June 2014 Volume 11

KC claims the 2014 Schools’ Challenge trophy

Scott Lee Young
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The pre-season was, for the most part, successful due to the fact that we won most of our practice matches. But as we approached our first match of the season, against Norman Manley High, the confidence mustard from a really good pre-season and the comfort of playing late in the season was slowly decreasing in magnitude. I tried, of course, to act like the captain my team and the entire KC quiz fraternity needed and expected me to be. I tried to suppress my nervousness and display some amount of confidence. Losing was not my biggest fear or the worst thing that could happen to me; it was disappointing the persons who believed in me and the team.

The day before the match, Kenneth Peart (Coach) asked us individually how we felt and the guys all replied with much confidence. I was surprised at their response and I concluded that their confidence stemmed from their naiveté about the aura of a real match in the TVJ Studios.  After all, I was the only one with that experience.

The match came and it was a great one. We defeated Norman Manley High 36-11. That match led me to believe that I could lead my team to the Championships. But the match against Charlemont, which followed, showed that there is no “I” in Team, and that each of us had a job to do and mine was primarily to lead three young talents to victory in every match.

That Charlemont match showed me that we were really a team.  I could not do it without them and they could not do it without me. As Captain, I had to sit down and watch the two youngsters in the middle save our season. The match ended (37-35).  This experience was good for them though as it gave them much needed confidence to face our next opponents, Wolmer's Boys. But for me it was a different story. My main aim for that match was to re-develop the confidence I once had to face a team that beat us 7/10 times during the pre-season.

We had an early retreat, mainly because we were going to play Wolmer's and because if we beat Wolmer's we would potentially have to play Munro the following day. The retreat was long, difficult and intense. Dr. Dallas' house, which was perched on the side of a hill, became a pressure cooker. As Captain, I had to start talking to myself, give myself pep talks. The match came and I forgot all about not being confident because there was no space for mistakes. I realized that only confidence could help us win a match like that because both teams were very evenly matched.

We won because we made less costly mistakes. We had eked out a narrow 43-40 victory over one of our great rivals; the feeling was great and everyone was happy. I was just glad we had not disappointed anyone. But then the unfairness of this competition came in because we had no time to enjoy our success.  It was back to training for our next match which was surprisingly going to be against Old Harbour who had defeated Munro in the previous round.  We were all tired and my confidence was still not where I wanted and needed it to be.
The day of the match I was having a really bad morning. I was sick and I kept messing up during the warm up session we had with our coaches.  After arriving at the studio the match took a while to start and it was really awful for us. The only good thing was that even after putting out our all in a match the day before, we came out the day after and put out almost nothing in a match that we so desperately wanted to win. We were dead tired, physically and emotionally drained but we decided we would not let it go easily. We were lions and we were all ready to roar. Needless to say, we won the match 21-17.

Having over a week’s break was enough to give us the necessary fire and energy to power our will. So Camperdown had it tough, because we were desperate to show Jamaica that our abysmal performance in the Quarter Finals was due to our fatigued minds and bodies. Fortunately, we all had a really good match and we defeated Camperdown 38-18.  The pictures we took with the Championship trophy also helped to enliven things bit.

We had watched KC lose Champs because of disheartened performances and we knew that if playing with heart and passion was all we needed to win, TVJ could just send the trophy to North Street without playing the finals.

The retreat before the Grand Final was really hard and intense but as it got closer to match time things got a little lighter. We met a lot of Old Boys and Digicel took care of our lunch one day by buying pizza. Then the following day an Old Boy bought more pizza. So it is safe to say we loved the food. Also, the regular jokes and tricks to lighten moods became more frequent and we all started to enjoy training a little more.  We were still very tired after a long season and sleep was at a minimal as we played lots of matches, only winning a few against the omniscient Old Boys (who kept telling us stories about how they and other teams had failed in their bid to win the trophy; stories my team listened to very keenly).

The day of the final was a breeze because we mostly rested our fatigued minds. Fatigued because of a long and tiring season, one in which we had to fight for a spot in the next round in almost every match we played. So we slept. When they woke us up, I had my team listen to the soothing voice of Dido, the same song I made them listen to before every match.

Upon arriving at the studio, I became nervous because I had never played in a final before.  I could not tell them what the experience would be like because I did not know myself. They made us go through the “walk in” and immediately after that we went to our room. The clock was ticking and we all were nervous but I played it off and acted relaxed and confident.

The match started before we knew it.  This was really it for us and we understood that. Campion were worthy opponents and they deserved their silver rings. We fought our hearts out in that match. We won because of the ideal we all believed in; an ideal which stands as the first layer of blocks in our foundation; 'The Brave May Fall, But Never Yield'. We proved the odds and the bookmakers wrong and made an eternal mark in the hearts and souls of every KC student, employee, fan, supporter and Old Boy. We proudly looked at defeat and failure and turned the other way into the path of victory and triumph. We won the match in the last three seconds on the last question defeating Campion 27-25.

To many our victory was just luck or chance. But we were the right group of boys, at the right place, with the necessary guts to win a season like what we had just experienced. If you have ever watched Slum Dog Millionaire this would be a bit easier to understand because our victory did not come by chance or by luck. It was written.

Scott Lee Young is the captain of KC’s championship quiz team

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