Early before the sunrise on October 13th, 10 players of the KIS tennis varsity team joined together at KIS to make their way to Beijing, China as a participant of the Dragon Cup Shengyi Tournament. The annual AISA tournament, hosted in Japan, was canceled but fortunately, the team was invited to join a league in China.
As the team made their way to Gimpo Airport at 6 in the morning, a pleasant surprise was waiting to wake up the exhausted team: the boy-band BTS! Following a swarm of fangirls, the team caught a glimpse of each member of BTS as they headed towards their flight.
The team landed in China that morning and was greeted by the immense size of Beijing International Airport. The morning was a great hassle, checking into the hotel and rushing over to ISB, International School of Beijing, to greet the other schools.
There were four schools participating in this tournament: SIS-our longtime rival as well as Korean ally, WAB-Western Academy of Beijing, ISB-the host school, and our very own KIS. The first day, KIS went against the two Chinese teams, showing strong team spirit and perseverance against their tough matches. Although the results were not the best, all members of the KIS team improved from the many matches and learned new skills from their competitors.
Kicking off the second day by chanting the KIS cheer to ripple throughout the courts, the team prepared for a long but rewarding 8 hours. This tournament created an opportunity for Lauren Kim (‘18) and Andy Kim (‘20), formerly singles players, to join together to form a mixed doubles team. Andy Kim described the experience as a “unique experience that could only be acquired by this tournament.” The player who managed to win the most games was Sihun Choi, captain of the boy’s team, beating both an SIS player and a player from ISB.
Q: What do you think the team has gained most from the Dragon Cup Shengyi Tournament and the China trip itself?
The Dragon Cup Tournament was definitely a different experience from the typical AISA tournaments that our school usually partakes in. Through this tournament, our school was able to meet new schools along with new people which all in all gave us a chance to not only make friends but learn from others as we played against them. The Dragon Tournament was also an opportunity for our team to bond with each other; while on the plane, the bus while eating Beijing duck, while rigorously negotiating at Chinese flea markets, and of course, while playing tennis. It’s with no doubt that thanks to this tournament, our team not only benefitted from the competitive playing that took place but also the endless bonding that brought us so closely together.
– Lauren Kim (‘18)
The funniest and happiest moment during the trip for me was…
“When the girls started running towards Sephora, shrieking and yelling, while the guys stood in the distance looking dumbfounded.” – Diane Kim (’19)
“Walking out of the school after finishing the last of my matches, singing along with my teammates.” – Michelle Shin (‘21)
“Yelling ‘YEAH BOI’ with my Chinese opponents before and after our games.” – Danny Jung (‘19)
The hardest moment during the trip for me was…
“Taking more time struggling to order in Chinese than actually eating the food.” – John Heo (‘19)
“When I went to tiebreak during my last game, after the previous 6 hours I had spent playing tennis.” – Sihun Choi (‘19)
The bus rides were always overflowing with laughter and off-key singing, as all members of the team sang and rapped their favorite songs at the top of their lungs. Upon interviewing the SIS team, most players said they remembered KIS as the school with the “loudest and merriest, but also the most horrible singing they’ve heard”.
The last day was wrapped up with a visit to the Great Wall of China, a world-renowned monument of China, along with the SIS tennis team. The now-heavily bonded team cheerfully walked along the wall, despite their aching muscles from the previous days of arduous matches.
– Michelle Shin (’21) and Sophie Yang (’21)