30 April, 2018

WELLINGTON EASTER TOURNAMENT 2018 

Jason So 

Trading Easter eggs for a basketball, netball, running shoes or a tennis racquet. Some might think you’re crazy but it is one of the best things you could do. I was fortunate enough to become part of the OSCA contingent and to participate in the 70th NZCA Easter tournament that was hosted in Wellington this year. I had heard about the Easter tournaments from friends way back from high school and I regret not joining OSCA earlier to get amongst the fun so this was my first official tournament in 2018 and let me tell you….. it was a blast! It was amazing to see some familiar faces from university days and a lot of new faces that were getting into the action of the tournament. The main venue this year was the ASB Sports Centre. It provided an awesome atmosphere for the athletes and also had lots of room for spectators to sit and cheer on their favourite team and/or player. 

As soon as we landed in Wellington, it was non-stop from there. We made it to our accommodation, checked in, sorted out the rooms for everyone and we pretty much went straight to the Sports Centre for the opening ceremony. From there came the introductions to the other contingents and fantastic performances, which included artwork-painting, dragon dancing, singing and unique Chinese instrument performances called a pipa and a guzheng. After the formalities were out of the way you could see that all the competitors were fired up and ready to take part in their sports. With no time to waste, OSCA started off with basketball. OSCA Blue was very unfortunate to lose Nikko to an injury. He was out in the first 15 minutes of playing but OSCA Blue still fought competitively in their games. But Nikko refused to sit down and do nothing in the tournament. He picked himself up and acted as the coach for all the basketball teams, good on ya mate. Next for OSCA was touch rugby. Still sweating from our game of touch and basketball Paddy and myself had to hit the road to tennis at the Renouf Tennis Centre. There I partnered up with an old friend and very talented Nick On who will just track down every tennis ball on the court, a very valuable asset to have on our team indeed. Tennis games started at 6 pm and everything was all wrapped up by 10pm, so it was a late night. At the end of it all, OSCA managed to win the men’s doubles thanks to the powerful combination of Paddy Ou and Conrad Wong, making a comeback from 0-3 to take the victory in a nail-biting of a tiebreaker in the final game. Brittany Wong and Tess Low was the runner-ups in the women’s doubles and Paddy Ou and Tess Low was the runner-ups for the mixed doubles. 

At the end of each day, Wellington had organized a social at different places. On the first night, it was at the MishMosh. Due to the late finish of the tennis games, Paddy, Brits and I received a late pass to the event. We all had a great night but we had to keep in mind that this was only just the first day so we had to conserve our energy. 

With such an intense first day and a fun night out at the social, it was no doubt that OSCA was physically drained, but no matter, our spirits were intact and our will to win was still alive. Breakfast was served, we ate and off we went for day 2. We started off the day with a banger with OSCA’s very own Nick On winning the men’s mile. With all that biking he does, it was definitely safe to say that On was in his comfort zone in the mile run which made him the perfect candidate to represent OSCA. After that, back to the ASB Sports centre we went. 

The OSCA girls were first up against Wellington and they looked to be fired up for their morning game. The girls produced both excellent defence and offence and as a result, they took the win. Unfortunately, the OSCA Yellow basketball team did get a victory like the girls did but we dug deep, showed fight and made them work for it. The OSCA white basketball team which consisted of Ex-OSCA players also showed great skill and competitiveness. 

After our games, we had our second social to look forward to which was held at the Wellington Sports Café. This is where some of the boys told me, and I quote, that fanny packs are the way to go tonight lads. So, with our rad outfits, bling, fanny packs, aviators and Nikko’s “crippled dance moves” we were all ready to hit the sports café. 

On the third day, we had the badminton doubles on. I partnered up with Chris Cheng and we had a tough first round against the Hawkes Bay boys. We threw everything at them but in the end, they were too good for us. Our second game was against the Auckland team and we managed to fight our way to win in straight sets. Meanwhile in the world of basketball, OSCA Blue had a tight encounter with Waikato (the team that won the event). She was a tight game but unfortunately, OSCA come up short by 10 points but the boys showed determination and never gave up. The last social was at Sassy Loves Cash. I decided to make a small appearance there and went back to the hotel early because I was absolutely shattered by the end of the third day. 

On the last day, it was finals day. Chris and I still had our badminton singles to go before we could watch the men’s basketball final, Wellington Vs Waikato. Out of that, I somehow managed to win the badminton plate round in a tight 3 setter. 

After the badminton was complete, it was time for OSCA to put up our feet up to watch the final game. It was a long game with Waikato winning it on overtime. The final event to attend was the prizing giving and closing ceremony at the Grand Century Restaurant. All the cups were given out to the teams that won them and I’m happy to say that OSCA were the co-winners of the Friendship Cup with Waikato. Wellington won the tournament cup and Colin, Nadine & Celine invited all the contingents to attend Dunedin Easter in 2019 with a well thought out piece of poetry! It was also a great opportunity for everyone to see each other one for last time before everyone headed home. 

To sum it all up, it was a ripper of a tournament. Made lots of new friends and caught up with old friends too. The competition was fierce from the contingents but at the same time, everyone showed  excellent sportsmanship, which is what it’s all  about. I’d just like to say a big thanks to our  basketball coaches, Nikko, Paul and  Desmond who gave us lots of advice and encouragement. At the start of this  tournament, I did not know anything about  basketball but now, I feel a lot more confident  playing the sport and understanding the rules.  A big thanks to the Wellington Easter Committee for organizing everything this year, you guys have been awesome. Also, a huge shout out to Frances, Gabriel, Leanne, and Linus for organizing this whole trip for us. I can’t imagine how much time and effort it would take to sort out something like this but I think we can all agree that without you guys this trip would not have been possible. So thanks so much for your efforts. Looking forward to seeing the OSCA whanau next year here in Dunedin, until then take care everyone. See you all in Dunedin in 2019.