Today I had to miss an important 501st Legion trooping event (so I heard, Fiona Xie was there too. Not that it matters). Not only that, I had to miss an exciting time watching the Volvo In-port race off the East Coast today too (I’m a sailor). Why?, you might ask. What could possibly happen on a carefree Saturday afternoon, so important to me that I had to forgo two seemingly once-in-a-lifetime events so as to attend to it?
Being a school team sailor for Meridian Junior College means having to train three times a week. Not gym training, sea training. That means having to go out to sea three times a week. Take an MRT Train to Tanah Merah three times a week. Ride the shuttle bus to SAF Yacht Club three times a week. If you missed the bus, take a cab to SAFYC three times a week. Pay an average of $10 to the guy three times a week. Haul up your heavy sail ttaw. Fix up the complexity of ropes and knots to your boat ttaw. Ride your heavy boat on its useless trolley down the ramp into the water ttaw. Bob up and down the waves ttaw. Struggle against the strong winds ttaw. If not, space out in your boat with nothing else to do during light winds or when there’s no wind at all, ttaw. Capsize your boat ttaw. Shout at your less-experienced teammates for not doing it right ttaw. Strain your fingers pulling the ropes ttaw. Bruise your legs and feet against the boat while jostling for position ttaw. Hit your head with the sail as it swings across your boat ttaw. Lug your heavy boat on its useless trolley up the ramp out of the waters ttaw. Wash every part of your boat ttaw. De-rig whatever you fixed onto your boat ttaw. Change out of your wet clothes ttaw. Find out later on that the plastic bag carrying your wet clothes had leaked and that your bag is dripping with water ttaw. Go home feeling very tired, and as though you’ve wasted your whole day, ttaw.
I skipped today’s events for sailing training.
A three-times-a-week occurrence. A part of everyday life. A part of school. Something I have come to dread very much.
Why then, did I still attend today’s training session? Better still, why don’t I just quit sailing altogether since i hate it so much? Why am I so stupid? Why can’t I just get a girlfriend? Why am I still making rant posts on this blog? When’s my birthday?
These must be the questions flooding your mind I presume. Firstly, I like being single and ogling at pretty girls, and secondly, I’ll be starting another anime blog soon. In the meantime, this blog is back to its original general-purpose state. Thirdly, it’s two days from now.
I am the vice-captain of my sailing team. That means I ought to have some position over the rest of my sailing peers, and to be able to get them to listen to me. I also ought to have something nice on my testimonial at the end of the schooling term. Additionally, I ought to be able to just leave the brunt of a leader’s work to the captain, and only take on whatever she cannot handle. Therefore, being the vice-captain ought to be the best position for an under-achiever like me who still wants to have some sort of authority.
That’s not what the teachers think. As a vice-captain, I was supposed to collaborate together with the captain to make things happen. I accept whatever responsibilities from beside the captain and not from behind. I play an active role in supporting the team. And more stuff you’re really not interested in reading.
I even had a dressing down from one of the teachers-in-charge the other day. Apparently, I’ve been missing too many training sessions for unacceptable reasons. I can’t deny that; sometimes there are one-a-year anime conventions or other events that I wish to attend. And sometimes, I just want to get away from it all, the mundane and dreadful sailing routines. After all, what’s missing one session when there’s always gonna be another one two or three days later?
No, said my teacher. As an executive committee member, I’m supposed to be keeping a near-impeccable attendance record. I’m supposed to be there all the time when my subordinates are, to show my presence, to wrestle me some authority and power, to act like a responsible model for them to follow, and just go through whatever they have to go through as well. They made the effort to attend for the day, why can’t I?
I can’t really accept why they don’t really accept (lol) stuff like conventions, related events etc. as viable excuses. It’s as though I have no life besides sailing. But no, it’s because I am a vice-captain. Looking back at the time I eagerly rallied for a leadership position in my team, and jubilantly securing it, I come to the conclusion that it was that very moment that had enslaved me to my CCA. Yes, ‘enslaved’ is the best word to describe it. Because this situation is not that easy to get out of either.
Said teacher has given me the choice of relinquishing my position for this year, for what’s left of my training stint (5 months) with the school team. Thinking about it, I realized that letting go of your position is not as easy as it sounds. The repercussions are great. Others’ perspectives of me would change. My pride would be tarnished. There is a pictureboard outside the general office displaying the various student leaders of the school, and I am among that group. What would happen to my image there were I to drop my role?
That is why I told him that I would stay on as a vice-captain. I will weather the last 5 months of this grueling training, taking on whatever responsibilities I am required to see to. I will continue to go through the routine three times a week until everything is over. I will do it together with the rest of the team, and I will make them admire me for what I’ve contributed (yes, I’m vain that way). I will fulfill my role as the vice-captain of the school sailing team to the maximum.
That is why I went for sailing training today. I now look forward to Gordon’s report on the trooping event, and somewhere hopeful for the results of today’s in-port race.