By Benjamin Lim (19S03I) and Yoon Shwe Yee (19S03B)
Photos courtesy of Raffles Floorball (Girls) and Toh Wyning
For the first time in six years, the Raffles Floorball girls’ team managed to make it into the top 4 in the A Division inter-schools tournament, and the importance of this moment was palpable at the Delta Sports Hall on the 15th of May. The site of many past matches, the hall was packed with supporters from Raffles Institution and Victoria Junior College, all excited and eager to shout cheers to spur their schoolmates on.
Before the match started, the girls were filled with vigour and eagerness. Though they did have bouts of anxiety, the team cheers, words of the coaches and the esprit de corps certainly rose up above all. “YOLO every breath,” said Coach Jill, just before the team chanted their cheer, “Raffles – Unite, Courage, Fight!”
During the match, the floorball girls fought hard on the court against their opponents, displaying extraordinary perseverance in pursuing the goal. The Rafflesian spirit was in full force as loud cheers of “let’s go, Raffles, let’s go!” rang through the hall; supporters cheering with their hearts out for the school team.
The many supporters standing in the bleachers cheered the team on, with the councillors leading the school. Such cheers rumbled throughout the game, encouraging players from both schools to smile and return to the game, revitalised.
At one point, the team captain, Ella Tan (18A01B) was awarded a penalty. As she strode up and readied herself, the hall fell silent. The atmosphere of the entire hall was tense. Would she be able to score? Or would she miss?
Ella primed herself for the shot. She swung her stick against the ball. And she made it! Cheers erupted from the stands with applause echoing through the hall. Ng Jing Ni (19S03M) commented, “It was really heartening to see all the supporters band together to cheer for their fellow Rafflesian.”
Though the game eventually came to a close, with the score 6-2, in the Victorian team’s favour, it was certainly one where the Raffles team did their best in. It was especially heartwarming to see all of the floorballers fighting for every single ball, due to the overbearing fact that this was going to be their very last game.
With a multitude of chants and cheers from the opposition, the Raffles side certainly did not lose out. At the end of the match, everyone stood to sing the school song, followed closely by the Unite cheer. The entire school applauded for the girls when they lined up in front to show their appreciation for the supporters’ unwavering support.
Indeed, it was really touching to see everyone singing and cheering their loudest for the team. Whether the team won or lost would never surpass the simple fact that as family, we would all be proud of the team for putting on their best fight.
This loss certainly did not pull the team spirits down. The match had been highly symbolic for them, it represented years of hard work and months of relentless training for the team to make it this far and achieve this much. The spirit of the match was aptly summed up by Lee Jia Qi (19S03I) who said that, “Though we didn’t win, we promised ourselves the day before that we will not be focused on the outcome alone, but the journey we took in getting there. We told ourselves that after the last training, that even after the last whistle (symbolic of the end of season), we will celebrate no matter what the final results were.” And true to that, the first thing the team did when season officially ended was share a bag of Sour Cream Ruffles crisps, followed by a team dinner of fried chicken and ice cream to commemorate their success.
The floorball girls displayed admirable perseverance, determination and sportsmanship both in the run-up to the match and during the match. Nadya Chua (19S03I) reminisced that “Sometimes, we would be really tired because trainings would occur once every two days, and we didn’t have enough time to recover from our aches. However, our coach still expects 100 percent, but not everyone can be in tip top condition all the time. Hence there was one training where we had to do suicides (intense short distance runs that progressively increase in distance) continuously. She told us that it was because we lacked the ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ in our attitude and hence, training.”
These wise words from Coach Jill certainly did not fall on deaf ears. As the girls trained tirelessly for the following weeks, effects of the intense training regimen started to show. The girls had pushed their bodies to their physical, as well as emotional and mental limits. External commitments were now prioritised after trainings, held 3 to 4 times a week. These words had certainly reignited the passion for the sport, which dulled after the rigorous training sessions. Soon, these girls were working not as individuals, but as one. The team spirit had returned, and it was burning brighter than ever.
The culmination at the end of this journey may not have equated to a Champion’s Trophy, but it was the spark that fueled a desire to train harder.
Team captain, Ella, was asked if she had any words to say to her team, and what we got was something filled with nothing but happiness and praise. “Hi girls!! Thank you so much for being the greatest team I could ask for. Through all the 2.4s, sprints, pt every training, staying till 9pm, and through all the falling asleep in classes, shin splints, and sprained ankles, the amount of blood, sweat and tears (literally) that we’ve put into this sport and team has amounted to this amazing season – walking the #roadtodelta* with y’all was unforgettable, but beyond the outcome, this CCA has given me a family that I know I can always depend on, and I’m so so proud of each and every one of you for putting your heart and soul into the team. Thank you for putting the team before yourself, and for walking by faith and not by sight; for believing when no one else did, and for fighting to the end.”
Are there any words that encapsulates the entirety of the floorball girls team? Resilience. Passion. Dedication. They’ll be back for the gold next year.
* The hashtag, #roadtodelta, was used as a means to remind the team that all their effort would eventually pay off, as they achieved their goal of playing at Delta Sports Hall (only the semi-finalists and finalists would be able to play there).