A friend of mine once said, “It doesn’t matter if what you see, doesn’t tally with what you hope. Gold is gold, but you may see it unfit. Underneath is value and everything else is just distracting you- Distracting. It’s like gold covered in dirt.”
I cannot deny the fact that this period has been hectic for me. In fact, I am very sure that I am not alone and my peers share the same sentiments. From the late nights, increasing amount of undone schoolwork to the tiring trainings and matches, life seemed to be giving me all the lemons in this world. The fact that I am motivated by the need to succeed and do my best in everything that I do did not help in taking the pressure off me. In fact, it amplified it. With the SYF performances and A division (A’div) season being the cynosure of the school, the need to achieve usually develops and places a weight on the shoulders of most of us.
Hard work is something we all know of. Whether it is making time to practise or pushing your limits while training, the feeling of putting yourself out of your comfort zone and sacrificing what matters to achieve what matters more, is something I believe every individual is familiar with.
In school we celebrate winning. We celebrate distinctions. We celebrate success, but who is to say we cannot celebrate hard work itself? Despite the gargantuan difference between being part of a performing art and a sport, the constant between SYF and Adiv is that they are both competitions and as with every competition, participants are awarded what they deserve. They are stressful in nature and the seemingly sick need to succeed sparks a fire in you that may result in disappointment if you do not reach your goal in the end.
SYF is a biannual, once-off event; you have one chance to impress the judges and you have no room for mistakes. The days leading up to the main performance matter the most . You are constantly thinking of your performance — you’re excited and you’re nervous. During the performance itself, your mind is fixated on your next move. I remember how my mind worked like flashcards when I performed for the 2013 Malay Dance SYF in secondary school. After every move, I was just thinking of my next. I had to stay focused and listen to the music. The pressure diluted as the seconds ticked by.
From word of mouth, I heard that the prestige of getting a distinction in SYF has been devalued since ‘most schools get distinctions’. I do not believe that this is the mindset that individuals should take. True, many schools are now awarded the Certificate of Distinction, but that does not mean that the performance was not phenomenal. It does not take away the fact that the performers did their best and ultimately deserved to walk away whilst being recognized for their talents and hard work. There should not be a need to be the best, even if the hedonic nature of our lifestyles have proven otherwise.
In sports, the concept of ‘hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard’ constantly comes to mind. The team with a stronger winning mentality and drive to win will always beat the team with just skillful players. For example, in a difficult match, what matters the most is how you rise up to the challenge and face it without backing off. The difference from SYF is that in A’divs, you have more than one match. The pressure is constant, and the emotions peak hours before every game. Some matches are tougher than others and prior to facing tougher opponents, the excitement and anxiousness heightens.
Personally, I have more things to think about when I am playing a game. It’s not just what I do in the seconds that I have the ball that matters, but what I do next. How do I direct my teammates and how do I make options for them? Throughout the time my shoes move on the parquet flooring that is the floorball court with my stick in hand and will in my heart, I have to be mentally and physically alert constantly. The pressure intensifies as the game progresses. Can we score another goal? What if the opponent scores at the last minute? In A’divs, they label the best, the better and the good. Needless to say, it seems as if the stakes are higher in A’divs.
However, I feel that it is similar to SYF in a sense that no medal does not mean no value. The belief that the better teams always walk away with a medal around the necks of the players is hard to go against. However, not winning something does not take away the value of your team or the efforts your team has put in.
With both the SYF and A’div season coming to an end, it is important to note that no matter the achievement, what counts is the effort. At the end of the day when we move forward into the future and carry on with our lives, the concept of winning loses its significance. Whether your team won first, second, third or fourth or even if you didn’t qualify; whether you received a Certificate of Distinction, Accomplishment or Commendation, the results will soon matter less. The takeaway will always be the memories you make, the friendships you create and the fun you had. It is easy to sometimes measure your efforts by tangible achievements, but it is important to remember that the value of hard work is undeniably immeasurable.
In summary, I believe that whether SYF or A’divs, we should just do our best with no regrets. In my (seemingly) verbose paragraphs on them, the main message that I hope to have brought to light is the significance of appreciating the value of hard work. With that, I wish all of my fellow Victorians all the best, and chin up even if you didn’t achieve what you wanted. Because Gold is Gold, remember?
Article and Photo by Nur Hazirah 14S38