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It's More Than Just Sports.

Sports is more than just recreation. It Binds, It Breaks. It is both a kind and harsh teacher. It Brings Joy and Sadness. Celebrate in Victory and in Defeat. It's a part of our life. Let's Celebrate it.

Almost Men: The Weekend Part 2

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Saturday Morning

Player 1. Position Forward. “COME ON!” I take the ball and charge up straight at the defense. I must be nuts but enough is enough. A surge of anger rising within me. I can’t let the game go the same way again. 2 guys in defense and they look confident to set me down like earlier. Tuck my shoulders, power leg drive ….

“I’m THROUGH!” “I broke the line!!!!”

Champions of Bali 7s Junior Rugby 2018. Sweet Moment for Naeem. Never the best, nor the most talented. Not that chubby little kid anymore.

Player 2. We just lost the ball to a counter ruck. "Come play with us! your team sucks la." says my schoolmate who plays for another club. It was so easy to do it. Then I saw my coach (probably tearing what's left of his hair out). He's been with the club for ages.

I realised...."yup it sucks, but I can't just give up on them OR give up on coach".

Player 3. Position Wing. “Another loss. We almost had this one!” I thought to myself. My speed is making a difference now, with all the work put, it feels good. Coach calls me over and says “Hey, your attacking runs are awesome!” “Cool, even coach can tell!” I thought to myself.

“..BUT…” Uh-oh, I brace ……

He asks me “Why is it you have no issues running the ball up against 3 guys but you can’t run and tackle 1 guy?” I stood there thinking about it. Click. A light switched on in my head.

Sometimes it doesn’t occur to them how good they can be. For most, that moment of realisation won’t come as easily. It’s tough as very often you won’t know when it’s going to happen. But when it does happen, the effects can be remarkable. For a young man or lady for that matter, it can be a game changer.

They need to do it on their own on their own time.

Saturday Evening

“Do I need to book a grab for you?” I ask my son. “It’s ok. My friend’s mum will bring me back after the movie.” “Have Fun” My only response. He’s going out for a movie with his rugby team mates. As I see him exit the house, his rugby kit is already packed for training tomorrow. He has found a place with this bunch of boys and looks like they are showing signs of accountability to each other.

Tying a shoelace. A significant act that can make a parent proud. Solving their own problems can start at an early age. As much as we try to do our best for them, sometimes it's for them to figure things out, whatever the environment.

“Daddy…..me and mum are sharing make-up!” Shouts my little girl from across the hall. I have a laugh with myself “Tonight, girlie make-up. Tomorrow, she’ll be out on the field running her heart out with her taskmaster coach.”

I was very sceptical at starting my kids out on rugby. Didn’t know much about the game nor the club. But thankfully, things are working out.

As much it’s about the kids, its also about the parents. It’s new ground especially if, as a parent, you’ve never experienced junior sports at such a competitive level. Then there’s the social aspects of the environment you and your family are getting into. Ever thrown out the question “When I was your age? ….”

Because though it may have been the best environment for you, but is it the best for your kids?

Sunday Night


My eyes wide in shock. What was a team dinner turned out to be a Surprise Birthday Party for me. My assistant coach put an arm around my shoulder and said “Got you! Enjoy it!”. “Happy Birthday Coach!” “Congratulations Coach!” “How Young are you?”

Birthday Party celebration for the coach. And to celebrate their 1st ever championship win.

The team manager came to me “The players and parents thought it would be nice to celebrate your birthday! We are a team through good times and bad times.”

Around me, parents, players, managers and fellow coaches……that moment, I felt we crossed a line. It’s not just a team but a family. I recall my friend saying to me “You’ll get there bro. You love these kids. You will find a way”

Success is not reaching the destination. Success is to be able to move forward on the road that you’re on. To move together and working hard with your team to reach that destination.

As much you doubt yourself, sometimes it’s about having a little faith. Right?

The story of a player, parent and coach are fictional.

The Struggle and Thought that come with are real.

May these boys enjoy more sunsets together

If you missed Part 1. Click HERE


The team started out years ago with Coach Marten and Rizal aka Iceman. There was also Rusydan, a parent, who would support the team through thick and thin. It wasn’t easy for this group but they kept faith.

King, Rizal and Romzi (who's taking this lead in 2019). Pic was taken after Bangkok 10s International. The trophy marks the 3rd time the team made a top 4 finish. A mark of legitimacy and not a 1 hit wonder team.

It’s interesting how things work out. When I came along to coach , it was a new environment for me but helped out as best as I can. For a time it was me and Rizal.

Until Coach Tatt King came along. Despite his sons giving up Rugby, he stayed on for these Almost Men. I can say the same for Coach Rizal whose 2 boys left the club for boarding school. But they’d always come back.

It's remarkable how things turn out. I'm keen to give it a hollywood spin for the story of these boys. In tribute to these coaches;

"O Captain My Captain"

(Guess who plays John Keating?:) )


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