SAISA BASKETBALL DAY 2

Next day we woke up at a nice time but still relatively early. We went down and enjoyed the breakfast buffet. I very much enjoyed the arab foods as it felt like home. (Egyptian food is still better). After that we went back upstairs to our hotel rooms and prepared for our trip to the dead sea. Me and Darius ran up to our room and packed our duffles and headed back down in preparation for the ride to the Dead Sea. The bus ride was very scenic and beautiful. We knew we were going to the Dead Sea but we didn’t know exactly where because we would have to eat at a hotel and stay there for the day. TURNS OUT IT WAS THE MARRIOTT. It was such a lovely location and had amazing facilities and a view of the Dead Sea. We looked around for a little bit and made our way down to the Dead Sea. We got into our swimwear and ran into the water but were still wary about the water. I had quite a few cuts around my body so the highly concentrated salt water stung a lot. But I absolutely loved the experience. I was able to float around effortlessly and it was amazing. All the other guys enjoyed it too. It was also nice because we had the Lincoln Leopards with us. After swimming in the Dead Sea for a while we got out to put the mud on our bodies. A Marriott employee came down and brought us multiple clay pots full of the famous mud. We all applied to ourselves and each other, it eventually became a mudball fight. It was fun and it was healthy for the skin. But washing it off was a pain since the showers were freezing cold and I had applied so much. Then we walked back up into the main part of the Marriot and jumped into the pool. We did some shenanigans and just fooled around. Eventually we got out and split into different groups. I went with Darius and Ben, we found some sunbeds and just chilled on them with the towels over our bodies and head, soaking up the sun and texting back home.

Not too long afterwards, lunch was ready. Honestly the food wasn’t that great but the dining hall was beautiful. We got unlimited soft drinks which was great. After eating we went downstairs and made our way to the outside part of the Marriot again where we played a few rounds of hide and seek and messed around the hotel. 

After an hour and a half of random shenanigans we were called back to get ready to board the buses and get back to the hotel. Again, the drive was very scenic and I really enjoyed the views. Once arriving back at the hotel we had another team talk and me and a lot of the other guys decided to hit the gym in the hotel and get a run and workout in. I did a 30 minute jog and did some free weights. The weights were light as I didn’t want to accumulate muscle pain a day prior to the tournament. After the workout I made my way back to the hotel room and showered off. The workout was fun and I got to talk more and workout with some Lincoln friends. One especially called Pavlo. After the shower I prepared for dinner and enjoyed the buffet. This time I went to bed early in preparation for the next long tournament day ahead.

SAISA BASKETBALL DAY 1

I woke up at 5:45 to prepare my stuff in advance and double check all my luggage. Once packed up, showered, dressed and ready to go it was approaching 6:30. My driver was waiting for me downstairs which made things a lot easier. I went downstairs, loaded my luggage and prepared for the long day ahead. 

Once arriving at school, we had to wait for others. There were a few late comers but it was alright. After waiting a little while everyone arrived. We got help from the bus drivers and coaches and managed to load everything up into the bus. We got in and drove to the airport. There was no lounge and we had about an hour in the airport. I went with Thisath, Ethan and Antoine and we went to eat some food at this restaurant at the airport. Can’t recall the name on the top of my head. We ordered a lot of food, way too much for that matter. We ended up having double the amount of fries we ordered because we ordered extra by mistake. Let’s just say the flights weren’t fun. We were all passing an ungodly amount of gas. 

Anyways, after eating we met up with our teachers and made our way to the gate. The first flight was pleasant enough. Once in Doha we didn’t have much time. We looked around a little and then made our way to the second gate. Our flight was delayed by about an hour, during the downtime I went to “Del Monte” at the airport, got myself a sandwich and fresh juice. Second flight was also pleasant enough. Upon arriving the workers at the airport weren’t very happy about us arriving because Jordan was in the middle of the FIFA ASIA CUP Semi-Finals against South Korea. After making it past the checkpoints we waited for our luggage then loaded it all up into the bus and made our way to the hotel. The weather was extremely cold but I absolutely loved the change of pace from Sri-Lanka’s constant humidity and heat. The hotel was also very lovely, it was a 4 star hotel and had lots to offer. After arriving at the hotel we arranged rooms and then we ordered some food, talked about the next day ahead and then went to sleep. My roommate was Darius.

 

Feeding Stray Dogs

Towards the end of my Christmas break I decided to move into the family house to spend the last few days with my extended family and our dog, Farida. Since I was last there packs of stray dogs had moved into the neighborhood. There were 2-3 groups. They were truly beautiful. One family lived on the left side of the neighborhood. The family entailed a mother dog, called Chocolata and her daughter Nemo. Then there was the other gang towards the right of the neighborhood of 2-3 friends. Sukar, Lula, and Zombie. Then the last group right by our house. They are absolute trouble. It’s a family of 4.  Mushkila which actually means trouble in Arabic, then Batatan the mother, Aizo the other son then Basbousa the daughter. They are beautiful but they always bully the other dogs. Regardless, me and my aunt love them all unconditionally and give them all our attention.                                                                     

We decided that right after the clock hit 12 on new years that we should go around feeding them all. Our dog in Egypt, Farida can no longer eat dry food because it isn’t good for her. This means we cook her vegetables and give her meat. She almost eats as well as me! Anyways we had large amounts of dry food that were left over so we decided to use as much as we could on the dogs. We went around every different corner of the neighborhood trying to strategically find and provide food for all the dogs without having them follow us. That was difficult. We had to really get them preoccupied because if they would follow us to the other gangs they would get beat up or there would be a fight. It was a very nice deed and it was a great way to start off the new year. 

