Sunday, September 16, 2007

audacity (n.) slapping the referee threateningly

The finals of SIM Student Week happened just last Friday(I think that's the event la). Someone or the other set up a really small Cage and organized multiple mini sports tournaments. Certainly our Buffalo soccer team joined the soccer league. Their performance was nothing short of amazing. They as a team dwarved all the other teams big time with scores like 5-2 not at all uncommon. On the individual level, Akash was Godlike, imba, t3h 0wnZ, whatever you want to call him, scoring like 65% of all Team UB's goals. He won top scorer with probably twice the number of goals as the third player. One of our other players followed close behind in second place.

So it was the quarter finals. I forgot what the name of the team that we were up against was. Probably a good thing, since I really wouldn't hesitate to write it down if I knew. Since it seemed to be an all-Viet team, with huge support from Viets along the entire stretch of one whole sideline, some of my coursemates who were there guessed it was RMIT we were up against. Now let me get this straight before mindless flamers start pouring in. Firstly, it's not a racist thing - it's a simple known fact that the RMIT courses in SIM have alot of Viets in attendance. Secondly, I'm in no way accusing RMIT of being arseholes. I'm just speculating where the team was from. And lastly, assuming the Viet speculation was fact, I'm not saying all Viets are hot-headed mofos. The impression I get of Viets from my friends and coursemates is in fact quite the opposite. But that doesn't make the team competing against the Buffalos any less aggressive.

Now here's what I think. The Cage was too small, everyone knew that. But I do think that because of that, the normal levels of energy expended by soccer players on a standard playing field were impeded. Severely impeded. As a result, most of the players channeled it to the next available outlet.


Plus, from a practical point of view, you do have to be fast and aggressive on a field where it's wholly possible for a goalkeeper to smash-kick a scorcher into the other goal directly. That's where the other teams didn't see the Buffalos coming. Just Start!-BANG-Gooooaaaaallll!

So the first time, one of the opponents, we'll call him Slap won't we, kicked Akash in the calf. The referee noticed it, and gave him a verbal warning before awarding the Buffalos a penalty. And already Slap put up some resistance to that decision. My friends said they saw the referee looking like his patience was being harshly tested. It had been a full day and the previous match was just violent madness a couple notches short of a gladiator deathmatch.

Now let me just stop here for a moment and rave about Akash. This guy is the craziest meat bag I've ever seen in my life. People can tackle him, body check him, and do everything short of committing a foul by ramming him, and he can just stand there, magically absorb the impact, do a half spin with the ball and fire it into the goal. I've already seen him holding a single banana twice. Maybe that's his secret.

So anyhoos, we played on. The second time, the ball flew to Akash and Slap, and he headed into Akash.

For what right? Might as well hit it into a cannon mouth. Barely see it disappear and next thing you know the cannon fires and the ball's up your ass. Akash was like half rubbing the back of his head and half tugging on his hair.

The referee blew the whistle. And right there in front of me, and others on my side, he lifted his shirt, untucked the red card, and held it high in the air.

I regretted not taking Graham's suggestion up to film the entire thing. I wanted to capture still shots of Akash's bicycle kick. Why am I so stupid. It would have been an epic video. On our side, mostly sideline assistants and minders, the reaction was raised mutterings, and a few WHA???s from people like me. On the other side however, there was an uproar. The Viets raised their voices in disbelief, while the Buffalo cheerers started clapping loudly and going 'YEAH! ALRIGHT!'.

Slap also exhibited disbelief at the judgement, squatting on the floor. The referee went around setting the field up for another penalty, ushering players here and there, and things started heating up at an alarming rate from then. The referee once again stared at Slap and waved his hand toward the parting in the net - the "door" of the Cage. Still he refused to move. And when the referee became firm, Slap stood up, and said something inaudible to the referee, while waving his indexing finger, typical beng style. Then he walked up right to the referee's face and gave him three hard cracks on the cheek. Everyone was being quiet, and the cold sound of hand hitting flesh was uncomfortably clear to me. And thus Slap single-handedly (hurhur) shocked the whole field into utter silence.

You know, our juniors, now sophomores actually, remind me very much of Victoria School and her Victorians. There's a certain electric feeling when you experience VS camaraderie, and I kinda felt it again, that day at the matches. It was something I haven't felt in awhile, and it was good.

I'm surprised the referee didn't drop his whistle and knee the fucker in the balls. Instead he calmly reached out and grabbed Slap's shoulder, turning him back to face himself, and from what I gather, threatened to call security. Slap was of course beyond boiling point now, and roared for the whole court to hear, "CALL SECURITY?! HERE GOT SECURITY?!" And stalked out of the court, removing his identifying jersey and flinging it on the ground. Intermittently, there were hollers from our supporters like "GET OUT" or "APOLOGISE LA".

By this time I was so incensed about the whole thing I had kept my camera phone and was watching the whole spectacle with arms folded.

The captain of the team kicked the ball in frustration. And there the referee snapped and called him over, offering his ultimatum. Apologise for your teammate, or it's a walkover. Almost immediately, our guys, bless them, started going "YEAH! YAH! WALK-O-VER! WALK-O-VER!"

In all fairness that team was starting to break past the Buffalos' tactics. I was getting worried about them winning, another reason why I kept my camera. Because of such an unnecessary development, they lost to the Buffalos 4-2.

Now what is this guys? How small is this tournament? Not even every average person knows about SIM here in Singapore. What, are you gonna break the guy's neck in the World Cup or what, with the country's soccer reputation at stake? You're aggressive by nature? Well then don't play, simple. If you have such a passion for soccer, then you damned well check yourself or ask someone to be ready to pour cold water on you if you ever get out of hand like that. And the captain. Setting the wrong example for your team mate? Even after the whole Zidane saga? Venting your anger on a ball after your team mate got red-carded, what is this?

And then the supporters too. Fine, cheer all you want. Jeering? Booing when Akash missed a bicycle kick in front of you? What are you 9?

Grow up.

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