for my character development.
Sounds philosophical, but that was how I saw running and its beauty that kept me in this sport till this very day.
My involvement in running starting like 11 years ago, where I was first approached by my PE HOD to join the newly established cross country team. At that time, I was pondering if I should change a CCA as I wasn’t too happy at the basketball team. I understood that I was approached due to by track record at 2.4km runs for the fitness tests. I didn’t know what to expect then, but I decided to take the plunge of faith and went for it.
Sec 3 was my 1st time I had some form of proper training, as the school had a trainee teacher who had running background. Under his training and guidance, I felt I ran faster and quite well, as I was in the top 3 in the school’s cross country meet and YES, made my maiden appearance in national schools’ cross country. Although my team didn’t qualify for the finals at Macritchie reservoir, it was a good experience and enjoyed it pretty much.
However, things turned out not so well the following year, as the trainee teacher left the school, means no more proper training.=( Although I made my 2nd appearance at the nationals, I lost the motivation to train, especially it was my o’level year where I was bidding to enter junior college. At that point of time, besides just running, there was a lack of meaning and purpose. I thought, “Well, it’s time to go for my passion in soccer.” So it turned out that way that the focus was to soccer and studies. Running was out of the picture.
After entering MI due to a “blackjack”, I thought I could do something else, or even go and play soccer for a school team (which almost I got it until injury struck). However, somehow circumstances and the spirit in me just somehow guided me back to running again. I never understood why or how I still wanted to run, but my heart felt unsatisfied from my previous running experience in secondary school. So, I chose to just “run on” and joined the cross country team.
This experience in MI was a mixture of good and bad. But I want to focus on the good: I began to see something through running: Life’s a journey that requires one to keep going and realized that a lot of things in life is closely related to running, studies for example. I began to know a little better of myself, how I see things, how I react to positive and negative experiences and many more. This was the first time I felt there’s a purpose, a meaning to running, and life. Even if there was a dip, it was a good experience to learn how to cope with it.
Since then, my approach to running is more of looking to improve myself, not just the timings, but also in my personality and character. Just this past season, I decided to be more consistent and focused in my training and it was a very good journey. This satisfaction and happiness is beyond the breakthroughs that I have obtained, as I have learnt a number of lessons, which one of them is to learn to manage transitions of life, where it is one of my biggest weaknesses in life. I believe that it was really through the experiences I had with running this season to cause me to learn to be more courageous to face my transitions head on. I believe that and the other lessons I have learnt during this time, made me a better and stronger person.
Running’s one of the most beautiful sport that I have ever experienced. The beauty of it is not about the winning. I learnt that winning is more than the winning of awards or stuff, it’s really about improving oneself to be better than the previous time, may it be just running timings, or physical fitness or even beyond the physical things, the deeper things of character, joy, passion and personality.
For example, under pressure of training, it shows the weaknesses of one’s running that causes one’s performance to be not so ideal. Once we know the issues, we will learn from it and work on it to improve our performance. It is the same thing for our lives. We will always be under pressure and from time tot time, the pressure will reveal those cracks of weaknesses. These cracks is not meant to destroy or demoralize(though initial feeling may feel so), but to work on those areas and improve them. I believe the key to becoming a better n stronger person is to be humble to receive and make an effort to improve it. All of us are not perfect and all these pressures are meant to train us up, just like running training, so as to be ready for future challenges ahead, which I am sure it’s going to be tough. Without such training, I believe I would find it hard to cope with the challenges. With that mindset and attitude, and the support and encouragement from various people, I am sure one will grow and bring out the beauty of the human spirit and running as a sport.
Growth is key to us coping with tougher challenges and I sincerely believe that running is a good place to accelerate our learning process and understand life as we move on to our respective phases of life.
I hope this entry can inspire those who are looking for the meaning of running, and encourage those who are going thru the tough times and keep going. Let me end of with something I learnt:
Form, glory and honour is temporary, BUT SPIRIT, CLASS AND CHARACTER is PERMANENT.
CHEERS AND BE BLESSED!=)
And that’s it folks. Thanks for reading the interesting and personal sharing. Like how Nic stepped up to write about his experiences and motivation, we (Jackie and Eme) too hope that more will offer to share their stories with us. Even though Cross Country is a team of unique individuals, we are nonetheless bounded by the things we love: running and each other in the team. So do drop us an email or even a facebook message ya, if you’d like to give it a try.