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story Dave Chappell
Whilst a sudden downpour may have rained off the semester’s first basketball match on Friday 29 Aug. 2014, it did little to dampen spirits. The rapturous applause drowned out the pummelling rain, the claps of thunder sticks rivalled those of the actual thunder and the screams from the crowd brought a hush to the howling wind – even long after the game had concluded. Despite the early finish, the match was in many ways an unqualified success.
The team performed admirably and the atmosphere set a high standard for all future Yale-NUS sporting events. As Zach Mahon ‘17 noted, “We play because we like the sport, but our main goal is to proudly represent Yale-NUS College in the best possible light” – a goal the team and its supporters most definitely achieved.
The atmosphere both prior and during the game was electric. As the first basketball match of the semester, expectations were high. The players have been training with an external coach, intensively, twice a week, since the start of the term. Yale-NUS support outnumbered the home-side’s three to one, with notable guests including President Lewis, Dean Farley, Sebastian and Paloma. A sea of posters and placards declared support, encouraged the “Zach Attack” andbegged the question, “Who’s #Juan?” The level of anticipation was palpable.
Some may argue that this level of pressure may hamper player performance, but that was not the view of the players on the court. When asked about the effect the build-up has been having on the team, Mahon pointed out that “it has helped us stay focused,” a sentiment echoed throughout the squad with the phrase “No pressure, no diamonds.”
In fact, the encouragement was greatly appreciated by those on court. “The hype has been unreal. We really appreciate our supporters and always give our 100 percent for them. They bleed as much blue and orange as we do,” Subhas Nair ‘17 stated, when asked about the hype surrounding the game.
Indeed, this was demonstrated repeatedly, throughout the match. Described as “a group of hard working and dedicated men,” by their captain, Nair, the team lived up to their reputation. Despite falling behind by 12-6 near the end of the first quarter, the team fought back to 12-12,owing to a couple of two pointers from Sebastian Cortes ‘18 and two free throws from Nair. At 16-12, a pair of twos from Mahon and Aaron Kurzak ‘17 brought Yale NUS level once again. A two pointer and a successful free throw by Nair, a two from Cortes and three pointer by Mahon, took Yale-NUS, from 26-18, to 28-26. Time and time again, the team retaliated, spurred on by the crowd’s rapturous applause. If the game had not been prematurely halted, it would still have been all to play for.
Hopefully this level of college pride and spirit can be maintained throughout the year, not just in basketball but all sports. Starting with the Inter-Faculty Games this week, all students and faculty members are encouraged to come and give their all for the players. As Nair notes, “I do not believe there is such a thing as ‘too much pressure’.”