Catching up with Alumni V during the Covid times
Today, we will hear from the recent batch of Basketballers (Class of 2021) as they share their thoughts about missing out on NSG during their JC days and their memories of school life despite that.
Andre and Aryan, our Captain and Vice Captain of the Boys team in 2021 will be taking the hot seat for today.
Griffles: How was training like during your time at Raffles (2016-2021)?
Aryan: We trained 3 times a week in Y1-6 (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays). In Y1-4, training structure was rather consistent- Warm up, ABC drills, handling drills, shooting drills, then some 1v1, 3v2 drills etc, ending off the day with a 5v5. In JC however, our training days were much more diverse, with Wednesdays being dedicated to Strength and Conditioning, which was new. We got to build up our physical strength and fitness doing exercises such as Medicine ball throws, band exercises and box jumps.
Andre: Trainings in JC were unfortunately disrupted due the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic - from no training during the Circuit Breaker to having E-trainings on zoom, then face to face trainings in groups of 2, then 5 and 8. During the precious trainings sessions that we had, trainings were competitive but fun, with teammates all striving to win but joking around with one another as well.
Overall compared to Y1-4, training in Y5-6 had far more variety, and opportunities to train our bodies. Trainings were also more intense, as everyone was competitive and pushing themselves to be better.
Aryan: Though we barely had any 5v5 due to Covid, the other minigames of 3v3, 3v2 during training made up for it.
Griffles: What challenges did you face as a member of Raffles Basketball?
Aryan: In all honesty, my journey in Raffles Basketball was a rather smooth one. This is largely thanks to my teammates that supported me throughout these 6 years, as well as the coaches and teachers in charge that created a conducive environment to grow as not just basketball players, but individuals as well. The only challenge I could think of would be having to push past exhaustion and put in my best efforts during training. This allowed me to become a better basketball player, as well as become more resilient. :)
Andre: Managing schoolwork was something I had to learn along the way. Basketball trainings started late and usually after trainings and dinner, I am too tired to get any work done. Since trainings started and ended late, I usually try to complete the day’s homework before training started, so I could rest once I get home.
Griffles: That's a good point. I remember seeing the past batches of ballers at the canteen tables doing their academic work and studying before heading over to the courts for training.
So, What do you treasure most of your basketball days in Raffles?
Andre: Being a part of Raffles basketball during the height of COVID-19 really robbed my batch of many experiences and opportunities to get to know one another better. However, I still have many memories I treasure dearly from my time as a part of this team. I always enjoyed our walks from Marymount to Bishan to go for dinner after trainings, where we played music and talked all the way to Bishan. I also treasure the times we gathered before trainings started to study together in an empty classroom, and when we talked while we wore our shoes at the canteen tables.
For me, I just really enjoyed the company of my teammates. I also really enjoyed the R League 4v4 games, where it was the first and last time we got to play together as a batch. Being able to play together during the pandemic was a rare opportunity and I’m sure all my teammates were really happy and grateful to have been able to play such competitive yet enjoyable games.
Aryan: The friendly banter, the post training dinners and long deep talks that would follow, all the way from 7-11pm occasionally. While I definitely miss the sport and sweating it out on the court, it's the people and the friendships and memories I made that I will treasure for a long time to come.
G: Ahhh... that's really good to hear that you guys still had a memorable experience together despite so much being taken away due to Covid.
What are you guys up to nowadays?
Both: We are both in NS now serving for the next 2 years :(
G: That's tuff. Hang in there! Thank you for serving our nation!!
Any advice you would like to provide to future Raffles Basketballers?
Aryan: Even when trainings get tough, try to push yourself and do your best. As you grind more, you are sure to improve as a player, and consequently will fall more in love with the sport. More importantly I would say is to cherish the memories you make with your teammates, as at the end of 6 years, these moments will be what you look back on and remember with a smile.
Andre: My biggest advice to anyone is to really enjoy JC and make the most of it, go out with your friends, make new friends and really enjoy yourself, because JC really passes by really quickly. If you pay attention in class and keep up with the lectures, which is really important, I can guarantee that there is plenty of time to enjoy yourself and still do well.
Specifically to basketballers, I advice that you take the time to bond with your teammates and spend time with them eg. ball outside together or have meals before and after training together because having a bonded team is really important and I made some of my best friends in my JC team. All in all just really really enjoy yourself in JC but don’t neglect your studies but really don’t have to study excessively haha :)
G: Great words of wisdom there!
Thanks Aryan and Andre for taking time out of your precious weekend book out time to answer these questions. Before we go, any last words?
Andre: Thank you Mr Tay for giving it your best to make Raffles basketball so enjoyable for my batch hahah