I don't remember exact numbers but in essence this is what took place.
In a 2 day event, Malaysia was badly trailing Singapore by 17 points (I think) by the end of the first day. And the entire contingent was demoralised. That evening I took Mark and Sumant out for tea tarik. This is what I said to them. It is easy to be demoralised and get sucked in by the negativity. We do not know with any certainty what will happen tomorrow but there is one thing you can control. Your own game and your own mind. Do not allow the environment to affect you. Rest well and prepare your mind for tomorrow's battle. This is mental strength. It's not over till the fat lady sings.
In my heart I hoped they will serve as an example to the rest. Never know. It may help a few others to fight too.
When I went back that evening I urged the other players (mainly the older juniors) to rest early and to their credit they did.
Many parents were also up in arms because they did not agree to the line up. Neither did I. Mark was not fielded on the second day. And so we had a few discussions on the matter. I argued that this was not the time to be divided. We need to support the strategy that MCF has put in place. There are too many unknowns. We do not know Singapore's line up and so we cannot say with any certainty what the right strategy is. But this we know. If we fight among ourselves now, our negativity will infect our players. So in the absence of detailed knowledge, let us just look at things half full. Lets stop the in-fighting and cooperate. We can postmortem after the event.
I urged the players who were not playing to help the ones who are, to prepare despite their own personal disappointments.
Situations are complex; who is to tell in the moment what factors are the ones that can tip the balance with so many unknowns. One negative incident can undo all the work that was done to prop up the morale, the fighting spirit of the entire contingent.
In this one case, the balance of forces were tipped to the positive. We won against Singapore for the first time in 10 years and on their own ground because enough saw the cup half full than half empty that day. We finally pipped Singapore by 3 points. This was on Jan 1st, 2011. The day the event ended and hopefully a new beginning for us.