Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From One Bee to Another

12.15 pm, 25 September 2008.

A bird and a bee were found in Dalat International School, engrossed in talk on the recent Z'Liners-PFA Floorball Challenge (Juniors).
[Unbeknownst to the bipeds, they had been watching the whole thing.]

Excerpts from their conversation:

Bee: ...and the kid they call 'Julian', he was buzzing around, he sure wazzzz.
Bird: When?
Bee: The first game. Even before that he was already--
Bird: Oh! Kestrels against F-Jr; I loved that match...
Bee: ...because the Kestrels won, that's why you loved it. 2-0. Fact is, Dalat's naturally stronger. Though you must admit, F-Jr did give it a reasonable shot.
Bird: I heard that Team Manager of theirs telling 'em not to burn themselves out because they had more of a chance to win in the next game.
Bee: You eavesdropper. Anyway, F-Jr was slightly clumped up, really. Didn't spread out enough. The Kestrels, now they knew how to play. Beautiful passes, great team-play on the whole.
Bird: F-Jr was a wee bit blur. Though their captain was running everywhere. But true enough, the Kestrels were more organized. F-Jr needs more training, that's all.
Bee: You think Dalat's overrated? Just cause they're all non-Malaysian?


Bird: I heard Lin Ken saying that the Juniors're boring. Slow-paced, actually.
Bee: Eavesdropper.
Bird: Now I'm no chicken (I'm a crow), but it didn't seem safe to go near F-Jr vs fireBrands I2.
Bee: Now that was like... the clash of the cat and the dog.
Bird: Cats and dogs don't fight. Why once, a dog was helping a cat catch me.
Bee: Both sides were pretty even, though F-Jr had a lil' more skils. Still, teamwork wasn't really their forte.
Bird: True. Credits to fireBrands I2 for a few nice passes and efforts at teamplay.
Bee: Both sides were warned for slashing. Just warned.
Bird: Interesting game. fireBrands I2 kept on making the score even. Close match.
Bee: And finally F-Jr delivered a goal. That boy Sachin was yelled at, though. Captain and Team Manager were busy reprimanding him for slack defending. Frankly, he was a bit blur.
Bird: Sachin still has many years to go. And so do all the other juniors. Let's just hope they stay at it.
Bee: fireBrands I2 just need more vigorous training. F-Jr could really do a lot more when it comes to teamplay and positioning.


Bee: Sachin has a sister --another floorballer. Sonia, I think. She could help him.
Bird: If she would.


Bee: They had to win this match, the F-Jr, to have a chance in the semis.
Bird: And they did. 1-0.
Bee: Somehow pulled off a win against the Hoppers. Learnt from their mistakes, perhaps.
Bird: A well-deserved win, I reckon.
Bee: You think so?


Bird: Pity, F-Jr didn't make the cut. At least they were 6th, after losing to the Jumpers.
Bee: 3-0. Slightly tired already. From where I saw 'em play. Though they did improve as compared to the first match.
Bird: 6th. Respectable enough?

(The unanswered questions from the dialogue art for thine own pondering.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Z'liners-PFA Floorball Challenge 2008: Official Report

In the recent Z'Liners-PFA Floorball Challenge, blither-blather-blither...

A little too ordinary... so let's be unorthodox and go for a totally neutral, straightforward report on all the happenings of the last few weeks.

Frontliners Floorball Club and Ztec 8cers teamed up, along with Penang Floorball Association, to organize this tournament. This tournament was divided into three categories: Juniors, Women and Open. The first two are rather self-explanatory while the Open meant that anyone could play, even them tall and strong foreigners.

The Juniors and Women's games were held on the 13th of September; the Open one week later. The game format slightly differed for each category: Juniors being a 3v3, Women's a 4v4 and Open another 4v4 but with goalie.

In the Juniors' category, eight teams had registered: Two from Dalat, Contact and Firebrands, and one from Frontliners and Ztec. Of the lot, Dalat and Contact were probably the ones expected to fight it out for first place. Not many surprises, but there were some thrills, especially the hard-fought 3-2 seesaw win by F-Jr over fireBrands I2.

