24 May 2007

Singapore Champions League?

Abacus, my employer, has a series of team- and morale-building exercises throughout the year, friendly little competitions among employees. They have broken us out into four "houses", similar to Gryffindor, Slytherin, et. al., from Harry Potter. My team is The Incredibles (I think I was placed on the team because of my resemblance to the father, only with a smooth dome), and over the last two days we participated in the Abacus Street Soccer Tournament. Maybe by chance, it coincided with UEFA's Champions League final, where the European club champion is crowned. Last night, in Athens, AC Milan beat five-time holder Liverpool for its seventh title. Well, that's where the similarities end. Our venue was an old street soccer court, and our histories are nothing as illustrious as the two sides who took the pitch in Greece. The Incredibles last night drew one match and lost the other two, earning a single point and a spot in the "3rd placing" match against the Avengers. I was unable to play last night but turned up to anchor the squad tonight.

While I felt it was important to bond with my fellow employees and see them outside of work, my legs right now would tend to disagree. I think they will be even more temperamental when I attempt to get out of bed tomorrow morning. But, that is the price of pursuing greatness.

The match started well when the referee reduced the timing of each half from 15 to 10 minutes. I played a roving midfield position (the pitch is smaller than a regulation size basketball court, so hold your applause) and assisted in our first goal in the third minute, which put us ahead 1-0. Alas, a defensive lapse and an inattentive goalkeeper meant that we were even at 1-1 at the half. The second half started well, as I volleyed a rebound into the back of the net (left-footed even!) to help the Incredibles take a 2-1 lead, but we were level again at 2-2 before we could reach the final whistle. Extra time yielded three Avenger goals, and the final was a 5-2 defeat. "Fourth placing". At least we got a $5 Starbucks card. That's in Singapore dollars, however, which means I'll still have to pitch in to buy a drink.

The championship match turned out to be a lopsided affair, as the Justice League jumped ahead 4-0 en route to a 5-1 win and the title.

Now that UEFA's Champions League and Abacus' Street Soccer tournament are over, I don't know what Singaporeans will do to fill their sports viewing needs for the next few months. Myself, I plan to take on a more managerial role in the next tournament. Unless it is competitive eating.

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