296. The Thomas Cup

When I walked into the main hall in church earlier this morning, I picked up bits of conversations about “first time in 22 years”, “Malaysia”, and “excitement”. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know what was going on, and someone had to explain to me that starting at 5.30P.M., Malaysia was to go up against Japan, in the finals for the first time in 22 years.

(I pick up bits and pieces of conversations wherever I go. One of the most frightening things I overhead was a teenage girl talking about how it’s absolutely essential to slap your boyfriend at some point in your relationship to keep him in line)

I didn’t think much about it. I had a full day ahead of me: music run-through, church service, meeting over lunch, a second practice, and a full dress rehearsal. If there was anything I’d like to spend my time doing, it was sleeping.

Plus, I’m not much a sports guy anyway.

The World Cup is coming up this year, and I couldn’t care less about it. Anything short of my getting some form of monetary gain out of the sport isn’t going to catch my attention. But when I got home, laid down on the couch and drifted off into a nap and woke up about half an hour later, my mom had taken the liberty of switching on the TV, and the first match was already underway.

It wasn’t like I was going to continue sleeping through the sounds of the TV in the background. Besides, it was just right in front of me. If I got bored, I could always just go off to read The Fault In Our Stars or Game Of Thrones or something.

(if there’s anything I’m learning about the craft from reading these two books, it’s that your prose doesn’t always have to be lyrical and avant-garde poetry. It just has to tell what you need to tell, and that’s good enough)

The short version of the story: I used up my yearly quota of emotions in the 6 hours that followed.

I’m not qualified to comment on the playstyles – I don’t even know what the word means. As emotionally invested as I was into the game, I can’t say that I didn’t stand to get something out of it. Rumor had it that if Malaysia won the Cup, tomorrow would be declared a public holiday in celebration. Tomorrow also happens to be the first day of class back in university, so go figure.

But damn, wasn’t that an exciting thing to watch.

I experience the full range of emotions: elation, intensity, dread, hope, anger, shame, jealousy (I mean, have you seen how pretty the Japanese players looked?). And when the game ended in Malaysia’s loss, it wasn’t hair-pulling fury that I felt, but a little sense of melancholia for my lost holiday, and a measure of bittersweet happiness for Japan, for having won their first Thomas Cup in history.

I imagine that there will be much sushi eating.

And here I am, still reeling in the aftermath. What a game. What a game.

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