5 weeks of hard training, this is our team gearing up to win the Inter varsity Eco Challenge 2012.
A team of 45 will be represented by 31. We've done our selection and equipment inspection, everything was flawless.
My batch mates in this team wanted to win this game so badly, and we want this game to be remembered every time people talks about Eco Challenge. For our very last Eco challenge, it would be our sweetest memory for winning this game with big margin to prove to people that our team is invincible. That extraordinary achievement is what it takes to be a legend, to be remembered.
3 universities were flagged off the day before, looking at their timing, I was so sure we can do a lot better than them. We've been trained to race this game throughout the year! I monitored their time split at every checkpoint, it was obvious that my team is capable of completing the whole loop 1 hour faster than them. However, anything can happen on race day.
First discipline cross country
we were all guns blazing, scoring all the checkpoints with the fastest time split!
We've done this track so many times that we can remember every single hole and rocks, we feel the flats and inclines better than anyone, we had everything in mind! Nutrition wise, I believe we had great advantage as I've prepared them a plan like how I do Ironman. There's no excuse for not winning, no reason to fail at all!
Obstacles course was built in 2003, the year I came to this camp. Since 9 years back, this has always been my playground. This rough and challenging playground, only tough kids will survive. Team cooperation will be tested and there will be no one playing hero trying to do one man show. Before leaving the last obstacles, Tuan Kausar shouted at me telling me to proceed and he will take care of the last man. I trusted everyone in the team, so I left to control the front pack in the jungle trail. We were in a winning move, and so close to the finishing line.
Suddenly one man collapsed in the trail. Straight away I cursed and got so angry! I ran back into the trail to see what was going on. Tuan Kausar, Zack, Quek and Ambren were shouting his name and slapped him to keep him awake. Shit! We dragged him out, and loosen his shirt and took off his boots. we trained during final exams, traded 8 days of holiday with tough training, sacrificed our rest time to train, we gave everything to win this game! The hope of winning this game has been trashed within split seconds.
I checked the time and we had 30 minutes extra to spare! The medical team wanted him to be in the ambulance immediately, which will cause us serious penalty! I begged the medical team to let him rest 5 minutes, hoping him to recover. Despite the condition looked hopeless, I asked for another 5 minutes praying hard miracle will happen. He was really weak. Leaders are defined by the decisions they made in times of crisis. Me being the platoon leader, have all the burden of making a super tough decision at that time. Thank God that it popped up in my mind to bring him to another check point hoping to reduce our penalty.
Knowing that our high hope to bring back the champion's trophy has shattered, many of the team mates cried so hard along the way. In a team sport, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Right now, one of our links just failed. I was speechless, no feelings, and felt numb. I had no choice but to portray a strong outlook as my team is waiting for my decision. when being strong is your only choice, u will how strong u really are. My mum was standing by the road side cheering, but I really had no time to talk to her.
The team formation went haywire, they were lost and totally demoralized for what happened to our team.
I will never forget those moments when I had to yell and constantly remind them to keep going, our task has yet to be completed! The clock is still ticking! It took me quite some time to regain control of the team. I was relieved after the formation reformed, then we proceeded for the last discipline. last 2 years, I had another case of one man down, I guess that was a lesson I learned that guided me in decision making.
Final discipline Assault Boat
I'm proud to have them under my command, they just don't give up, they never break! we went on and finished the very last discipline in formation. Leading this team of great officers, I'm really honoured. We delivered the assault boat and scored the fastest overall time, but penalty is awaiting us.
we have to settle for second place, lost to our PALAPES. we are definitely strong, but too bad we were very unlucky. They did very well on that day, scoring time below 2 hours! This game is just like a war, the winner will write history and loser will bare the humiliation. Not many people know what was going on during the game, and many of the spectators blamed me for pushing the team too hard. I got very upset for my effort is not appreciated, and ended up taking all the blames. Losing to PALAPES greatly scratched the cadet's pride. The atmosphere was gloomy and stressed. we shared training tips with them, and I personally went to them correcting their techniques and tactics every time after training, now my team lost to them because of one man down. They were nice though, many came and thank us for sharing tips with them. thousands of comments and questions on facebook about the lost blasted right after prize giving. Tired after racing, now gotta answer and explain. That's the reason why I blog, to tell everything once and for all. constant stream of speculation is still going on, people make assumptions, it was obvious that I can't shut their mouth up. It was a moody day for all, so I isolated myself thinking, the scene of Raji collapsed keeps flashing in my mind.
people came to me telling me
"u should have done bla bla bla...., it was a big mistake bla bla bla..., I should have replaced that guy bla bla bla...., u should train like this bla bla bla..., it was your fault for pushing them during the last week bla bla bla..."
My patience was tested to the edge. They have no idea how I structure the training program! they talked to me as if I'm a fool leading this team. we had a week of tapering week, training loads were greatly reduced to let the muscles rest. I just kept quiet... It is not the right time to talk when u are emotional. Remaining calm was a great challenge at that time.
few hours later...
we got to know that he had fever BEFORE the game but he hide it to himself! we could have replaced him with the substitutes! The team felt betrayed. Because of his stupid move, we lost the game, and humiliated the whole brigade. I really don't know if i can ever forgive him, the damage is so severe and it can never be recovered! damage has been done by him! I gathered them all to have a post mortem. After the heart-to-heart talk session with the team, everyone expressed their feelings and shared their thoughts. Some even admitted their lies and cheats during trainings, we had a great laugh listening to their funny stories. In this game, everyone has got their own story to be told. Although we lost the game, the bond among us remains strong. In other perspective, we learned to handle crisis and remain cooperative no matter what happens. We have no regrets that we've done our very best on that day =) Our Facebook group is super happening right now, that used to be our medium to spread information, now became a very funny chat group =p a very big Thank You to our OC and Lt Kdr Zul for supporting us along our way, to the uni for supporting us logistically, and also comrades for cheering for us during the game.
Now we're back to our normal life, become ordinary cadet officers. we'll outshine when we need to be extraordinary. For the time being, just lie low and have a good rest=) It is not success that matters, it is the strength to get up every time u fell that makes u a better man.