On the rugby pitch: Promising 1st yr athlete Jaemok Lee
OCdt Catie Keyser, 24633
Despite being a team with a small populous for selection, the RMC men’s rugby team looks like they’re shaping up for a strong season with many talented new players. Jaemok Lee, a first year from British Columbia, is such an athlete who the team is strongly looking towards for the drive and determination that will be needed to push the team forwards this coming season.
Jaemok hails from Qualicum Beach, BC, and spent the last two years playing on the rugby team at one of Canada’s top boarding schools, Brentwood College. Last year, he had the privilege of traveling to France with the team to compete against the youth clubs Bordeaux, Dax, Bergerac, and Bayonne. Their team won the BC Provincial Champions, Boys “AA” Rugby in both the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. This year, he is a rookie on the RMC men’s team, but of course no rookie at heart. He gladly accepted our request for an interview, and was enthusiastic to share his thoughts on rugby, and his experiences so far at the college.
Name: Jaemok Lee
Birthday: August 23, 1991
Height: 5′ 9″
Squadron: 8 Squadron (Mackenzie), Whiskey Flight.
Position: Winger, Scrumhalf.
Catie – What’s it like being from BC where you played in a high profile rugby program?
Jaemok – It is most definitely true that the rugby program in BC has much more glory and pride. It is also true that players and teams out west have more skill and experience. I’ve never played at the university level before, but I feel that watching some of the teams within the OUA play they definitely don’t lack the skill and techniques. The one fault I learned is the lack of interest and support to the rugby programs in the East. However, this is all explained by the fact that weather and Mother Nature doesn’t permit the eastern players, as much as the western players. While rugby is all season long in the west, it is limited in the east. Therefore, as the saying goes, “the more you practice, the better you get” applies to this situation.
Catie – Why did you choose to come across Canada to go to university, and why did you choose RMC?
Jaemok – Post-secondary education has always been a plan for me in life. It wasn’t because of the pressure from my beloved parents, but the fact that it would open doors for me in the future. Considering RMC as one of my post-secondary institutions wasn’t a choice until the very beginning of grade 12. Honestly, I disliked the fact that you had an obligatory service after the 4 years of study. However, everything else about RMC was just perfectly suited for me. Attending a private boarding school during high school definitely helped me adapt to living without family, and the challenges of the four pillars of RMC thus far. The most important factor, however, for choosing the Royal Military College of Canada, is the fact that your job is secured. Most university students these days will graduate from college with a degree, but not be able to secure jobs. I decided that RMC would be the safest way for my future.
Catie – Why do you think you’re best suited for your position?
Jaemok – Wingers on a rugby team should almost always be the player scoring the try. This is because they are the last players on the outside of the field using their quickness, individual skill, and speed in order to score. You could say that wingers on a rugby team are equivalent to strikers on a soccer team. I believe that I am best suited for my position, in that I go looking for the ball to try and score. Being a small and lighter player in the league, the only way to compete with the heavier players is to use my quick steps in order to put the opposition off balance. Although I have much more to learn about the position I play and the techniques that need to be mastered for this position, I believe that I am able to compete with the older and more experienced players within the OUA.
Catie – Best rugby moment:
Jaemok – The best rugby moment within my rugby career so far, would have to be the one in France. My high school team travelled to the southern areas of France, during the spring break of 2009, playing rugby games, while learning the French culture. One of our games in France was against a team called Bordeaux. The French are known for their fast pace game of rugby starting out with their developed youth teams. However, the game was very evenly matched throughout. Within the dying minutes of the game, I caught a kick that was supposed to be cleared out of bounds, and ran through the scattered Bordeaux defence, scoring the try to win it all. Definitely a rugby moment I will remember for the rest of my life.
Catie – Do have a nickname already on the team?
Jaemok – I have a bunch of nicknames already, and the most appropriate one for this interview would be Jumanji. At my first practice with the RMC rugby team, we were doing a drill, and the captain of the team, Mr. Harbottle (IV Kyle Harbottle, 24481), asked me for my name from about 15 metres away. When I told him it was Jaemok Lee, he misheard me for Jumanji. One other nickname is J-Rock.
Catie – Is there a signature move you’re known for on the pitch?
Jaemok – Haha, I don’t really know if I have a signature move yet. I could say however, I like to use my quick feet and do lots of sidestepping, a move where you step one way to put the opposition off balance and go the other way. Another skill I like to use when I have the ball is to kick the ball high and far down the field, chasing the ball in order to catch it in the air, while gaining a lot of yards and putting pressure on the back three players of the opposite team.