Dalat Kestrels (kestrel=small falcon), consisting of them not-so-tall but still taller than most players easily triumphed, with Dalat Falcons coming in second. Contact Hoppers defeated Ztec to win the bronze.

Jared Williams and Jordan Nagel of Falcons, and also Eythan Yeoh of Hoppers impressed the organizers enough to be named in the All-Star team.

Click below for results and standings.

The Junior's category officially ended, warming up whatever crowd there was for the Women's games. Again, there were eight teams: two from MGS and Frontliners, with USM, Contact, Innebandy and FGA all sending one team.

Looking at the registered names, it seemed that gold would be closely contested by Frontliners Fury, UniHawks, Contact Sugar and Innebabes, each boasting players of reasonable (comparative) quality: Fury with Kungfu Spartan Sharron and Pei Li; UniHawks with the almighty Sarah and sidekicks Wai Wai and Dawn; Sugar with hypermouse (term borrowed from Yi Lin) Penny and Sheryn, sister-of-almighty; plus Innebabes with sharpshooter Valerie and Elaine.

On that day itself it immediately became a three-horse race after Sharron pulled out of Fury, citing diarrhea and fever. Bar a miracle, it was impossible that Fury could muster a challenge on gold, being drawn into a group along with Sugar and Innebabes.

UniHawks kicked off the day with a great 7-0 rout of E&P of FGA. The Elephants and Pineapples were simply outrun, outplayed and outclassed. Tania was kept in constant check by the defence and, really, had no one to pass to anyway.

In the group that consisted of UniHawks, Ednamodes, E&P and Inferno, it was a race between the first two to score as many as possible. One that UniHawks easily won and went on to record an amazing 16 goals with just 1 against. Inferno took third spot with a lesser negative-goal-difference than E&P's.

In the other group, it was a more tightly-strung affair as Innebabes, Sugar and Fury all scrapped for the two qualifying places available. Innebabes did Sugar a favor, handing them the final qualifying spot, defeating Fury comfortably, 2-0.

E&P and Violets fought for the distinction of not being last, the former drawing first blood but Violets' equalizer meant penalties. From about 7m out, neither team seemed to be able to hit the target until Violets succeeded in rolling the ball across the line.

A delicious derby on the cards next: Fury, sorely-wounded animals against Inferno, who were hoping for an upset to claim bragging rights in Frontliners. Both playing with four and four players alone, Fury took advantage of their opponent's inexperience and ran out 4-0 winners; Inferno never once crossing their own half-way line.

It was in the semi-finals that the one genuine upset occurred: the game where UniHawks conceded their only goal and lost their only game, to Sugar. It all looked even throughout the match, Sheryn successfully neutralizing Sarah's threat and finding lots of joy in doing so, until an unfortunate mistake at the back by Wai Wai led to Sheryn scoring the only goal.

In the other semi-final, Innebabes defeated Ednamodes by a whisker of a goal, setting up a final clash with Sugar.

UniHawks gained scant consolation, thrashing Ednamodes 5-0 for bronze. A spate of own-goals did not help Ednamodes with their defence in shambles. Credit to them for being probably the loudest team that day, though.

Another closely-fought match -the final between Sugar and Innebabes, however, Sugar proved too much for Innebabes, and when they scored the one and only goal of the match, it never looked as if Innebabes were going to recover.

Sarah of UniHawks, predictably, ran out as top scorer with nine goals. Dawn also of UniHawks gained the Top Assists award (no such thing as Assist-er, is there?). The All-Star team comprised of Penny, Sarah, Valerie and Sheryn.

Click below for results, standings and charts.

