As time for the annual Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC) Basketball Tournament drew near, it was impossible to miss the buzz surrounding the overseas event at Seoul Foreign High School.
Every year, APAC member schools take rotations in hosting different events, thus allowing students to travel to other countries to “not only compete in sports and in the visual and performing arts, but also experience new cultures and destinations” as well as socialize with students from other schools, as mentioned on the official APAC website. This year, both girls’ and boys’ teams were off to the United Nations International School (UNIS) in Hanoi, Vietnam, to participate in the intense 3-day basketball tournament.
What’s interesting to note, however, was how the teams prepared for the event. Of course, there were the hours and hours of training throughout the season leading up to this moment and the purchasing of team apparel, including new warm-ups and socks, but there was also something that stood out: team “hairdos,” so to speak.
The girls walked into the airport looking uniform, all dressed in the same Seoul Foreign varsity tracksuit with three cornrows in their hair. The previous day, the girls had gotten their cornrows done as a team in order to look and feel more like a team than ever before. Not only did it give us the “look of a legitimate team,” but it also gave us the confidence to “assert dominance on the court,” like Jisaan Chai (11) mentioned. The hairdos have been a tradition since 2012, and the team has gotten it done every year since. “It’s honestly something to look forward to – the idea of physically unifying as a team as you head overseas,” Chai added.
Meanwhile, the boys got two lines shaved on each side of their head, looking fresher than ever in their matching apparel and hairstyles. “It’s been tradition for many years now, and it doesn’t feel quite right when we don’t have them,” Paul Yoon (12), co-captain of the varsity boys’ team, mentioned.
These, however, are not the only traditions that go along with APAC. One of the most long-held, widespread traditions is APAC initiation, in which all 12 APAC division schools participate. If it is any athlete’s first time at an APAC sports tournament, they receive an initiation regardless of their grade level. This ranges from doing an embarrassing dare to approaching the athlete you find attractive; the sky’s the limit. It’s something that veterans look forward to every year, and something the rookies dread.
All in all, these traditions are what make the APAC experience so memorable and something so anticipated throughout the season.