Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012 Turkey Tournament

Christopher and I had a fantastic time in Singapore! We only won 2 of the 5 games that we played but the games that we lost were very close and we were very competitive. The boys on the team got along so well and had a lot of fun together. 

Ready To Go!

The city-state of Singapore has an area of only 274 square miles so nothing was too far from anything else. Our hotel was located in historic Clarke Quay, right across the street from Fort Canning Park and near the Singapore River. On a previous trip to Singapore with Kevin and the kids, we walked around and had dinner one night in Clarke Quay but I had never stayed there. It was a perfect location - right between the Central Business District and the retail district of Orchard Road (a shopper's paradise!). There were wonderful restaurants within walking distance and, had I been so inclined, great running routes. 

Clarke Quay. (Wikpedia photo taken by Sengkang).
Near Clarke Quay is this Merlion, a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. The fish body of the Merlion represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village and the lion head represents Singapore's original name (Singapura - "lion city").
The Turkey Tournament was held on the campus of the Singapore American School near the Northernmost coast of Singapore and our hotel was near the Southernmost coast. Although the school was closer to Singapore's border with Malaysia than it was to our hotel, it was only a 30 minute ride from our hotel to the campus. 
A display of participating teams' banners.
Bangkok's U-15 Team banner.
The boys on the team bus. I don't know how many rounds of "99 Bottles of Beer" I heard during this the Tournament. From the very beginning to the very end. The boys were creative and made up a few fun team cheers & songs which they let loose with from the dug out whenever we were at bat. It was so much fun to hear them singing and cheering at the top of their lungs for their teammates. They had such great spirit.
 Off the bus and heading to our first game.
 Putting cleats on. 

Last minute relaxing and fueling.

And then on to warm ups.

Last minute words of advice from the Coach.
Christopher played a variety of positions during the Tournament. He caught, pitched (closer), and played 2nd & 3rd base. Although Christopher and another boy were the only two 7th graders on the team, they both more than held their own against their older teammates as well the other teams. Five 8th graders, two 9th graders and one 10th grader made up the rest of our team. 

Christopher catching.
He had some really great hits. And some really frustrating strike-outs.
He did a great job of pitching. 
The end of the game line-up.
Win or lose, after the game ends and our team goes through the line, they line up in front of the opposing team's bleachers and wai (the traditional Thai "thank you" - bowed head and raised "prayer" hands) to the fans of the opposing team. They then move on to repeat the wai to their own fans. This is done at all of the sporting events in Thailand and is probably my most favorite part of the games. It is so "Thai" and is a very special and unique way to end the game. 
Singapore is located about 85 miles north of the equator and is even more tropical than Bangkok (which I didn't think was possible). The monsoon season in Singapore is November through January and, unfortunately, Friday's afternoon games were delayed by a 2 hour rain storm. 
After the storm ended, a crew of volunteers literally sponged up any standing water from the infield. The photo below shows the large blue sponges laid out and ready to go once the rain stops. It was quite an odd sight to see but the organizer of the event said this was the most effective and efficient way for them to dry the field out so play could resume quickly. 
Contemplating life in between games.
We had the misfortune of having to play our second game on Saturday as a later than expected game. Originally our game was scheduled for 9:00 pm but an earlier game went to 11 innings which pushed our start to almost 10 pm. 

The boys tried to catch some shut eye on the bleachers before the game began.
We did win the game but we did not get back to the hotel until 1 am Sunday. It would have been nice to sleep in but we were up and back on the bus at 7 am to play again at 8:30 on Sunday morning. 

The boys played cards while we waited for the bus early Sunday morning.

Not surprisingly, the first two innings of the Sunday game were horrible for us. We couldn't hit and we couldn't field. It looked like the boys had cement in their shoes and water on their brains! When we were up to bat at the top of the 3rd inning, the score was 8-1 and we were very fortunate (thanks to one of our best pitchers) that it was not much worse. 

I don't know what happened at the top of the 3rd. Maybe all of the caffeine and sugar the boys had been ingesting took effect ??? They came alive and stayed that way through the end of the game. Although we completely shut the other team down from that point on with our pitching and our defense, at the end of the game, we were still short one run and lost 8-7. It was such a heartbreaker. However, all of the parents agreed that you don't mind losing a game like that when the boys come back and fight like they did. When they were down by 7 runs so early in the game, they could have just given in to their exhaustion and let the other team have its way with them. However, they started singing louder in the dug out, cheering their teammates on and totally rallied to almost win. I know if we just had ONE more inning to play, we could have gotten a win. 

After we checked out of the hotel, we went to a brew pub near our hotel for lunch and then headed to the airport.

The late nights caught up with my friend and I. 
While I was going through some boxes earlier today, I found these photos of Christopher from his very first season of baseball (well, actually t-ball) in Virginia. These were taken just a week or two before we moved to Australia. This is where it all began...
Eye on the ball and great hitting form!
What is with that face?!?
Have a great Monday!

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