We may not be as eventful or as party-going, as some of our fellow universities within the region but we Monashians can certainly make an event memorable when we want to, with the Monash Cup Closing Ceremony, being one of the biggest events of the year, with celebrations going on long till the dead of night, the sense of school spirit and pride greatly rejuvenated after a long 2 years in the pandemic. 

Throngs of students began showing up at the Concourse Area at 6.00pm, with many students sporting their house colors, their arms barely balancing the food, drinks, and sweet treats from the Monash Business Club Bazaar, who, in collaboration with Clubs & Societies, brought in several local vendors that served to keep our bellies warm and our thirsts quenched throughout the night. 

The microphone screeched slightly as the MCs of the night: Jean and Myzan took to the stage to officially begin the evening’s festivities, with a brief opening speech by none other than our very own Sports Officer Lee Jia Jing (JJ). He extended his gratitude firstly to the entire C&S division who have been working tirelessly for the past 3 months to execute Monash’s first post-pandemic Monash Cup. He also thanked Monash Cup sponsors profusely, especially Genysis for allowing us the use of their studio to stream and conduct our E-sport tournaments. 

The audience was then swept away by Hero’s cheerleading performance as well as a range of performances by the Monash Music Club who dazzled us with their performances that ranged from original rap pieces to absolutely heart-wrenching covers of famous pop songs such as “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”, “Unfaithful” and “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You”, which got all of us a tiny bit in our feels. 

By 6.30, tensions began to build amongst the murmuring crowd as the final performances for dance and cheer were announced, the two events that would determine the overall Monash Cup winners of 2023, a fact that was not lost on most of the supporters as opposing roars of “CULEBRE”, “MANTICORE”, “OPINICUS” and “LEVIATHAN” shook the Concourse Area, with some students going so far as to stand on tables and chairs for a glimpse of their teams’ routines. The performances were punctuated with screams and shouts of awe as the dancers and cheers truly gave it their all, one penultimate push, to the finish line for the sake of their respective houses. 

The crowd then slowly dispersed into the bazaar to join the hordes of hangry students that were lining up for warm brown bags of pan-fried dumplings, ice-cold plastic cups of Thai tea, and boxes of gooey cheesy fries, whilst we were serenaded by “Dandos” a band brought in from Taylors University as well as the Monash Music Club. Phone flashlights were switched on and bodies swayed in time with the tunes of our generation’s classics such as “Enchanted”, “Still Into You” and “Youngblood”. The intermission ended with a giveaway by C&S as well as a shout-out to MUISS who advertised their flagship event: Monash Cultural Night. 

At long last, the moment we were all waiting for had finally arrived: the announcement of the winners for 2023’s Monash Cup, which rumors from the grapevine was a heated competition between Manticore and Culebre. As JJ announced the winners for the last two categories of the year: Cheer, which went to Culebre, and Dance, whose gold was clinched by Opinicus, it dawned on us that now was the moment of truth. 

Weeks of blood, sweat, tears, and training would all come up to this moment

“And the winner for Monash Cup 2023 goes to… CULEBRE!” 

Screams of excitement and chants of “CULEBRE ALL THE WAY!” exploded from the crowd as Culebre’s athletes rushed, as one, towards the stage, the sounds of footfalls like a beating drum as ecstatic hugs were given, hands were shook, congratulations were exchanged amongst each other and the green ceremonial flag waved proudly in the cold night air, a dark green beacon of victory, stark against the deep blue velvet backdrop of the star-studded night sky. 

Being a part of Culebre myself, I cannot deny that it was one of my favorite moments back as a Monashian, taking me back to the Sports Days of old when I was younger and much more carefree. And isn’t that what these events are all about? 

To feel, for just a moment, that you’re part of something a lot bigger than yourself. 

To feel, for a split second, that sense of belonging we all crave deep down within ourselves. 

The first Monash Cup after 2 years may not have been perfect but it will certainly be the most memorable and I’m sure, it has lit the competitive fire inside of all of us which will burn long and bright for next year’s festivities.

Written by Ashley Lim

Photos by Shawn and Yang Thong Chen

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