Along came the rain, the crowd, and the action one week later. It poured in torrents, still Dalat was filled to the rafters. Fifteen teams had registered: an astounding four from Ztec, three from Contact and USM, two from Frontliners and Salibandy, and one from Dalat. Innebandy did not participate.
Group A consisted of Salibandy JJ, Contact Safari, Z3, UniHawks and 300 of Frontliners. UniHawks swept the competition away, winning all their matches and easily registering 11 goals for and none against, with the likes of the strapping Scandinavians Kimmo and Pirrka in the team.It was recorded as a 2-0 win, in UniHawks' match with Z3, though the ball had found its way into the net three times (the last an awesome drag shot!), a refereeing mix-up ensured the score remained as it was, to the fury of Edward.Group B had Salibandy JS, UnderDawgs Zirconium, Spartans, Z2 and Contact Army. The highlight of this group was when Zirconium, aided by good fortune and remarkable last-ditch defending, heroically held eventual champions Army to a goalless draw, thus sending Spartans through in first place.Group C contained Dalat Buzzards, Z4, UnderDawgs Titanium, Ztec 8cers and Contact Driver. One of the most thrilling games in the tournament happened here, when Titanium played Buzzards. It was an extremely physical battle as most of the players weren't small and tiny Malaysians but giant foreigners. Honours shared this game, and Buzzards went on to top the group.Valiant Salibandy JS lost to UniHawks 1-2 in the first quarter. The other three were goalless and had to go to penalties. The goalkeepers turned out to be the heroes; Suleen of Titanium and Sharron of Spartans, so it was UniHawks against Army and Titanium versus Spartans for the semi-finals.However, first to decide the 5th to 8th placings. The strangest thing the crowd witnessed was in the 7th/8th placing match where Jun Wooi was forced to pull on the goalie's jersey. This helped Salibandy JJ to snatch 7th place right from under Buzzards' noses, 1-0.Just as their ladies did, UniHawks did not make it to the final after Army put on a superb showing to keep Kimmo and Co. quiet. 1-0 to Army. In the other semi-final, it was a backs-to-the-wall job by Spartans as they defended desperately, riding their luck against the bigger and faster Titanium. It went to penalties, and SanJeevan scored the decisive penalty to send them through as Sharron again saved from the spot.

It was a breathtaking derby match; Titanium versus UniHawks. A fast paced-encounter, and five goals were scored, but the match finally ended in UniHawks' favor, 3-2.
A rematch of the earlier game in which both teams drew blanks, then. Spartans went ahead in the second minute after Pei Li smashed in the rebound after robbing David of the ball, but one lapse of concentration proved fatal and Nicholas equalized exquisitely in the seventh minute.

Army proved the more experienced and won 1-0 on penalties.
Kimmo won the Top Scorer award, notching up an amazing 12 goals (he scored 75% of UniHawks' goals!) and his teammate, Pirrka, won Top Assists. Sharron, Sanjeevan, James, Kimmo and Johannes made it into the All-Star team.

Click below for results, standings and charts.
*Coming up... it's been a little too neutral, so we'll have a little one-sided, uninterrupted and probably a little biased thinking session by Tania, Sonia and Pei Li.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

...Happily (Ever After)

*This post was written by fellow Frontliner Kew Pei Li, on her personal experience in the Z'liners-PFA Floorball Challenge: Part 2

It rained that evening and all I wanted was some hippo time to wallow alone.

In fairytales just when things cannot get uglier in the dark of night, the first stroke of dawn sounds and light breaks through. (No fairy godmothers here, thank you.)

For me, it started that very Saturday with Liverpool's win over Man United, but the less said the better, in view of Coach Jason's allegiances. Then the next Saturday, this time with play open to both male and female, I didn't expect much, not with Kuan Yang and Jason organizing and not playing. Didn't expect to pass the group stage, even.

But to reach the finals and win the silver?


For the first game I felt like I had iron weights tied to my feet. The usual springs were gone and I was leaden-footed. A goalless draw, and a scrappy game at the most, but fair enough, allowance given for this warm-up match.

Then Megan, though not playing, spoke once only: "Just tell yourself to keep on running."

There was tiny belief when we started off. It grew as we qualified; got bigger as we entered the semi's and reached its peak when we went ahead in the final.

Less than four minutes for Contact Army to save the world.

They did, anyway, and in the end it was about three seasoned penalty-takers against three rookies. All effort put in by Sharron, magnificent so far, could not stop one shot from creeping in. And of all people to take the penalty that would decide whether they struck gold or not:

Me, who had never taken a penalty before until that day.


