Those bleary eyed men were the chosen ones – a squad of 12 staff that were carrying the hopes and dreams of an entire school (or so they wanted to believe).
They were merely one of 24 corporate teams that were set to roam the green fields of Pudong that gloriously sunlit day. They were desperate to bring the trophy home.
The efficient and well organised tournament got off to timid start, the BISS Puxi Lions prowled through their first game. They were hungry for success but fortunately for their first opponents a draw would have to suffice, for now. Then the results came in thick and fast with wins and draws at every turn. The Lions pounced early and gained the much needed qualification from their group.
However, the triumphant roar turned in to more of a groan finishing in, what felt like, a disappointing 2nd place. They were the only unbeaten team; they’d conceded just 1 goal and had even torn their way through the league toppers - defeating them 2-1, in a somewhat gladiatorial affair. But the pride smelt blood and scavenged on.
Finishing second meant the Lions qualified for the Plate semi-final. The game was separated by just one goal, yet the Lions looked comfortable throughout their 1-0 win. The final for the plate was within their grasp. It wasn’t until late in to the second half that the Lions sunk their claws in to their brave but weary opponents. The fate of their prey was all but sealed when a second goal hit the back of the net – ensuring that victory, at last, was theirs.
As the sun set over the Savannah that was Pudong, the medals were glistening around their necks like trophies of a long fought battle. Celebratory drinks were toasted and they prowled off in to the sunset and back to the darkness of Shanghai ready to retell their story to cubs that waited back home.
Adam Webb, Year 1 Teacher