Manticore’s team captain of the year is none-other than Yan Jun, a third year Strategic Marketing and Business Analytics major with a passion for all things fun and exciting. My interview with Yan Jun was truly the most wholeheartedly enthusiastic conversation I’ve had with a completely new person.
Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, with university deadlines to meet, Yan Jun truly embodies what makes a good team captain; she prioritises communication, flexibility, freedom, and most importantly emphasises on having a good time.
Winning would be nice but it isn’t a priority as Manticore is choosing to instead place greater importance on teamwork and keeping spirits high as it would reap greater benefits including exhilarating memories alongside prevailing friendships.
Having participated in swimming during her first, skribbl and vice-captaining her second, it is clearly a rite of passage for Yan Jun to lead her third and final Monash Cup.
Despite not being an avid gamer, Yan Jun believes in the spirit of participation, or in her words “everyone’s dying in Monash, have some fun man”.
Hence, this year Yan Jun is stepping out of her comfort zone and trying her luck in “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (PUBG), a great game to play when you need to blow off some of that university essay-crisis steam.
Q: As team captain, how would you describe the experience of managing an entire team of players virtually?
It’s not been an easy job managing an entire committee and players, especially since I’ve not even seen them in person.
Communication is mostly through WhatsApp and I am really grateful that despite the circumstances, I’ve been able to get to know lots of new and interesting people. I am also grateful that the team captains and players for each game Manticore is participating in are cooperative and easy-going.
There have been some bumps along the way but nothing major that we couldn’t get through as a team, and so it’s been a smooth process so far.
Q: Since you’ve participated in both in-person and virtual versions of Monash Cup, what has been the biggest difference?
I’d say that the “vibe” has been the biggest difference as the group of participants are very different people.
Prior to it being held virtually, Monash Cup was like any typical sports day event you’d witness in high school, filled with stamina inducing activities.
ESports used to just be a very small portion of Monash Cup, and so the group of participants were very sporty people but now there’s been a drastic shift as the majority of participants are those who’ve always been a fan of the virtual gaming environment.
I’ve also noticed that there’re more male participants as opposed to females, which is a bit of a disappointment because there needs to be more female gamers. I think this definitely shows that there’s a different time for different people to shine.
In my opinion however, an ideal Monash Cup would be one that’s hybrid so that participation is maximised.
Q: Is the current execution of Monash Cup meeting your expectations?
A pretty good-job was done. My expectations were not super sky-high but compared to last year it’s a lot better.
There’s a legitimate streaming company (IRL Malaysia) streaming the games and there’s been a lot of support throughout this whole process. I also do think slightly simpler games should be offered to account for more people.
Q: How do you train your team members for each tournament considering everything takes place online? Has it been challenging?
I place 100% trust on my team captains.
There’s a lot of flexibility. I do have my expectations and I would communicate it to my team captains, but in relation to how they’d implement it, they have the freedom to do whatever they deem appropriate.
I don’t want my team to feel the pressure of winning. The most important thing is that my team members have fun.
Q: Do you think Monash should continue with the implementation of E-Games in the future?
Yes, they should conduct a hybrid Monash Cup to cater to different needs, one that would work for physically sporty people and those who enjoy sitting in front of their desktops and gaming virtually.
It would be a big project to implement, but it’s definitely worth a try. It would get the whole Monash community to participate in one massive event.
Q: Manticore’s motto is “Hear Us Roar”, has it been challenging to keep your team’s spirits up due to the pandemic?
The biggest challenge is once again definitely the “vibe” of it all.
I’ve been to the opening ceremony of the physical Monash Cup back in 2019 and it’s so different! It’s a very ceremonious event, there’s a stage, a gigantic board with the logo of the last winning house that gets removed to make room for the new winner, the house captains would be proudly waving their flags, and everyone’s gathered in the field to witness. It’s a very grand experience.
Despite it not being like that now, I wouldn’t say that the spirit is not there as I am glad to have enthusiastic players.
Q: How does being in Manticore feel, since you’ve been in it for three years now?
I do feel a sense of belonging as I’ve been consistently playing for the house for three years.
I’ve been into team sports since high school and I’ve always had a competitive but fun spirit.
I’ll be really sad though when I have to leave Manticore but I’m glad I got to participate in three very different Monash Cup’s.
Q: If Monash Cup was in-person, what games would you be participating in?
Swimming! Even though I’m not a pro-swimmer, I used to do water polo, so it’s the next best thing. A few of my friends have suggested that I should try dodgeball, which is a lot of fun. I’d also probably try out for athletics as I’m into long-distance running.
Thank you for such a fun interview Yan Jun! Good luck to you and Manticore!
(It was Yan Jun’s 21st the day I interviewed her, slide into her ‘dms’ and wish her a happy belated birthday <3)
Article by Shabnam Sidhu
Header by Angeline Ho