So, after a visionary year way back in year 1 and several bumpy negociations, "internship @ La New" was finally a Go. During the process I experienced a successful SM summer camp, came with a bunch of Nobodies and furture to be’s (i.e. 546), then witnessing how another camp folded up (MAN!), a chairman change. Just when me ain’t having any hope for the brief vision, came the end of 1st semester in my 4th year, I was suddenly asked by the new Char Chen to speak to Dr. Chou about the possibility of the internship. All of a sudden, the vision we all had became so real, so close, and was hanging by my conversation.
It turned out to be a phone call instead of a face-to-face talk, to Dr. Chou, who gave me Mr. Peng’s (aka Pachin) cell phone, and thank goodness for Zan who completed the deal. The rough preparation work was finally over.
Yet the "rough" part had certainly just got started.
Day O. The evening before the whole class 92 of SM envaded the real world, we had an Intro with the La New ATs. Not shocking, but I had already sensed the impatience in one of them. I told myself, hold no grudge before knowning it through. After a night with my peers/Chen/office lady, we hitted the road. SePe, Li, and I, SM represent. We got to work.
First Cycle (or KuLu as everyone calls it). Bad, real bad. Supposely, we had all the skills and tools. Supposely, the first 2 days of our time upon arrival was the period given for adaptations and adjustments, that’s right. Supposely, the players are more concered about the effectiveness of icing instead of the circulation of their arm ("muscles can survive under 6~8 hours of insufficient blood supply," they said). It turned out that its the ATs who apparently to be thinking like that. And the equation applied to just about everything else we thought we had, in common. Real bad.
It was a disaster. Apparently, everything we’ve learned from school, or been warned of, were completely flipped upside down. Plus, many things that could be done ON normal individuals, hardly apply to the pro athletes. To rub in the salt, we WERE shorthanded skill-wise, since truthfully, we weren’t given much at school ("it’s illegal," said prof Kuo). We were dumb-struck! To, me, it felt like 911 crashing down. Everything had to be re-started from Ground Zero. Mobilization (which I still am concerned), stretching (this I’m cool with), taping (no complain), evaluation (prof Kuo, period), everything. Oh, even ice-packing had to be re-taught, and that ain’t no simple task! I still haven’t mastered it up to date yet. Dissappointments from the ATs, of course. But damn, it striked the hardest on us, no questions. SePe expressed why evreything was so hard. Li had teras in his eyes when Liang Ru Hao screamed "fuck! didn’t you teach them!" Me? I was depressed so hard that my chief complaint during my psychiatric evaluation of military physical was "my internship @ La New was giving me a great deal of stress." It was 911 indeed.
For a period of time, I arrived home, totally physically and mentally exhausted, yet was too scared to sleep because of the evaluation report. The issue did not improve as days went by, I had to try really hard just to hang in there. One day, it was the end of the 3rd day of the cycle I think, I was so tired that I laid on bed and slept for 12 hours, just in time to woke up an hour ahead of time to type up my report. Those were the tought times.
Yet no matter how rough the process was, the bitterness still came with sweets.
Every morning after humongous breakfast at their cafeteria, the 3 of us would go to the stands and enjoy the whole stadium with the beautiful sunshine. At the end of the day after another belly poping dinner, we went out there again and soaked in the moments in exhaustion. The morning sunshine drive and the evening exhausting gratification were the Redbulls and Thanksgiving turkey that energized us and completed the day.
One of the best part about interning, or being involved in professional sports, especially in such well organized team like La New, is meeting and getting to know all kinds of people who perform their ultimate to make the living. I ain’t talking soley about the players; speaking with the GM Chen and head manager Hong drawed a different set of curtains in front of my eyes. They were both men of vision and determinations; it wasn’t hard to understand why they could swip the league like typhoons last year. And the players, man, the first player I met was ironically the only man that I haven’t spoken to so far, Chen Ching-Feng. This reminded me of Sir Charles was choking hard when he joined in Philly when they still had Moses and Dr. J. But Ching-Feng doesn’t have a Dr. J in him, so I will have to find my way out someday to speak to him before I leave. The most shocking imagination I had captured in my mind so far were the size of the players. They were humongous!!! Everyone was HUGE. On top of all, there was this MAN, Chen Feng-Min, the catcher, who, apart being the father figure of the team, was a no-joke linja turtle. Literally speaking, arms the size of my legs, legs the size of my trunk, and trunk…probably me with full catcher gear-on. As SePe’s put it, the man’s always geared up. He was just Big Big Big.
My first taping job was actually an out of blue trial from the GM Chen, who needed someone to tape his wrist. I was confident at the time, and did an apparently satisfactory job on his wrist. Even though now to think back, it might had been too uneven on the tension, but I didn’t know and therefore was calm and smooth. In a way I think he probably used the opportunity to see if he’s let a bunch of fools entered his organization. So glad I was confident.
Like I’ve mentioned, it was a disaster in the beginning, so my head was nearly hanging by the string. Yet man, I guess god always know just the right time to give a man a break. I performed my first massage on Tsai Ying-Feng, who happened to have SERIOUS muscle tightness issue on his right arm. The WHOLE ARM was Solid ! I could hardly tell the difference of his muscle and the bone. I experienced what I called "99% efforts for 1% feedback." I was trying MY BEST to help him, talking with him of course as well, and sweating like a pig. Then, to my gratefulness, he bought the 3 of us coffees from the consession. That was… man, I could easily have tears in my eyes. Thank you man.