… and all I got was this stupid t-shirt

by Jinryu

Seeing as I’m moving out in less than a month, I’ve started going through all the shit in my room.  While going through boxes of old clothing, I inadvertantly ran into a collection of stuff that I no longer wear.  I don’t have many trophies in my room, and though my walls used to be covered in pictures from when I was really into photography, except for a few things which have been around the room for so long that I don’t even notice, there aren’t that many souvenirs lying around.

I did find a bunch of t-shirts though, that brought back memories, and a lot of events that I’d forgotten about.

A Ghost-Busters t-shirt.  My uncle Kam got me this when I was really young– it actually belonged to him.  He was and still is one of my coolest family members.  It’s the Ghostbusters’ logo, with the a glow in the dark ghost behind the ‘NOT PERMITTED’ slashed-red circle, with matching red sleeves.  I used to think this was the coolest t-shirt ever, but my parents told me not to wear it becase it looked so dilapidated.  Fifteen years later, it’s retro and cool!

Two Jeet Kune Do t-shirts.  One is in grey and the other is in black.  Wearing them now I wonder how I ever fit these things because they’re still loose on me, and that’s even considering that I weigh at least 20 pounds more now than I did when I used to practice JKD under P-Chan.  I never wore these shirts in public because the tao insigna on the front attracts too much attention (especially on a Chinese kid) but on the back, lettered in an italicized red, is the mantra of our JKD school: “Having no Way as Way, no Limitation as Limitation.”  These shirts remind me of my beginnings in martial arts and how much P-Chan taught me over the years, probably without knowing it, since we were never close friends or anything like that.  It especially reminds me of how much influence Vittek (and more specifically, my rivalry with him) had on my childhood.

A Disney Magic Music Days t-shirt.  This one is from somewhere around 1997 when my high schol band went to Florida to compete at Disney World.  The competition was held at Epcot Center and against even American high school bands as competitors, we netted a silver– which is no small thing, because generally speaking, American high school marching/concert bands kick the asses of us Canadians.  It was one of the most intense competitions ever, with bands actually sabotaging the common equipment.  It was my first year as an officer in the band, as well as first chair precussionist, and we actually had to bring small tools (a set of Gerber multipliers, for example) and duct tape in the pockets of our uniform blazers to perform quick repairs to anything that was malfunctioning, and we’d have to conduct these repairs in the few minutes of preamble the conductor could buy us by talking up the songs in between.

A Montreal 306 Wing Band t-shirt.  This is probably from around 1998 or so, and it’s a uniform shirt that I got when I was invited to join the RCMP’s Montreal 306 Wing’s concert band.  It’s a simple polo with the band’s logo on it, but I think that this was very significant to me as this was where I got started in the big leagues, drumming.  I wasn’t first chair like I was in the high school band, but that was understandable– the two other percussionists were something like 50 and 60 years old, and they were simply amazing drummers who I’d honestly need another 50 years to approach in skill.  I was the only teenager in the band of about 30 aside from about 2 others.  I remember this time well because it was around then that I wanted to pursue college studies in music, but because of strong opposition by my family, I went into sciences instead like a good little asian.  I resigned from my seat in the 306 only a year after joining it because I needed to focus on school, and I was also in JKD and the high school band at the same time.

A pair of RsM 2006-2007 Tournament t-shirts.  The logo on the back of the shirt was actually designed by Vittek and me using nothing but Microsoft word, about two weeks before we were to host RsM’s first ever “Amateur Open” tournament.  We were in a rush because the t-shirts were being printed in China, and would take about a week to ship over. I’ve got one in the violet design and another in blue.  The back of the shirt reads RsM 2006-2007: “Together, through the game!” which was the motto of RsM until recently.

A bunch of LBA Champion t-shirts.  These are from when I was an LBA team captain at RsM, and my teams won first place in our divisions every season that I captained.  Those were the times when RsM was at it’s most exciting for me, with all the drama of the inter-club wars and politics as well as within our own teams.  Back then, my wingman was always Vittek, and we had a solid team of people who fought hard for us, including Brett, Olivier, MaoMao, Jonathan, Quynh, ML, YC, Marie-Eve, JingZhang, Jenny, and many others.  They were people who cared enough about our team that when they’d won they’d shout out their joy and when they lost they’d get angry, sometimes to the point of tears.

A “got MILK?” Tour-De-L’Isle t-shirt.  This is from the first time I did the Tour de L’Isle bike event when I was back in high school.  I went some of my my best high school friends at the time, those being Jonathan, Jenna and Zanshin.  It was a huge distance for me back then and I remember being sore for some time after that, even though it was probably something like 40km only, and an easy ride with many rest stations.  Years later it Zanshin and I would up the ante on the Montreal courses and complete the Metropolitain Challenge, which was over four times as long and in rainy conditions.

A Laurendeau Dunton Fun Day t-shirt.  This is form somewhere in elementary school, which, frankly, I don’t have many memories of at all.  I still pass by my elementary school sometimes when I bike to my grandparents’ house, and from the outside it looks exactly the same.

A trio of Penny-Arcade t-shirts.  These are from a time when I first started applying the pragmatism of the world of competitive coin-ops to everyday life.  One of the shirts is the Shoryuken shirt, the other is the “Down, Down-Forward, Forward + Punch” shirt, and the other is the joystick with two rows of three buttons.  Playing Street Fighter games back in college had a significant impact on my direction in life, not just because it helped me develop gaming strategies for winning in and out of arcades, but because, it was also a time when I did the most failing.  School life.  Family life.  Friend life.  The game goes on though.

A Dave Matthews Shirt.  My sister got this for me as a birthday present for something like my 21st birthday.  At the time, I was listening to anything and everything by Dave because I fell in love with their unique instrumentation and the technical skill and inovations in his songs.  He had an insider look at life that my previous favorite bands just didn’t seem to deliver.