I am actually back in the cold Winter weather of Tokyo, lounging on the sofa of my house as I write this. The last day of the tournament was a very busy one with two games and an awards banquet followed by various shooting competitions. The day started early with the semifinals game against CMIS, the tournament host school, at 9:15 am in the morning. We won the game 29-17 with a good strong defense that forced the opponent to lose the ball. After our game, we went back to the hotel and got lunch. Eating lunch for the last time with the team was such fun, especially since we were also played five crowns together. We headed back to the CMIS gym at around 3 pm for the finals game against ICS. The championships game was very intense. Both teams were very strong in defense, so in the first half of the game, not many baskets were scored. The score at halftime was 5-7 and most of the points were due to free throws. At the second half of the game, it was again very intense and both teams were not giving up. However, towards the end of the game, ICS managed to go on a run and lead the game. We fought back until the end, however, we couldn't manage to beat the ICS tigers by the time the buzzer went off. The final score was 14-19. Though we were unable to attain the results that we wanted, our passion and determination to win was evident throughout the end, and I couldn't have been any prouder of our achievements. With an obvious smaller number of players in our team compared to the ICS tigers, we were hustling up and down the court even though we were tired, and pushing till the end. Through this tournament not only were we able to play the sport that we all love, but we were able to come together and strengthen our bonds with each other. I was able to talk to my teammates from other grades about topics that have no linkage to basketball, and the number of inside jokes that we made as a team is countless.
After the finals game, there was an awards banquet and various competitions that followed. At the banquet, we were recognized for placing second in the tournament with silver medals, and Amanda W. and Misa C. were both nominated in the All-Tournament Star Team. The four seniors all participated in the competitions - Amanda W. did the free throw competition, Misa C. did the three-point shooting competition and Shima L. and Anna D. both rebounded - and Ms. Brittany did the coach's half-court shooting contest. When the banquet ended, we were able to interact with players from other schools. From this tournament, we were able to make lots of new friends, especially when we were teaching some schools our cheers or simply when teaching some players Japanese. It was definitely fun being able to talk and interact with new people, but it was bittersweet when we had to say our goodbyes. It was definitely hard for us to go back to the hotel and pack our bags to get ready for the trip back to Japan. The time spent in Chiang Mai was short with 5 days, but in that short amount of time, we were able to grow as a team and build our chemistry. It was a trip worth remembering, and it was definitely a trip that will be missed.
Though the Chiang Mai tournament has come to an end, there is still a week left of basketball season. This week there are two home games against ASIJ and CAJ (senior night) as well as a Teachers versus Athletes basketball game, so there is still so much to anticipate for. Please support our last few games and the seniors who will be ending their very last season! GO PHOENIX!
Another day of the tournament done! Unlike yesterday, we had a slower start to the day. As our first game was at 1:00 pm, we had lots of time in the morning to study and take time to catch up with the work that we are missing this week. A few of us also went and got Thai massages to loosen up the muscles that were worn out from the past few games. Our first game was out in the covered court against CRICS in which we won 34-10. As per usual, after our first game, we had some Thai tea to reward ourselves! Our second game was against Grace International School. We won 25-22 and it sure was a very intense match. The scores were very close throughout the entire game, and both teams fought hard for victory. This game was a match that determined who would be first seed in the pool, and simultaneously whether we can make it to the semifinals, so it was a very pressuring match. However, amidst the situation that we were in, as a whole team, we were able to work together and earn the win for the game. It was not easy as there were lots of hustling up and down the court, but as a member of the team, I think that it was a great game in which we were able to play to our potential.
We have come so far as a team both in this tournament and in the season as a whole, so I am very excited for what is to come tomorrow! I really hope that we will be able to play like we did today and show the other teams that we're not just some random Japanese school. It is sad to think that tomorrow will be our last day in Chiang Mai, but alongside the games that we will play tomorrow, I hope that we will make the most out of it and have fun! GO PHOENIX!
Today was the very first day of the tournament! Early in the morning we walked over to CMIS, and had our first game against EIS. While we had a very slow start in the first half of the game, we were able to win 21-6! In the afternoon, we played against Morrison Academy where we were also won 32-16! It was definitely a more difficult game since we played on the outside court. Although we struggled - slipping and sliding across the dusty floor under the scorching heat - our persistence and strive to win definitely helped us to rise from the ashes. Since the rules in Thailand are a lot different to the Kanto regulations that we are used to (and the referees too), it was a challenge for us to adapt to the changes. However, that didn't stop us from fighting and working together as a team to win against the two schools. After our two big wins, we treated ourselves with Thai tea boba:) At night we also joined a Thai cooking class where we were taught how to cook delicious Thai dishes which we ate for dinner: pad thai, green curry and mango sticky rice. Amazingly, our chef instructor was only 14 years old! We had so much fun preparing these cultural dishes especially since we rarely get to have opportunities like this. Hopefully, we can use the recipes that we learned today in the future and make tasty Thai food for our family and friends:)
Tomorrow is another new day of basketball! My body is feeling sore already, but I am going to rest lots tonight to get ready for the games tomorrow. Goodnight!
Whats up Journal!
I am currently sitting in the hotel with my stomach content, filled with mango sticky rice. Today was a long day - in the morning we went to the Mae Sa Waterfall where we were able to enjoy the fresh nature and in the afternoon, we went to Nikki's Agape Home where we got to engage with the children through games and activities. Compared to the concrete jungle in Tokyo, the Mae Sa Waterfall gave us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the greenery of Chiang Mai. Though the water was very cold, we were able to have fun in the warm weather filled with lots of Vitamin D. After a fresh start to the day, we traveled to the Agape Home. Established in 1996 by Avis Rideout, the Agape Home provides a loving family for young children impacted by HIV/AIDS in Thailand. Though these children have no parents and face many struggles in their life, they did not fail to smile and show enthusiasm throughout our time there. When we first got to the Agape Home, we did many activities with the toddlers, including origami, coloring and dancing, which they all seemed to enjoy. After playing with the toddlers, most of the older kids came back from school and with them, we played volleyball, badminton, trampoline and basketball. Many of these older kids were naturally talented in these sports, however, they do not have the privilege to play in competitive teams and develop their skills like we do. The visit to the Agape Home was definitely a learning experience for us to always be reminded that we are fortunate to have a loving family and the privilege of being able to have many opportunities. Despite the language barrier that was present with the children, we were able to have a great time with everyone and it was truly an experience worth reflecting on.
More to come tomorrow as we have our first day of the tournament! Go Phoenix!
WE HAVE ARRIVED!! Today we had a very long day of traveling. We left the school at 9:30 am after attending the first period and headed to Narita Airport where we rode the plane to Incheon, Korea for a 2-hour layover. The Incheon Airport, which had just finished renovating, was something that looked like it came from a movie! It was highly futuristic with its very advanced technology, and we were able to even play some digital dancing games - it was so much fun! While it was all fun and games during the layover, it was not enjoyable when the plane got delayed for 2 hours due to the snow storm. We were initially scheduled to arrive in Chiang Mai at 10:30 pm, however, due to the delay, we got to Chiang Mai at around 12:00 pm. We were all very exhausted from traveling, so it was really easy for us to have a great night sleep. I am currently writing this in the beautiful cool Chiang Mai morning, and there is a very long day ahead of us. I will catch up later tonight!!