At least it was on target.

So to recap, though Happily Ever After has its costs, this unbelievable run was worth it all: the disappointment the previous week, the broken stick (cruel irony, I'd just gotten the grip replaced the day before), the bruises and bumps gained.

...although I wish I were bigger. Like Sharron, at least. Then I wouldn't bounce off bigger players like Sherwynd and Uncle David or be blown over by the slightest gust of wind.

Experience is a great teacher. I've learnt a lot as team manager and player; that if I try to do too much I'd end up not doing anything well and feel very frustrated and disappointed. I enjoyed myself, in a way, but having said that, I probably won't volunteer at being team manager anytime soon. Leave the grunt work to the males and just be happy, ordinary Me.

No prince to carry me off, but I'll definitely live happy for a few days (ever after will only happen when I die) then get back to the grindstone.

Bet on it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Once Upon A Time...

*This post was written by fellow Frontliner Kew Pei Li, on her personal experience in the Z'liners-PFA Floorball Challenge: Part 1.

I love fairytales for their happy endings. Call it what you want, I'm not a romantic, merely... old-fashioned, in a way. Although I admit I don't very much care about the female finding her one true love and being carried off into the sunset, 'past the gates of splendor into fairylands forlorn'.

They all start with 'Once upon a time' -ses, and so does mine. Four weeks before today, I get a call from Jason and was given the job to gather what I can of the ladies left in Frontliners and make two respectable teams, if possible.

So start the phone calls and the hike in my telephone bill which my dad is looking rather aggrieved about. Calling up everyone I know with about a 1 in 10 success rate (okay, so I don't have many girl-friends), and I get a rough draft of my teams.

Two weeks later I more or less have two teams of five to six players after much cajoling and demanding. Now to sort out the tactics and mind games before the real day. I plead with my friends to 'go fish' and get information from their friends in other teams, and at the end I know more or less everything I need to.

Simple enough.

Now the plot thickens as always, when the evil stepmother comes into the picture to disrupt the happy kingdom. People start pulling out. It adds and adds and adds, equaling to one major headache.

It's still okay, I can deal with it.

Then comes the stormy night when everything seems doomed to fail. And on these days even the gods seem to conspire against you...

Dah-lah I was already running on empty, spending the whole night arranging tactics and stuff to do when all I wanted to do was lie down and get some shuteye. And then in the morning I get Death's phone call, telling me He wanted Sharron.

Okay, actually it was Sharron, saying she was down with fever and diarrhea. Strike One.

And then two matches into the tournament, Yi Lin hobbles over to me and shakes her head. Cramps struck her over and over again, even with the bananas generously donated by UniHawks and the constant, rapt attention of the medics. Strike Two.

Now all I had left of my team were players who hadn't played in months and no substitutes left to use. Strike Three, and you're out.

The better teams won, most definitely, but I was incredibly disappointed because the end results did not equal the efforts put in.

The 4-0 win in the so-called derby win over Frontliners Inferno did little to help; it didn't count much because they too were depleted after last-minute pullouts.

It rained that evening and all I wanted was some hippo time to wallow alone.

Double-Faced Floorballer

*This post was written by fellow Frontliner Tania Loke, on her personal experience in the Zliners-PFA Floorball Tournament.

I'd gotten used to fireBRANDS/FGA-ers accusing me of betraying them in the big yet small world of floorball. And now, a certain Frontliner quipping (to someone else who then told me) that I had betrayed FFC was something new. In this world of alliances and allegiances, I had my fun. Lots of it, really.

Face #01: F-Jr's Asst. Team Manager

After what he claimed to be "some consideration", Coach Jason Chan decided to give me the job as Team Manager Kew Pei Li was unavailable. Sweet. Though I still haven't gotten any pay...

F-Jr (as I saw it) was raring to go, pumped up: Captain (yes, Captain) Julian "Energizer Battery" Tan being the most restless of the lot. Can't blame the three (Julian, Wayne Yong, Tristen James) after they'd suffered from floorball deficiency for a few months.

