by Choo Ruizhi
Blood, sweat, and tears. Nail-biting finishes. The Bro Code. The underdog taking on established Goliaths. Dedication, hard work, fighting spirit. No, this isn’t another motivational movie.
It’s the real thing.
Meet the USP Floorball Interest Group, a motley team of people formed originally from floorballers who played in the Inter-Faculty Games (IFG).
If you want to be sexist and politically incorrect but give the layman a rough idea of floorball, you could (at great risk of being hit by both the men and women who play the sport) call it ‘hockey for girls’. Like hockey, floorball is played with goalposts, sticks and a ball, though all are lighter than their hockey equivalents. Floorball, however, is played at a punishing pace, and it is not uncommon for a full team of 5 to be fully substituted out after less than five minutes.
It is not a simple game of brute force or speed. Enclosed in a pitch the size of an average school hall, floorball demands endurance both mental and physical; it requires from its players skill and cunning under the most trying and time-critical conditions.
More than anything though, floorball is a game of teamwork: the ability of a team to be more than the sum of its parts; to weave and lace the strengths and weaknesses of its members into a sleek, efficient, goal-scoring and match-winning machine.
The most recent excuse for heart-wrenching drama and tear-inducing camaraderie was the recently concluded IFG in September, where the team held its own even against traditional powerhouses like the Law and Medicine faculties, setting a gruelling pace of play, and losing narrowly only to lucky shots in the closing minutes of both games.
Next on the floorball calendar is the Inter-College Games (ICG) next semester, which will see USP go up against players from Tembusu College, Yale-NUS, and the College of Alice and Peter Tan. This time though, it will be a sterling record the team will seek to uphold, having dominated the 2013 ICG (and winning a big shiny golden trophy in the process).
Lest you assume the best of us, the Floorball Interest Group is exactly as its name suggests – just a collection of people interested in running around with sticks, chasing a ball. Here and there are ex-hockey players or ex-school team players; but on the whole the people who come down have never played floorball until they came into USP and learnt the sheer thrill of the chase, the satisfaction of hearing a ball smacked in the right spot, and the joy of scoring a goal…even if it’s an own goal.
In the weeks leading up to a competition, training ramps up to an insane rate of up to thrice a week, with specific focus on drills, passing, and tactics. But otherwise, during the off-season, we play on Wednesdays (9-11PM), at the Chua Thian Poh Hall, with neither the technicalities nor the formalities. Building up your skills is a matter of interacting and learning from seniors, rather than cruel slave labour.
Registration is just a simple matter of turning up in your exercise gear, because equipment and other players are all provided.
So join us on Wednesdays, if you like sticks, balls, and sweaty bodies bumping into each other!
…I mean, why else would we love floorball so much, right?