Growing up in the United Kingdom for nine years, football was a big part of my life. As with many kids, I aspired to be a professional football player when I grew older, hopefully playing for my favourite football team, Manchester United. However, when I entered middle school, here in Singapore, I sort of felt left out during our lunchtime games. I’m not one to make a big deal out of things, no matter how important the situation is to me, and so I looked for alternatives. In my previous school, Chatsworth International School, the only sport available at lunchtime was Basketball, thus, that day, I became a basketball player. I was instantly hooked and suddenly football didn’t seem such a big part of my life. Regardless, I still followed the sport, played
Fifa, checked out how my team was doing in the league or who they were buying in the transfer market. However, the love I had for basketball was different; I was doing research on the history of the game, reading Wikipedia bios on all of the greatest players in history, learning about the different roles of each player, and of course, playing NBA2k.
CAS is not just about doing creative/artistic performances, staying active and completing service. It’s about pushing yourself past your boundaries and trying new things. Despite loving football so much, I had never been on an actual team before. In the UK, I was either too young, or my school didn’t have a team. When I moved to Singapore, I loved basketball so much that I focused my athletics solely on that as well as the fact that football training was in the mornings and I lived too far away from the school to be seriously committed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played football during lunchtimes, after school, in-school tournaments, you name it. But I’ve never been on a football team before.
As a result, I tried out for the football team.
Tryouts were both easy and hard at the same time. It was easy because I was new and so I didn’t really feel pressure to make the A team; I was just trying out. However, it was hard because being new, and making friends so quickly, I felt pressure from them to be good. I decided to play as a defensive midfielder/centre back as this gave me the opportunity to showcase skill without actually showing skill. Basically, since I still know the game – it’s embedded in me – I can read passes and the play of the game. This helps me look really good even when I’m subpar. The strategy worked, and somehow, I made the A team.
It was here that I felt the pressure. I’d made the A team, now I had to defend my spot, and prove that I had earned it. Showing up to the first training, it crossed my mind how out of shape I was. I also didn’t realise how not playing seriously for so long had affected my ability. I found myself struggling to control the ball, make accurate passes; it was just terrible.
They say that nothing good comes easy and that was my motto. I just wanted to keep getting better and if not impress the coaches, impress myself.
We went undefeated in the ACSIS Division 1 league (4 wins, 2 draws), however, we finished second on points. We also won two tournaments, again undefeated, as well as the Friday Night Lights match against an academy team (7-1). Personally, I had my ups and downs. I had some games where I couldn’t be stopped. I had some games where all the goals were my fault. I even had some games where I didn’t even play a single minute, keep in mind we have rolling subs so you can go off and come on as much as you like.
I didn’t make SEASAC, the most coveted honour, yet I feel that this season was a success. Throughout, I kept a positive attitude and encouraged my teammates, who were miles better than me but never voiced it. Their humility is what boosted my positivity. I reinvented myself and discovered the true meaning of hard work. They were so many times during the strenuous training sessions that I wanted to quit, yet I reminded myself of my motto: Nothing good comes easy. I’m really grateful for my best friend, Aansh, who having made SEASAC last year in Grade 10, was so encouraging and supportive, even when I made mistakes.
I didn’t make SEASAC this year, but, mark my words, I will be SEASAC captain next year. Believe that.