Now unfortunately that job of mine didn't come with a job description, so I busied myself shouting at them under-14s about how clumped up they were and urging them to take more shots while telling Tristen that being a substitute didn't mean a full-game bench.

The Kestrels (Dalat) beat us fair and square. Next up, them juniors had fun beating up Firebrands I² (with me relishing every goal we scored against that particular team). We all knew that the last game had to be won to stand a chance to fight in the semis, and F-Jr delivered a stunning win against Contact Hoppers (who, by the way, beat the Kestrels).

Very, very unfortunately, we hadn't really considered goal difference, and were relegated to the 5th/6th match. The four F-Jr players were obviously disappointed, myself too. Nevertheless, we did rake up a respectable 6th place.

Face #02: E&P's Team Manager and Captain

Elephants are slow and pineapples, well, they don't really move much. And so E&P were late, arriving 30 minutes later than expected. Which meant insufficient time for warm-ups and almost no time for a briefing.

And so 6 floorball noobs were pitted against the UniHawks. At every face-off I told the UniHawk I was facing to consider the stark inequality of the two sides: tall (some ex-) mahasiswa-mahasiswi against relatively short, inexperienced secondary school students.
A Pineapple was sent off for putting her roots in the crease. E&P had close to no hope, six players having not much knowledge about floorball. We lost rather tamely, and I didn't bother to remember the score, frankly.

With 8 minutes to spare till the next match, I hurriedly enlightened the Elephants and Pineapples as much as I could. I desperately wanted to win against Frontliners Inferno and would've been more than disappointed if we lost. After all, we had (wo)manpower on our side.

I'd thought about Sonia Frances Gopal going on the offensive against E&P before, but I didn't prepare much when it came to strategy. Tactics don't really work on new floorballers, really. And so she did, after all, revert from that defensive spot and run past Elephants and Pineapples.

Apparently common sense plays a huge role in floorball (for newbies, at least). Some Elephants clumped around and didn't spread out enough. Though some Pineapples were playing pretty well for newbies. After Sonia scored the first goal, I was dejected, honestly.
Fortunately E&P came back with yours truly scoring a goal. The result: a draw.

Hopes weren't high against Ednamodes. We simply played, had fun, and lost. Although I did manage to score through a penalty. Which was a small consolation.

E&P was placed against Violets next for 7th/8th position. We played to a draw (1-1, I reckon) and went to penalties.

So maybe I did smile a little too much while taking the penalties, miserably failing to score both. Violets won by a penalty.

E&P would've won the following titles: the most retarded team, the most retarded team name, the most retarded cheer, the most retarded smiles, the most retarded playing. Unfortunately, the organisers probably didn't see it fit to add in those retarded awards. Oh well. Maybe next time..

Friday, September 12, 2008

Z'liners-PFA Floorball Challenge 2008: Preview

Split Ztec 8cers, Frontliners and PFA apart, join them at the hip, and the end-product is... Z'liners-PFA Floorball Challenge 2008.

How decidedly original of the organizers.

This Saturday will be the time for the juniors and the ladies to showcase their talents and strut their stuff on the court. Frontliners will be sending three teams; one junior and two ladies'; as shown below:

Julian Tan (c)
Tristan James
Wayne Yong
Sachin Christian Gopal
Frontliners Fury:
Kew Pei Li (c)
Koay Yi Lin
June Kew
Jessica Lim
Sharron Tan
Frontliners Inferno:
Sonia Frances Gopal (c)
Sara Chew
Sarah Chang
Eureka Foong

One of the few prominent names missing from the list above, Tania Loke, will be playing for FGA E&P; while Roselyn and Serene have their priorities straight, putting all-important studies first.

The juniors, three of them fresh from the ecstasy of surviving the UPSR Ordeal of being cooped up for weeks at home, will definitely be raring to unleash all that energy and restlessness.

Frontliners Floorball Club took time off to catch up with two of the captains, discussing with them their expectations for this upcoming tournament, so here are the excerpts from the conversation:

Julian: Have fun. Win.
FFC: Win what? The tournament?
Julian: Yes. Um... teamwork. Communicate with each other. Score more goals.
FFC: Enough already?
Julian: Nonono, still got somemore... uh... can already lah.
FFC: So you think you'll achieve all of them?
Julian: Can lah.

