Back in primary school, I was in the school's handball team. Yes, I represented my school in a sport, you don't have to make those 'astonished' looks. But to be true, I think lady luck played a big part at that time.
Handball was pretty famous in my school, partly because there wasn't any basketball teams around, and the football team kicked dirt. Most of those who aspire to get into SMSS (the secondary school I originally enrolled into) would try their best to make it into this squad.
When our coach, Ms Roslin, selected 14 players for the first squad for training I was the 13th guy to be picked. That meant I was originally not in the squad (a normal handball squad only has 12 players) but was only selected so that we can train as 2 teams. I was slightly disappointed at first, knowing that when the competition arrives I will be sitting in the stands instead.
However, that didn't stop me from training hard. I arrived early for trainings and never missed any sessions. My coach probably noticed that and paid special attention to me and had me work out on my weaknesses. Eventually, after months of training, I just barely made it into the final squad as a backup leftback, with the jersey number 10.
I continued coming early for trainings and developed more in my tactical side (as my coach would call it, since I was not that 'well-built' for this sport) of the game. Under my coach's intensive practice sessions, my tactical awareness became one of the best in the squad. I was able to anticipate crosses, make interceptions, steals and blocks with ease my teammates called me 'sixth sense'.
When the Bangsar Zone MSSWP competition arrives, I had already made my way into the first team. I started every game and we won every single match including the final, conceding only 2 goals along the way. It was also the first time in my school's history that a sports team has managed to win a zone competition and represented the Bangsar Zone. It was the proudest moment for us, and the school called for a special assembly to award us the medals.
The MSSWP competition, however, was another story. Let's just say our fairy tale ended there and then.
Anyway, from this experience I've learnt that it doesn't matter whether you have what it takes to achieve greatness or not. Talent keeps you on top, but hardwork and determination brings you a step further ahead.
And all these would be beyond my reach if it wasn't for my coach. This is long overdue, but I would like to tell Ms Roslin Sidek how much I appreciated your dedication and guidance. Thank you for bringing the best out of me and for being a great coach.