Buckling under stress
Saturday, July 05, 2014

Last Thursday, I was embarrassed, ashamed of myself even.

It was competition day, I was representing table tennis for my unit and the day seemed to be proceeding smoothly until my captain told me that he's going to put me in as second singles.

I was surprised to say the least as I've only prepared myself for doubles in the first place. However, our next opponent(Guards) didn't seem to pose much of a threat to us; so I thought "why the hell not, let's do this. YOLO"

Long story short, even though I was second singles, I'm playing the last match because of certain arrangements. It was also the last match of the day for us. The front 4 matches went by in the blink of an eye, and we were leading 4 - 0. Everything seemed to be set in place for us to claim the top 4 position.

Until an upset occurred at the table next to us. Transformers won against RSAF.

Because both their teams have won against Guards 5 - 0. All of a sudden, my match became de facto for us to get into top 4. If I lose my match, we will be 3rd in our group stage and be pushed to the lower brackets competing for 5th or 6th place. I thought, heck, I can still do this. The stress definitely multiplied like bunnies, but still, I believe I could kick some ass.

Well I couldn't be more wrong.

For some miraculous reason, the head of my unit, the boss of all bosses decided to grace us with his presence. Now I don't know about you, but when a colonel is watching your match with his full, undivided attention, when you're the deciding factor if his team enters the top 4 or not, my heart and mind pretty much crashed like the great depression.

To make things worse, it's not just one colonel, but two. Accompanied by a Master Warrant, and officers with plethora of lines on their chest. Oh, and the commander of OETI was there, ME6. The commander of ALTI was there too, ME7.

I'm not trying to make excuses, but I was honestly blind sided by this turn of events.

I don't remember the last time I was in such duress, when the nerves totally took over my body and senses. My hands went cold, my legs felt stiff and I'm pretty sure I had tunnel vision back then. The people supporting me tried to shake me out of it but the curse already have a firm grip of me by then. It came without surprise that I lost terribly to a guy I should be able to defeat with ease in my normal state. 

I honestly just wanted it to be over and hide in a hole somewhere.

This is a shit experience, borderline traumatic. I know it's not entirely my fault, but with the way events turned out, I just can't help but feel that way.

This was not all bad I think, as i managed to learn something new about myself; that I was vulnerable to a panic attack when something unexpectedly stressful happens. But this only happened because I wasn't prepared for it. It'll be fine, because I will definitely prepare myself for the competition next year. And yes, I am playing next year as well.

For now, the competition is over, we were placed 5th(one better than last year). It's time to leave this saga behind and get on with my mundane work again.

Till next time.

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