The later stage of La New Interhip got better. We settled in much more adequately after the end of the 2nd Kulu. I guess the hardship paid off, in which we stayed for extra hours daily to recieve the skills/techniques and being verified by Pachin to ensure the quality. Of course one of the trainer was mocking off expectedly but that didn’t stop me from trying again and again. As we caught up with our roles and confident with our performances, days rolled around much steadier and pleasantable.
Every morning we arrived early and started of the day at the cafeteria to have Loads of breakfast with some of the early birds, frequentees of American Dion, practitionee A-Shiang, or even the newly arrived power Gary. They were all good people. American Dion was cool, being cool, and stayed cool by sleeping in the training room when others were running P-P (pole to pole). A-Shiang being the practitioner, made us feel like we were on the same boat. And Gary, he was a great man. Not only did he own some smooth precise pitches, but also a well experienced mind and attitude. Like Head coach Hong said, hardly had he seen a foreign player practiced with the team as hard as Gary. He was The Man. I was so glad to meet and make friend with a man like him. After breakfast we always went out to the stands to enjoy the best bit of sunshin (with Gary speaking on the cell phone sometimes) and headed in to begin our job with LOADS (a whole ice-making machine full to be exact) of ice smashing.
If we had smashed the ice efficiently, we would had bought ourselves some time to join the training room and maybe gave the busy bodies a hand. Mostly just served as the "do this" boy, nothing extraordinary. But gracefully I often had the opportunity to tape the wrist for Jun-Wen and SePe’s there to ultrasound Tsai Ying-Feng. I was just so grateful for Jun-Wen, who had given me chances over time to get accustumed to his wrist and style. It was just a pity that we couldn’t have enough skills to come around and put the texts into actions.
The morning training was just a beauty itself. I got to help my client, A-Liang with his stretching, and occassionaly other players would ask me to assist them as well (i.e. Jun-Wen, Shi Yen-Wei). The running drills followed were also an exercise for us the internees, although it merely served as warm-up for these beastly players. One of the most impressive integral within not only the warm-up but the whole La New team was their high octane spirit among the members. Maybe except the foreign players and a few elders (CCF!), the players were energetic…or at least, LOUD!. For that one time when players around me turned into crying owls…MAN, million dollar moments.
The players then headed to their individual group practices, in which I mostly watched A-Liang and kept an eye on his sore shoulder. This 15-20 mins period provided me time to chat with the players quite well on a personal level. It was great towarded the end when i got to speak with one of the few bachelor degree’s holder/teacher, Jiang Po-Ching, who also spent a year at my long time favorite team, the uni-lions. It was eye-poping to listen to the REAL insight of what was going on within the underachieving organization of talents. I was also surprised by his attitude towarded playing time in which he had learned from his experiences when PT meant nothing if one’s not fully prepared. That’s something I have acknowledged most disheartenly in BCS Hoop. Being around such wonderful talents, it’s not hard to tell the succcess of one over another by his work ethic. In Po-Ching’s example, it’s one of those examples that made you look forward to see the man blossom in the future. The same scope also applies to Shu Yu-Wei and Lin Jin-Ping, who displayed the same level of determination as well.
During lunch hours some players may need some more training sessions, mostly just icing. That was the time when we got to speak to Gary a lot. Since everyone else was around, he seemed to be left out in the equation. The time in the afternoon was mostly easy; we got lots of freedom to operate. Every othe day we spent time in the weight room trying to buff up and talking to the players to see if we could learn from the training. Other times we watched the players bunting/batting on the field.
Had we stood around, the internship would had ended on time as well. Yet we, in my opinion, actively tried and helped the coaches collecting the balls, bought ourselves some recofnition from the coaches, and talked to just about everyone of them. I was glad Head coach Hong was welcoming our arrival, and he was not shy to sare his beliefs about "professional" (aka. business) baseball with us. Yet it was equally satisfying when I could provide some helpful and very reasonable suggestions to coach Lin Jeng-Shian on cholesteral, injection, and supplements. From the responses, man, I felt I was "recognized" by my professionism. It was gratifying.
Apart from the weight room and out on the field, there were also players training in the aerobic room with the SET (swing exercise therapy). I was shocked the first time seeing iron men like Chen Feng-Min and Chang Min-Yen toying around the SET set as if the ropes were steel wiring. Those players weren’t all about mucsle power, man, they had fine motor control. It was also a pleasure to meet the low-key high tonic injury-returnee via SET, Shu Chih-Shang, who was one of the nicest people we had met in La New as well. Man the first time I saw him, I thought I saw Pan Wei-Luen…even though I clearly was fully aware that this was the team from Kaohsiung. And I still can’t believe the Mr. nice guy would race on his way to Tai-Tung with a Ferrari (was it the same one that Uncle Ze was talking about? funny as hell). My time with SET began when once Pachin asked me to head to the aerobic room to see if the players may needed a hand. The trip allowed me to meet A-Shang personally and thank goodness I paid attention during our one and only SET lecture at schooll; my advises were accepted by the much more experienced players.
As the players finished off the training, it was our time to perform. I didn’t know if I had made a name for myself, but in the end I had definitely made myself useful. My most loyal customer Chang Min-Yen would often come to me to either solve his hamstring tightness or other discomfort issues. Although it was always pain in the twisted thumb, man, being "needed" or "requested" was a wonderful feeling. And as those classic moments came by ("I felt numbness shot from the leg to my vas deferans"), it was all worth it, I tell ya. As I got myself acquinted, I began to discover the advantage as the interning medical students had over the trainers – Time, and Knowledge. One of the reason Chang Min-Yen chose me over the trainers was because it otherwise would be too painful. Without us three, there were only 3 of them taking on 53 players; they had to manipute in the fastest way by all mean if necessary. But I got all the time I had, so the session Could be, as Shu Yu-Wei had once said, made you fall asleep. I think I did just that. There were also Wang Ji-Rong "Pork" and Shi Ji-Wei "Lil Head" who I believed benefited from my stretching. Man, Lil’ Head, A-Shang, and maybe Lu Jun-Shong, were the nicest guys on the team who I gratefully not only been able to help, but also learn from. Lil head even said I had the "PhD’s face," which really meant also to me. Hardwork indeed, worth the sweat for show.
My La New Madness ended on the afternoon prior to Chinese New Year’s eve. SePe, Li and I took photos with just about everyone who we were dared to open our mouth to. Then we sat at the consession stand, just outside the entrance of the stadium, and just chil’; soaking in every bitter sweet of the moments, under the rewarding Kaohsiung Winter sunset. We went from the "rookies" to "buddies," "knew shit" to "got some shit." Even though evidently there were still ways to go in our course of training before our faculty ever have a complete training, I am still profoudly thankful for all the lectures I’ve attended and books I’ve read. The experience not only knocked ourselves back from "supreme fantasy" into reality, it also showed the steady and solid pathway to our edgy-land. Like I’ve mentioned numerous times before, all the pain and sweats were there to make the end that much more enjoyable. I would not have and not going to trade away any part of it for anything else.
Appreciations, of course, to the two chairs, the ortho Docs, the faculty, and Zan that made the dream into reality. To the La New organization and the coaches, for the opportunity and more importantly, showing faith in us. To the players, for spicing up our days there, believing, and for the 2nd chances. Definitely to the trainers, including the sour face one, whom without we would not had been nearly as rewarding and complete. And yeah man, mates, you were there, we came, survived, lived, and walked away together. Enough said.
Thank you God for all the blessing.