St. George's College
Good & True ...issue# 44...November, 2005
The hotter the battle, the sweeter the victory. This old adage tells the story of the St. George's soccer team that tasted a few defeats early in its 2005 campaign but weathered the storm to win the St. Mike’s League Trophy and the much talked-about "North American St. George's Challenge" in Florida.
The St. George's team had a rocky start to their St. Mike's soccer season in earning a draw in its first game, losing in the second, and getting eliminated from the Archangel knock-out competition by virtue of a 1-0 defeat.
After much soul searching, gut-checks and some intense criticism from supporters and team-mates, the team transformed itself into a unit that proved to be a force to reckon with.
The efforts of the St. George’s' College Old Boys Association in Toronto, with its constant support of the team, did much to change the team's fortunes. It has been suggested by opponents that our soccer team has a distinct advantage with such an organization behind it.
After the disastrous start that was mentioned earlier in this article, George's finished with a record of 11 games played, 1 loss and 1 draw.
It is noteworthy that as the season progressed, the support on the side-lines increased to the point where the final game, an epic battle between an unbeaten United FC team and St. George's, was reminiscent of a manning cup game where vociferous cheering from the George's crowd made a huge difference in this evenly contested game.
When the dust settled, StGC emerged the champions with a 3-2 victory. This marked the team's third consecutive championship title.
Newcomers Joseph Liu (graduate of StGC) and Jason Manzur played crucial roles in the team's success while second year defensive stalwart Chris Colangelo was unanimously voted the team's MVP. I can't say enough about the inseparable trio of Matt Ono, Peter Trentini and Craig Wright who, through their determined play have helped the team, on occasions, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Goalkeepers (who occasionally play excellently in midfield) Erik Lalani and Dale Chung, original members of the StGC soccer team, continue to display deftness in the net. Chad Chin (instrumental in the founding of the team), had a great season in midfield and was effectively supported by fellow midfielder Mike Genaro.
In preparing for a second trip to Florida, Chad and Daniel Garel (while being ably assisted by other members of the team and Old Boys Association) launched the inaugural St. George's Domino tournament; this was a big success. The usual tremendous support was given by the executives of the STGCOBA and it was indeed good to see past-president Don Barnett, current president Robbie Vernon, Lloyd Chung and Pat Haddad taking part in the tournament and holding their own in some fiercely contested domino games. The seemingly ever-present Patrick "Skedron" Smith and Derrick Melvin also lent their support to the team.
My list of prominent supporters would not be complete without mentioning the wives and "significant others" of the players and executives. Heather Vernon, Jennifer Barnett, Novelette Graham-Hart, and Michelle Garel (just to name a few) played very important roles and it is safe to say that had it not been for their commitment and team spirit, all this success would not have been possible.
It was also a delight to see prolific goal-scorer Aaron Sani and his friend Wiz Khayat winning the domino trophy. Displaying true generosity, both gentlemen donated their winnings to the soccer team. Well done!
October 5, 2005 came and the soccer team-mates departed to Florida to do battle with their nemesis in Florida but more importantly to fellowship with fellow Georgians and to do their part in drawing the two organizations closer. Indeed some good friendships have been created and some long lost friends have been reunited via this annual tournament.
The always jovial and generous Dennis Barnett and Richard Wong-Sam met the team at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, officially welcoming the players to Florida and offering assistance.
A welcome dinner for the entire team and the Toronto guests was provided by Dennis Chung the following day. StGCOBA's president Robbie Vernon, his wife Heather and new additions to the team (first vice-president Danny Holung, his wife JoJo, and Director-at-Large Richard Saunders) were also present.
Saturday, October 8, 2005 (game day) arrived and the sun shone brilliantly, pushing the temperature to an unbearable (to Canadians anyway) 96 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade. Mr. Wong-Sam boasted about the day being cool by Floridian standards. This temperature, acting as a 12th man for the Florida team, was similar to last year's when the Torontonians were great early in the game only to succumb to the heat later on. Recall that we lost last year's encounter 2-3.
