Friday, January 22, 2010

One Rare Gem...

After a manic couple of days, I'm normal again.

I steadied the ship, took a good control of my life, and tried to contain myself from doing anything stupid.

So far, I succeeded.

I'm back to my former self.

Long may it continue.

So I went to Penang Squash Academy Centre. A classy prodigy was strutting her stuff there...she was no other than a certain Vanessa Raj. I wrote about her in great length some years ago. Then, she was a lovely 11 years old girl. Her fickle emotion led her to cry on a tiniest fact, she almost cried whenever she failed to return my shot.

I missed that little Vanessa.

But that was then. Now, she is thirteen...standing taller than me now. Although her biological age is somewhat young, now she displays a matured attitude comparable to a fully grown up girl. Her childish act was long she possesses a rare composure and calm, on and off the court.

Up against an equally young player in the final, she was made to sweat...for the first time ever.

I saw her the other day in the preliminary round...she defeated her opponent without dropping a single set. A walk in the park. But this time around, he was a tricky opponent. Equally skillful and boasted an ego beyond his age, he trapped Vanessa with his cunning shots and techniques over and over again.

Vanessa fell for his tricks on a number of occasions. But she fought back, never to give him much time to breath. Vanessa executed some breathtaking drops...I feared she may fail in her attempts and broke down as her former self, but it was not to be. She has somewhat mastered her emotion and skills comparably.

Their control of the court was amazing. The pace of the game was somewhat slower, maybe due to their relatively young age. But their performance was worthy of a praise.

After dropping the first set, she walked out of the court, sitting quietly besides me. I set my sight on her...but she didn't utter a single word. Maybe she was thinking about the match.I thought of offering her some words of encouragement...but I refrained myself from doing so. She knew what she was doing.

The problem with her first game was that she hasn't force her opponent far enough from the T zone. The T is like a throne in squash...whomever conquered it is the king. You control the T, you'll control the court and you'll control your opponent's movement. Stray from the T long enough, you'll be dead meat not long afterward.

In her second game, she changed her game plan. Now, she played more cross-courts to throw her opponent off balance. She varied her shots...attacking more on the left side of the court. In other words, to the back hand of her opponent.

Her strategy worked...she won the second game.

But he didn't give Vanessa any favour in the succeeding set. He cut and dropped the ball to disrupt Vanessa's game plan...much to her dismay. If she can improve on her smash, the tide would surely turn in her favour. Her drop shot was just excellent. A beauty that makes the game sparkle.

She fought the tie to the fifth set...before eventually losing in the deciding set. Even though she lost the game, I was proud of her attitude, her fighting spirit. Her calmness and her composure were exemplary...worthy of an emulation.

She is one of a kind...a rare gem. It's strange for a significantly older person to admire a younger protege, but she filled me with enthusiasm to play and compete with my full potential. It doesn't matter whether you win or lose a match, as long as you are giving your best.

Thank you, Vanessa. Your attitude and personality gave me something to ponder about.