Friday, April 22, 2011


About a year ago, I heard some screaming and shouting from outside my office window. Being on the 17th floor… it got me to look down.

All the way down, I could see it – it was sports day at the school across the road, and the kids were doing the tug-of-war. It seemed like an entire class was battling another…


When it comes to sports where I work, there are numerous games that pit the different business units against each other. Last year, I thought I’d do the easiest event, so that I can finally say I did a sport in the years here. I picked the tug-of-war – well known to be a 'sukan rakyat' or community sport.

The first day of training was intriguing. I was one of the first on the field, and there were four other unfamiliar guys there. They turned out to be military personnel who were to be our trainers, with the sergeant sporting the thick moustache being the head coach.

Training by the military...?

Day two, we had six men, and we had to pull against a tree. We lasted approximately 20 seconds against the tree before we ‘lost’ – one by one we started falling because we couldn’t keep up with a freaking tree that didn’t move! Possibly we were spent because we had to carry the tug-of-war rope that in itself was so heavy it needed three of us to carry it. Sergeant said we needed to move the tree to have any hope of winning...

We had many challenges. It was difficult to get 10 people who actually wanted to be part of the team. It was difficult to get all down to train and it’s no wonder when one drop of rain hitting our window at the office would set off a train of “It’s raining, no training today!”

Because we were quite hopeless at getting together to train, we decided that we’ll work on technique. We were told by sergeant that if we got our technique, and tactics, rights, it don’t matter how big our opponents were – we’d rumble them.

Come competition day, we definitely stood out. We had no uniform, no waist support belts… and we actually looked puny compared to some of the other teams…

Nevertheless, we heaved to wins in our group fixtures, and qualified for the semis. Here our opponents had necks the size of our thighs, and had the looks (think Kamawas in Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa). They were heavier, and so we could only win if we applied our tactics better than them.

Evenly matched, it was a long bout (we had come a long way from the day we lasted 20 seconds against the tree) but we eventually won 2-0 to qualify for the final.

At the final, we were up against the biggest guys. Since we had cut down a team bigger than us already, we were quietly confident that we could cause an upset. Physically they win hands down; but this was going to be about technique and tactic and we were going to use our brains. We’ll need to bring them to a third pull and therefore we needed to tire them out in the first two pulls.

In the best of three bout, the first tug was surprisingly not too exerting for us. We held on staunchly for a bit, before they pulled us over once they got some momentum going.

Never mind. They surely won’t be able to last. We need to stick to our tactics. Hold like crazy, and then hit them on the counter.

At the second pull, our tactics worked – for about 20 seconds before they annihilated us…


Last year, in that school across the road, the class with the bulkier kids prevailed in the end…

The lesson?

Size does matter…!

This weekend is the tournament for 2011. We have been training, sort of. The tree won within 30 seconds of our first battle against it, and training over the past three days was cancelled because of the rain.

However, we’ve learnt our lessons. The boys are bulkier this time. Let’s see if those strategic calories we collectively gathered can be put to some good use... :-)


Bunny B! said...

Good luck for tomorrow!

Idaman said...

Thanks :)

Idaman said...

We finished fourth. Most teams trained hard for this tournament, and it showed. We need to train together longer!!