Q: What could be worse than a 3.3km or 4km run taking up your Saturday first thing in the morning?
A: If it takes up two of your Saturdays.
“Back in 1984, when the first cross country was established, we had one in the first term and one in the second term. Our calendar wasn’t too packed then, so we held cross country twice a year.” said Mr Seet, recalling the past cross countries held in VJC.
Victorians, don’t you feel more fortunate now? And yet, that’s only one small thing that has gone unappreciated. Today, we bring to you a few other aspects of cross country you probably have never thought about being grateful for.
Gathering of Victorians from all walks of life
Every year, cross country is also a homecoming day for alumni. “We invited the old Victorians to come back to school as the cross country day also coincided with Victorian Day this year. We even have Dr Quek Jin Jong, VJC’s very first vice principal coming down as the guest of honour for our cross country.” said Mr Seet, introducing the main highlight of the event.
While seeing old uncles and aunties dressed in VJC clothes might not mean much to us Victorians, it sure does mean a lot to them. For some, it is their only chance to meet up in their hectic and packed lives. For Old Victorians Peter, Zion and Jeraldine, the annual VJ Cross-County is a gem of a opportunity for these ex-crossers to meet up and reminisce on the good old days. “Coming back here, the nostalgia really hits you hard.” remarked ex-crosser Jeraldine. On top of that, it is the perfect occasion for alumni to meet their teachers again, even running alongside and enjoying the picturesque views along East Coast Park.
Who knows? 10 years in the future and you may just be that group of adults running and talking merrily along the trail, while all around you, the yellow masses are fighting to stay alive.
Seeing your teachers in an entirely new light
The cheer that resounded in the hall was the loudest yet when Mr Russell Woo stepped on stage to claim his much deserved prize. Before Mr Woo’s PV sharing on Friday, before cross country, before his moment on stage, you would never have known that attaining the first position in any race is something so monumental to him.
We are constantly being surprised by the hidden, unseen aspects of teachers that surface in events exactly such as cross country. These events help to tear down the boundaries between teachers and students, bringing them a step closer towards each other.
I mean, how often is it that you get to see your prim and proper teachers dressed down in PE attire, all ready for a morning of exhilarating exercise?
Spending time with your friends
Be it going on ‘relaxing’ morning jogs during PE in the morning, or training for your NAPFA 2.4km, talking to your friends while running is probably the last thing on your mind. And yet, the idea of cross country seems to invite conversation, even if it supposedly wastes your breath. Why is that so? Has oxygen finally become an overruled trend?
We told this to 16S48’s Chen Jie. “It’s the idea of a shared experience with your friends,” she says. “We only have 2 years in VJC, it’s important to make memories that we can treasure and look back on fondly.”
Everyone coming together to share a Victorian tradition
VJC has its fair share of traditions, some student initiated, but all of them just as significant. Cross Country is a day where everyone, regardless of your CCA or faculty, gather together for a run. It’s also probably the only time where the idea of running 3.3km or 4km on the morning is met with collective festivity rather than pained groans.
For Victorians skeptical about running, however, here is a useful piece of advice from one of VJC’s very own cross country runners. “Listen to your own body, go by your own time and your own target,” Ng Qi Hui of 16S48 cautions. “ Don’t keep pushing even though you don’t feel well because that will only cause your body more harm, and you won’t be able to run that well either!”
As mentioned by Mr Seet, the first cross country was held in 1984. 33 years and running, it’s definitely a part of our history that we have kept alive!
Let’s not forget: the free food
Okay, this one might be over-appreciated by Victorians.
Yellow bananas were everywhere, blending right in amongst the sea of yellow already threatening to overwhelm the school. Admittedly, this might be the part that most Victorians look forward to, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you had successfully completed your run.
While you were contented with chomping down a banana or two, many of the alumni were having a much grander breakfast. “The Old Victorians’ Association has been kind enough to provide breakfast for the alumni; they will be eating Nasi Lemak in the canteen after the run.” said Mr Peter Wee, the overall in charge for cross country this year.
“The Chicken Wings! Do you know the chicken wing come from which caterer one ar? Damn nice!” answered one Old Victorian jokingly when asked what was the best part of the cross-country for him. A testament to the exceptional quality of the food made available post-run. Clearly, food is something rejoiced in by Victorians, old and young alike.
So Victorians, before you groan about having to lug your semi-conscious body to VJ on a Saturday morning, remember these 5 aspects of this annual event that you may have never considered. Fair enough, while cross country does take up your priceless beauty sleep and there are probably a million other things you would much rather be doing, but you cannot deny that VJ’s Cross Country is a cherished part of our Victorian Culture and will remain so in the years to come. So are you pumped up for the next year’s Cross Country? It’s just 363 days away, so what are you waiting for? Put on those running shoes and hit the track today!
Yordan Yit, 16S63
Photo: VJ PhotoSoc