MCOBA Sports Day 2019: Inter house rivalry revival

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First November is the official start of the inaugural MCOBA Sports Day (MSD) 2019. First to correct a misnomer. Since it involve competing in games for the whole month of November 2019, it should be term as MCOBA Sports Month (MSM) 2019.

All that MCOBs need to do is to register their interest to participate and upon every successful registration, they will receive:

  • 1x free point for your respective houses, be it Ahmad, Idris, Mohd Shah and Sulaiman.
  • 1x house t-shirt to add to their wardrobe.
  • Eligible to participate in MSD2019 and contribute winning points for the respective houses; S,A,MS, I.

House masters, house captains and games convenors has also been appointed and all systems are go. It’s about taking part in many things to get point for the glory of your former houses in school. I absolutely support it. But in order to “take part”, you have to take part in essence the every aspect of it – absorb the whole experience. The nervous anticipation of competing, the camaraderie of teamwork, the elation of victory, the humility and grace of dealing with defeat, the excitement of improving, and the patience of practice.

Competition has been the essence of life at the Malay College (MCKK) since its inception in 1905. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. For this Sports Month or the labelled misnomer Sports Day, you’ll even get a point for buying a table for the MCOBA Annual Dinner or posting your Facebook profile of in your House colours. For the Glory of the Holy house of Ahmad, Idris, Mohd Shah and Sulaiman.

Every aspect of it was a about competing in a race, a challenge to perfection. To be the top of the Class. To be top of the Field. To bring glory and honour to the Houses they belong, be it in Academic, Sports, Discipline, Debating, Quran Recitation, Music, Sciences and Arts, and Co-Curricular activities and Best Dormitory. Best Classroom. The honour of going up the stage or the podium as your names were announced and recited.

That, made all the difference I suppose. As far as I can remember, we were instilled in a sense of competing from Prep School (home to the First Formers) to the Pavilion (traditionally home for the Six Formers). As a tradition, each of us were expected to meet all those challenges and standards and having successfully done so, contribute to his personal standing and the standing of the House he belonged to. We would even race to the toilets to book our soap-cases to be first in line to take a bath or take a shit. It is about a process, at the end of which, had turned boys into competing men of competence.

Naturally, not all were equally gifted, talented or athletically – built but the same process made the boy, at the very least, compete with his own self thereby raising his own personal bars and standards.

You win some, you lose some. It’s a fact of life and an adage that has stood me in good stead as a MCOB, a father and as a retired professional. Understanding that it is ‘OK’ to lose – that it is something to learn from, and not be ashamed by – has undoubtedly helped shape me as an individual.

Personally, I don’t have any strong emotional memory of glory or defeat from my school sports days but I do have very strong memories taking short-cuts during the Annual cross-country and meeting the low standard during Standards taking. I challenge anyone to find a greater pleasure than cheating to gain a point for the house. My experience of sports day wasn’t about how good I was as an individual but about how good my team could work together.

What I really noticed though my life in MCKK, what really hit home and has stuck with me since, as a wonderfully encouraging observation, was that no one, not one single MC boy ever gave up. Regardless of what happened to them, despite accidents, whether they fell, stumbled, got confused, did it wrong or simply just burst into tears, they all – every single one of them got up, carried on and did not stop until they passed the finish line, irrespective of how behind they may have been. All made it to the end.

However, cheaters caught got punished, foulers got carded off and losers never win. Lesson learned – in life, do not compete but be competitive. I usually hear people say be in competition with others but yourself. I say, stay competitive as your competitors will bring competition to you regardless.

Some stop competing as vigorously after leaving school, some even before. But those who carried on challenging themselves continuously in their field of choice almost assuredly would find their deservedly rightful place, track, court and field…except in the games of politics perhaps, wherein its vague rules and goalposts keep changing…and promises and manifestos, aren’t assured of being honoured. In politics, that’s the name of the Game. Checkmate and first to the finishing line.

Few of us therefore get near the game and but for those who do play the tricky and sneaky game (like taking short-cuts), we still wear the College Tie every Wednesday as a mark of solidarity and still connect them to the Houses.

For there is unity, despite, amongst those men who are used to compete to meet high standards as early as 12. Even into admission into MCKK. The many a test a boy trying to gain admission has to go through at present (even through the alumni quota) is almost as tough as a job interview. The Inter House rivalry prepared those men with an acute understanding that all those competitions are meant only to achieve the common good…Quality & Character, by gentlemanly conduct and fair play. Exactly just what this country ominously needs at this confusing and uncertainties of its time and history.

It is hope therefore, one of those men with the striped matron neck tie and the striped maroon lanyard get to lead the country soon, carrying with him and sow as he does the healthy seeds of values of fair competition amongst those he leads, as he himself had been embedded with. Never say say die and keep on fighting. Or else.. it would just be another waiting game that score no points to the houses.

Congrats to MCOBA and its MCOBA Sports Day 2019 Sub Committee led by a young MCOB, Raja Ashraf Raja Ariff (C’06) for coming up with the idea of the Inter House Rivalry Revival leading to the Annual Dinner this year when the Best House and House positions will be announced. It is a mammoth task to organise and organise so many games with limited resources and time. But we know you people shall prevail. Proving yet again “The Pride, Passion and Tradition” is abound.

I belong to The Ahmad House. Black be thy colour, Striving forever.

Fiat Sapientia Virtus.

For the Gladiators of Ahmad, Idris, Mohd Shah and Sulaiman – Fight for honour of thy House and MCOBA. May your House win.

Let the Games Begin!

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