And so, I began my first coaching job with two inexperienced girls. I started off with abit of lecture and I tried not to be too long as I might bore the uninterested rookie. I told them of my training methods and what they will face when they get down in the crease.
Yes, they had to go through what all newbies must when they don the equipment. I made them do handling drills. Throwing floorballs against the wall with alternate hands and juggling.
Rushed them for movement drills and the hardest part was to get them to master lateral movement. It took me alot of patience not to raise my voice at both of them as they now had to face shots from the players.
Two weeks went by and things started to get clearer. It seems that the reluctant goalie has more potential than the one who volunteered. Being unbiased, I had to quickly improve the more agile rookie and gave my report to Carmen. She nodded her head and acknowledged what I told her. Little did I know then, Sara was a member of aikido. I was in silat for seven years.
If Sara were to continue guarding between the pipes, she is still not quite the finished product yet. If only she could accept the fact that she must bark to organize her defence and polish her throwing skills, that would be perfect. But that too will represent my alter-ego!
I watched the young girl in match-practice and her pattern is more like a withdrawn role compared to my aggressive type. She stays in her crease throughout the whole game, almost mute, has the ability to do splits (something I wish I can) and has a cat-like reflex.
Drafting Sara in an offensive-oriented team sometimes can be quite worrying, for me. I always sweat thinking what if team NYP gets caught by a breakaway. Well, Carmen did her homework and their possession floorball allowed Sara to keep numerous IVP shutouts, compared to my one. It was almost a successful campaign only to be thwarted by NTU, the eventual champions of 2004/05, in the semis.
Her draft to Pink Flamingoes came as no surprise to me as she made her mark in the tournament. They had a good season and she won ‘Rookie of The Year’ for 2006. I have no idea what the other forwards and centers mutter when they fail to get their shots at the back of the net.
Their next pursuit for glory came in early 2006 and I missed almost all matches as I was attending my Basic Medic Course. I rushed down to NTU where the tournament was taking place. The finals: NYP vs NTU for both men and ladies.
I came in during the break of the first period with the university leading 1-0. It was a tensed game. Both sides exchanging offence only to be stopped by both goalies who meet for the second time. Widya was making her presence felt in the crease while Sara was quietly observing the trajectory of the incoming shots. They probably raked up a total of forty saves combined.
Third period, and NYP was awarded a freehit. Maisarah took it, it bounced off a pool of players and the set-piece hockey player made no mistakes for the second attempt as the ball hit the net at Widya’s far post. Roar from the crowd and I breathed a sigh of relief. Final whistle and it was time for penalties.
“Sara! Come here! Sara!” I was in my Puma cap when I called the sophomore member. Haha! The thing about her is she needs at least three seconds to absorb what is happening before reacting. She jogged towards me while pulling her snake-designed mask up her sweaty head. She was pespiring like there was no tomorrow. Louise and the others looked at me, thinking I was a stranger because my face was hidden. So too the fans. I wrapped my left arm around her shoulder and said,
“Congratulations for coming this far. No matter what happens, you have done your best. Ok! Be patient and cover the shooting angle.” Well, when I struggled to get my message to her ear, it does feel like in the movies.
Sounds cliche, really. Patted her back twice and let her go for the quick team talk. Spectators were still looking at me as if I have committed a crime. Their piercing stares only eased off when Ranjit and company slapped my back from behind.
The rest is history and I still like her last save in this video. I never thought her that, though.
IVP 2005/06 Champions
And they continued for few more tournaments