Catie – Favourite international rugby team/player and why:
Jaemok – I would say that my favourite international rugby team would have to be the Springboks, South Africa. With their intensive power and speed, they dominate in the scrums with their forwards, while using their speed in the backs to create a try scoring opportunity. I also believe that they are one of the most determined and eager teams within the international league. It’s obvious that every team in the world wants to win, but I think the Springboks want it more than their opposing teams in every game they play.
My favourite player would have to be the Welsh “Magician”, or Shane Williams. His nickname says it all. He is an absolute magician on the playing pitch. The scoring chances he creates for the Welsh team is ridiculous. Being one of the smallest players within the international leagues, matching up against gigantic forwards is intimidating. However, using his quick steps and “hot” hands, he has scored many tries, and created many scoring opportunities. I would also say that I am a little biased, because I play a lot like him, when I see my game tapes. I’m not saying that I play as good as him, but I’m saying that I look like him playing, with the little legs moving quickly, almost looking like chickens running.
Catie – What are some of your expectations here, whether with the rugby team or the college in general?
Jaemok – I’m expecting that I will take advantage of all I am able to do at this college. Whether it’d be from interesting clubs, to holding leadership positions, I am ready for all the expected challenges that will stand in my way throughout my 4 years. While concentrating on academics, athletics, and the military lifestyle, I want to also enjoy the life of a normal university student; going out on weekends with friends to just get away for a day to relieve the stress. With regards to the rugby team, we definitely need to improve as a team in order to finish high within the ranks. I will try with my experience and skills in order to steadily bring the team and the program itself above and beyond it has ever been. I also expect to be fully bilingual.
Catie – What are some of the highs and lows of your time at RMC so far?
Jaemok – Some of the low points from the time that I’ve spent at RMC so far would be breaking my finger during the third rugby practice and not being able to actually run the obstacle course with my flight. Although it was depressing not being able to because of one finger, I was still able to cheer them all on throughout the course and running to the bell at the very end that would also be a highlight of the last three months as well. A highlight would also be completing the “Bring Sally Up” famous push-up song of RMC and erasing 100 whiskey points (penalty points earned during FYOP for bad inspections etc.) for my flight during FYOP. With the help of my awesome and understanding roommate OCdt Colin Carswell, I was able to get through FYOP with my one hand. We failed about every inspection.
Catie – What other sport(s) do you excel at or at least learning to excel at?
Jaemok – All of my life I have played soccer. It has and always will be one of my passions. I have played soccer at various levels, and received bronze in the provincial level one summer. Up until I learned how to play rugby, which has only been for about 2 years, I was a prestigious soccer player. I have travelled to England to play, and have trained with various soccer clubs in England such as: Liverpool, Blackburn, and Crewe Alexandra. I was terribly upset when I found that I couldn’t play both the sports at RMC.
Catie – If you were Commandant/DCdt’s or Top 4 for a day, what would you change?
Jaemok – Well, I can’t exactly say much because I haven’t been here long enough to make remarkable points about the school and the way the school runs. But, if I had to change something at the school I would add a sleep in day during the week, whereby students are able to sleep in until around 10 o’clock, and breakfast would start later. Maybe, on Wednesday instead of PMT… Moving PMT to another date, because, it’s important. Also, brunch on Sundays instead of breakfast. And maybe a Tim Hortons on campus?
Catie – Any advice or words of wisdom that you’ve lived by?
Jaemok – The most important advice or words of wisdom that I’ve lived by is “don’t give up and stay positive”. This statement relates to every aspect of someone’s life. Whether it’d be academics, athletics, military, or life obstacles, following these words of wisdom has helped me to achieve and accomplished what I have done up to date.
Catie – Why should athletes come to RMC to play rugby rather than any other sport?
Jaemok – Why? Because, rugby is like war on the field where everyone has each and everyone’s back while doing everything in their power to protect and sacrifice their bodies for the team. You will go that extra inch and use the last bit of gas in your tank to gain that extra inch in the dying minutes of the game. Thereby, on a rugby team at RMC you are with you comrades, teammates, and brothers fighting for glory. If you want to play with a group of close guys at a highly demanding school, the rugby team is where you want to be. If you’re having troubles with Calculus, you can get help from Mr. Harbottle, while if you’re having troubles making your bed, you can ask Mr. Carswell (not really).
Catie – What do you think of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board vote which ended in an 81 to 8 favour of allowing Rugby in the Olympics?
Jaemok – It’s definitely exciting to hear the fact that a sport you play, which isn’t very popular everywhere in the world, has finally been accepted at the international level. It will definitely have a low profile, as it is a new sport. However, this will promote rugby all around the world and show that it is a worthwhile sport to play.