Sunday, October 21, 2007


Something just surfaced in my drawer just now.

Its on of those singlets that went through so much with you.

Soaked by the endless laps on the running track.

Abrased by the countless crunches and statics.

Chilled by the cold 6am winds and toasted by the 12pm sun of the waters of kallang basin.

That precious seniors singlet that I was the only noob in the team who got... cause I was the only junior that managed to out-row the seniors.

Good times.

I remember earlier on, one cold morning when we climbed over the gate to row at sdba. I was happily doing laps, uncapsized, trying to keep warm in the cold winds and dry. Then some charboh calls me over.

I think she wanted to drink water or something? Anyway instead of using my boat to balance herself she ends up capsizing us into freezing waters.

Mud, knee high, right in the middle of kallang basin. We call for help from another charboh.

She rows over. Tries to help and ends up in the water with us.

I think we were saved by some k2 in the end.

Then those evenings when I will do laps in the k1 all by myself. Theres a certain peace you get from having the whole of kallang basin to yourself, rowing in the calm waters of the evening (if you're lucky enough to actually get godamn calm waters back then before the breakwaters were built).

Just you, your paddles, a boat and miles and miles of water.

I remember the late afternoons crashing training with ntu because I had no one to do race sets with. Of how they invited me to join them after seeing how I always lined up at the start line with them.

I remember how I lucky I felt to be able to train with the strongest ivp team at the time. It seemed so impossible to beat them with their years of experience.

I remember how beating some of them never felt good because we still got our asses handed to us in the opens category by some ac gin nah with a faster class boat.

Canoeing was fun because we were all serious yet not all that serious. You could go up to any boat from any school and ask if they wanted to race. Then you'll get either a polite "ok sure" or "haha no thanks".

I remember the days of research. Any team, any school, I had it all. I collected data on all their training programs and the psyche that their respective coaches attempted to imbue in them. From rowing with them, rowing at the other side of kallang, conveniently warming up at their training spots or cooling down at their debriefs.

How each school's program changed from base building to pre-race. How some schools fought on with one method of training because it was their pride from their seniors - tried and tested, phases that they had to go through. How some school's teacher-in-charge used his students as guinea pigs to test different methods of progression and training. And how some schools did things the way they did because they didn't know any better.

I had to understand it all. I couldn't lose in any way that I could help. Incidentally it helps when you need to plan your own program. Not just by following what you've been taught, but by watching first hand how athletes working through different methods of training progression differ in strength and characteristic. What works and what doesn't. What's truly stupid training, and what is efficient. What part of the training is needed, and what part just added by someone who didn't know better and was never taken out because no one else knew than him.

My only regret from giving up my spot in ntu with the team that I told myself I wanted to join would be this. I would at last eliminate the one factor that prevented me from being at the top.

The juniors now have it easy. Back then the only rowers I lost to were from uni. Now with them out of the picture for a category, it should be easy peasy.

But you can't play around forever sometimes - not when it will take so much time away from the one thing that you know you want to do for the rest of your life.

It was fun. The company was good. The rivals were unforgettable. The coaches left impressions that will never go away.

But having found the answer to the question that so many ask but so few find an answer from within themselves compel me to fulfill it.

Being at the top of a competitive environment can be all you hope for sometimes. It can be all you think about and train for.

But ultimately life goes on. You can't be there forever and what shallow satisfaction you get for being up there at that time wanes when you realize that you have to move on to the next "phase."

Seeing the wheels of convention for what they are. Listening to that small voice that logic will tell you to ignore.

Only when you push against the power will you find the energy required to breakthrough things you never imagined possible.

People think that those working in the creative or design industry can think out of the box. They couldn't be more wrong. You don't need "creativity." Because convention dictates now that even this concept is bound by the notion of going against logic -and a vector opposite or tangent to another vector is still a vector.

What you really need-

Is insanity.

Do you believe in destiny?

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