 

SAISA Basketball Team Selection & Games

The Basketball team was chosen. Well, I made the team with flying colors. But again as a power forward… All good I have improved yet again at playing in that position and I feel much more confident. My shot has improved in such an amazing way. Antoine fixed it for me and straightened out my arm and release. My shot is much more consistent. 

Also we have started playing weekly basketball games against different local teams. We mainly play 2 schools, one called Elizabeth Moire and the other Gateway. We usually beat Moire but Gateway is another level. They are reigning and recurring TISSL champions with lots of experience and skill on their team due to their amazing athletic scouting. It’s great practice because not too many teams will be as good as them.

Overall excited for our journey to Amman. ACS has an amazing team filled with national team players and pro club players but I think if we hustle and play hard, victory is possible. But my expectation is at LEAST podium. After winning volleyball there is a high expectation associated with our team because it consists of many of the same players. There seems to be a massive overlap in OSC sports because me and my group of friends are all triathletes. You’ll notice the same in football as well.

SAISA Basketball Season

With the end of Volleyball as described in previous posts the new season starts. This new season is a personal favorite of mine. It’s Basketball. I want to try and really take this season and its athletics seriously. My goal is to retain my position as a starter on the team. I also want to become a more impactful and hardworking athlete and player.

I’m about 6’3 and half maybe 6’4 with shoes on depending on the kind, so coaches usually play me as a power forward even though I don’t have much prior experience as one as I am a guard when I play in canada. This all has to do with height. In Canada being my height is a good height for a guard and the big men are so much larger. Here I am probably the, or one of the most undisputed in size.

This year for SAISA we are going to ACS to play. They are the reigning champions and are based in Amman, Jordan. The environment we are going to play in is going to be much colder which is going to be amazing for us. We are used to the hot, humid and polluted environment of Sri Lanka with a gym roof that leaks. This new environment for us is going to be a blessing. Firstly its indoors, and has AC so it’s perfectly set up. This means our intake of oxygen, sweat and overall form is going to improve dramatically. This will probably give us a good boost. Being able to work and train in worse environments than going to a top notch environment will really impact our performance in a positive manner.

Middle School Basketball Coaching

 

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Mr Turner, the Athletics Director at the Overseas School of Colombo reached out to me for a position as Middle School basketball coach. This was an opportunity I was glad to take as I had it last year. I was eager to retain the position as I also realized that it would be a useful addition to my DP CAS experience. After discussing the position further with Mr Turner I agreed on terms with him. I showed up on Monday directly after the conversation and met my fellow coaches. When I walked onto the court the first person I greeted was Coach Praneeth. My long time friend and coach from our SAISA basketball experience last year. He is an awesome guy and helped us reach 3rd place in last year’s tournament which was a record for the OSC basketball team. He told me he wasn’t going to be the coach but was just merely introducing his iimpact coaches to the school and me. The head coach was called Ramsey and his assistant coach, Diyon. They were very friendly and welcoming and I helped them navigate the school and also the kids. A lot of the kids knew me and I knew their names so I was a useful resource.

As time went on ME, Ramsey and Diyon kept hosting the training and developing the young athletes. Eventually we came up with an A and B team. We started running games with these said lineups during Wednesdays and Mondays with other local schools. This humbled our kids and also allowed them to continue developing, not just physically but mentally. This proved to be very effective and we grew to become one big family. As our last training approached I dreaded and welcomed it. It was fun and I was emotionally invested in the kids but I did need more time for SAISA and for my work so it was a positive change. Looking forward to doing the same thing next year and meeting the new bunch of kids.

In the picture below you can see me, the coaches and the team after a successful game against the Moire middle school team. I am in the back with a grey hoodie with assistant coach Diyon to my left in a black shirt and head coach Ramsey in a red shirt.

 

Pre-SAISA Saturday Volleyball Tournament

On Saturday the 21st of October, we had a volleyball tournament dedicated to adding experience and practicing matches for the SAISA teams. Both girls and boys teams. We won our first game of the tournament in very decent fashion. We could have done much better but it was alright. Win’s a win at the end of the day. We planned on recollecting ourselves and winning our second game of the day. Sadly that didn’t happen but we played the best we’ve ever played against the Lucky Seven. Then we played our last game. We won the first set pretty well and then in the second our mindset got to us and we lost. Same with the third. We are much better than all the teams. We just need to think that ourselves and work better on our mental. Overall we got 3rd place which was worse than expected. Regardless we learnt from the experience and picked ourselves up. SAISA is going to be a different story. Now we work hard until then.

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Lunchtime Music Performances

Being a part of the arts program, music in specific once every 2 weeks we have a lunch time performance for music. This is an idea and event executed by Mr. Kim. Me, Chirath, Sofia, Akhil and Maya have to perform during these said lunch time practices. Me and akhil commonly perform together so we decided to do so for our first lunch time performance. For our first performance, Akhil and I decided to perform Golden Hour by JVKE. The song is quite straightforward but the intricacies come with the high notes. We planned on playing it transposed 3 semitones but because the piano we had in the library had no transposer and was different from the one in the music room we had to revert and do the original key. It ended up working out but I was quite scared that I’d mess up the high note because of how high it was. I got Akhil to sing some of the higher notes since his higher range is better than mine. Like I said it ended up going well and I was proud of the performance. It just was a last minute change with quite a bit of improvisation.