Thankfully, this year the team had some dedicated reserves who took some of the "heat" off the regular players. Eddie Chin, who was on a week-long Caribbean cruise that began a week before game-day, ran laps (every day, according to sources) around the ship's upper deck in order to achieve match-fitness. Of such was this gentleman's dedication that he got off the ship just prior to the game then hired a taxi in order to get to the game on time.
Danny Holung, who had not played soccer in many years, bought a pair of soccer boots a few days prior to the game and did some practicing in order to achieve match-fitness.
We also had Michael Wright, a very good player who played for the Toronto-based George's team back when we had our famous Canadian Roper Cup games against Kingston College. Director-at-Large Richard Saunders gave a good account of himself in goal; his contribution allowed regular goal-keeper Dale Chung to display his midfield skills. It must be said that our reserves did an excellent job and made a huge difference in the team's performance.
Our team had a very fast start with Nick Lam, Dale Chung, Aaron Sani and Ryan Lam testing Florida's goalkeeper Arthur Chin-Fatt repeatedly.
Ryan Lam would eventually put us up 1-0 from a deflected shot outside of the 18-yard box that beat Arthur's outstretched hand. The first half ended with the score at 1-0.
Ryan Lam, who scored his second goal early in the second half, seemingly sealed a victory for the Torontonians but the Floridians, as expected, kept battling and equalized mid-way the second half.
It can be argued that Aaron Sani's knee injury, a misfortune that occurred while he was contesting for the ball in Florida's 18-yard box, brought about a very somber mood amongst the Torontonians and their concentration seemingly lapsed. Aaron was taken off the field and attended-to by paramedics. He was then taken to the hospital for check up purposes by Robbie. Both missed the rest of the game.
The remainder of the game was not easy for the Torontonians due to the fact that there were concerns regarding Aaron's health, Florida was pressing for the victory and Aaron's prolific goal-scoring touch was absent. Notwithstanding these circumstances, Ryan Lam's ability to put the ball in the back of the net did not subside; he scored a brilliant game-wining goal to put the score 3-2 in favor of Toronto.
Much praise is due to the Florida team that displayed some very skillful players; some of whom played Manning while I was in the lower forms of St. George's College.
The legendary Trevor Palmer (AKA "Speedy", 1976), who helped George's to the Manning Cup semi-final, was a tower of strength in defense for Florida. All-Manning forward Richard Strachan (1982) stood tall with Palmer in defense and scored one of Florida's goals.
Nick Ziadie (who was on George's winning team, 1982), played his usual spectacular game but could not penetrate a stalwart defense and good goalkeeping. This article would not be complete without mentioning the names of Dennis Chung and Dennis Barnett who showed that age has not diminished their soccer skills.
At the presentation, much was said about the bond that was formed between the two teams and between the two organizations.
The concept of this trip was to create a stronger bond between the two organizations, reunite long lost friends and to create friendships, and thanks to the executives of Toronto and Florida - mission
"Laaad sa! I am going to feel the wrath of the Lee Family today," said Fen Chang, just after he took his turn to tee off on the first hole of Mill Run Golf and Country Club in Stouville, Ontario. He meant what he said, for he was flanked to his left by Louis Lee, and to his right by Mark and Phillip (Louis's two sons), all very good golfers.
Friday September 2, 2005, was a fantastic day for the annual St.GC Ontario Golf Classic. With just a slight breeze in the air, sun shining, 24 degrees Celsius, and not a cloud in sight, we couldn't have asked for a better day.
My foursome was comprised of Donny Miller, Ray Jackson, Patrick Haddad and myself. We came in mind to play serious golf and compete for prizes, but we came to have a good time too.
Now the only person I know that can compete with me in chatting a lot of meaningless nonsense is Derick Potopsingh. But this was the day I learned that Jackson and Miller were also in a class by themselves as well.