Pei Li: Well. The less said the better. Ask me after the tournament.
FFC: Just one expectation.
Pei Li: Uh... to have fun.
FFC: (smirks) Yes, okay. And what are you looking forward to?
Pei Li: (grins) Ordering my sister about.

Monday, September 8, 2008

...Tell Me How Am I Supposed To Play With No Shoes?

New shoes, everyone just loves the smell of 'em. The lucky person this week was Tania, judging by those legs.

Training was finally held inside Kompleks Belia after weeks of sweating outside on the open courts. (Which did prove to be tremendous foresight... as it poured immensely during training this week.)

Being early and with an empty court, Coach Jason took the opportunity to showboat a little: A spin-off here, a mazy dribble down the court, and shots; but very occasionally lost the ball.Lawren, seen here playing barefooted after an accident with a basketball, still showed up for training (one clap!) to warm-up the keeper, collect balls and take photos.

Still, before training could start, Coach Jason realized no one had thought to take the balls, meaning there was only one ball to be shared by fourteen players, so he left Kuan Yang in charge and drove away to get the balls.

So Kuan Yang made the players do a few running drills here and there before sitting them down to a tactics lesson, demonstrating a version of what he proudly called 'Spartan Spear'. He experimented with a few ways of actually drawing it out, and when sure he had hammered it into the players' heads, he called up...

...Miss Dunlops to do the honours and re-explain the drill (of course, with guidance from Kuan Yang). She nailed it, and by that time, Coach Jason had already returned, so now everyone could play.


The players were then split into two groups, as usual, but before anyone else touched a ball, the players were again called to sit down, with top-secret stuff being talked about.

Then on to drills, drills and more drills.

When regrouped, the players repeated the Spartan Spear, this time to better effect.

BlueTable was preferred to Nicholas (no more flowing locks!) as keeper for the other goal, opposite Soon Khai.

And thus came the match time, seniors vs juniors, 5-on-5. The seniors, to their credit, did incorporate the Spartan Spear into their gameplay, leaving the juniors sometimes chasing shadows (although to be fair, only 3/4 pressure was allowed).

BlueTable did reasonably well as keeper.

This time the seniors sat out, and the juniors, still full of energy, played a 3-on-3.

Training being brought to a close, Calvin and Mikey here posed for Lawren, the photographer...

...as Kenny and Nicholas showed they were still little children inside (shame on you..).Some players were noticeably missing this week; Roselyn from fever, Megan as always, Sanjeevan as lately becoming; but the players gladly welcomed back Coach Jason and Kuan Yang from APAC in Australia, wiser and more experienced after their national caps.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The New Coach

The club welcomed back the long-time-no-see player, Adrian. The day went on without Coach Jason and Kuan Yang due to the APAC Tournament in Australia. Ms. Pei Li was assigned to be the coach of the day to replace the absence of the 2 senior coaches. The training was started punctually at the usual time. But as there was a late arrival of our keeper, Mr. Khai who arrived at 9.30a.m.

A different Coach led to different atmosphere. Ms. Pei Li did the same drill like the previous trainings. Ball protection, pass-defence-pass-shot, and as well as warming up the keeper. The only different was the Coach is a girl. The training at first was ‘quiet’ which maybe the players were not used to the different style of coaching. But as time passed by, the training seems to be ‘alive’ again.

At around 10.45am, the match as everyone was waiting for has started. The players were excited as they were divided into two teams which were 7 against 3, the juniors vs. seniors. The game was tightly defended by the seniors as the juniors were kept attacking. The first round was scored by the junior’s team. Without wasting any time, the second round approached. This time, the seniors strike in no time. The ball flew to the goal with power.

The training ended a little early because Ms. Pei Li wanted to announce some announcements. The players were then commented about the training. “There were improvements in you guys..it is better compared to the last trainings as some of you were still new,” said Ms. Pei Li. So guys, show all the talents that you have in floorball! Don’t keep it in yourself! See you all in the next training! HOORAY!!!