Let me give you a sample of the type of conversation that took place between the three of us:
Jackson would make a great shot. I would admiringly comment "Wait! Who dat? Was that you Jackson?"
Jackson would immediately reply "Who dat just say who dat, when I say who dat?"
Then Miller would pipe up, "Nu him dat just say dat!"
Jackson would fire back, "You sure is him sey dat?
Miller would fire back, "Well if it isn't him, then it's her se dat!."
I would reply, "Who say she playing with us today anyway?"
Miller would say, "A me sey dat!"
I would answer back, "Who sey dat?"
Miller - "A me dat!"
Followed by Jackson's quick, "Who dat sey who dat when I say who dat?"
This nonsensical banter took place between the three of us every half hour or so. Haddad thought it was funny in the beginning, but towards the end I believe it was starting to get to him, because the more we did it, the more his shots were off the mark.
The highlight of the day was when Miller's ball landed 8 feet away from a pond on the 17th hole. He walked up to it, stood at the end of the pond, and turned back to watch Haddad, who was about to take his shot from 40 yards behind Miller.
Haddad shouted," Donny! I think you should move away from my line of fire." Miller, sizing up the situation, shouted back, "It's ok Pat. I trust your angle of fire." With that Haddad took aim at the hole, which was about 170 yards away, and just whapped his ball as hard as he could. The ball shanked right at 200 miles an hour, mercilessly heading towards Miller.
Miller jerked his body backwards so violently out of the way, that he turned and landed feet first into the 4ft. deep pond.
When the large belly-flop type water splash fell back to earth, I turned and looked at Jackson, who had halfway fallen out of his cart with laughter. The look on Haddad's face was priceless. His eyes were wide open, like Al Jolson singing "Mammee, How I love ya". Haddad wasn't sure if the ball had actually struck Donny or what. Then when Miller climbed out of the pond, with green moss and pond scum hanging off him every which where, Haddad then began to laugh uncontrollably. A putrid stagnant smell slowly filled the air around us. I looked over at Jackson who was doubled over with laughter. And me, well, the tears were running down my cheeks as I thought to myself "this couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."
After the game, a bunch of hungry bellied people drove as fast as they could to get to Fen and Anita Chang's house, as they were the hosts of the after-game frivolities.
Francis Dalhouse, Buski, Herman Lyn, Jimmy Lai Tam, Pat- Mike - and Derrick Haddad, Trevor & Pam Summers, (I must say Pam is a trooper and should be commended, being the only female playing with a bunch of St.GC jagobrats) Bobby Gauntlet, Dooley, Rudy Chin, Jeff Chin, Mike Kong, Jimmy Lai Tam, Louis Lee, Herman Lyn, and others hungrily sprawled themselves on chairs in the back yard, with one thing in mind, Anita's food. And grand it was, as almost all of us went back for seconds of everything. Lai Tam's plate looked like the SkyDome with the roof closed, -- twice.
Then after a few burps from Master of
Ceremonies Rudy Chin, (who bragged he was in the latest golf outfit from Europe,
which was really short pants that reached almost to his ankles), he stood up and
announced the winners.
Jeff was the overall winner, shooting a handicapped 70, followed by Phillip Lee who shot a 71. As these two guys never attended St.GC, the rule is they couldn't take home the trophy. This rule paved the way for the man who came third, Ray Jackson, who shot a 70, to be the official 2005 winner of the trophy.
Rudy then exclaimed that he was pleased at Ray's win, because he was tired of seeing Chinese names like Chin, Chang, Chong, Fong, engraved on the trophy each year, and that the name Jackson was now a welcomed sight.
Longest drive was by Louis Lee, and closest to 3 designated pins were Trevor Summers, Fen Chang, and Mike Haddad.
The unquestionable hospitality of Anita, Claudette Lee, (and sometimes Fen, who kept saying "Mi too tiad!"), capped off a magnificent day for us all.
Each year the fun time at the annual tournament gets better and better.
Hmmm! Can next year's event top this year's?
Naah! --- Let's not think about that now.!!
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