I just came home from a very very wet game of social soccer. In the downpour, after the game, i walked the stretch of alley back to my car alone. The same stretch of route i used to take to attend my classes in the University when i was living in College (or a dormitory for mad alcohol-crazed students). I cannot articulate how happy i am after the soccer game, how grateful to finally have the chance to regain and resume my sporting endeavours.
I still vividly recall how hard i tried to participate in sports in a new country, new culture, new people, when i started first year of Medical School. It was tough. My accent was strong, and the locals could not understand me, nor could i comprehend them. I was not used to the open culture, the friendliness or superficiality depending on how you see it, nor did i possess the means to easily commute from one place to another. Then, although i did not consider myself shy, i was still clearly very reserved when it came to participating in activities by myself. I thought twice about joining a group of strangers, and i will not be bold enough to look someone unfamiliar in the eye and introduce myself.
Of course i tried hard. Dappled in a whole range of sports – University BJJ, University soccer, touch rugby and by golly even rugby, College soccer, College softball, even tried my hand at hockey with my housemate. But these ventures always failed. Sometimes i was too hard on myself, other times i really did not like the company of my former teammates – we just did not stand for the same thing.
I brood about it and i was miserable because i thought those sporting days where i used to hang out with a team were long gone; they were just remnants of a glorious high school past. Friends in Medical school have vastly different priorities from me – i was just an anomaly; perhaps even in the wrong course. But i was glad of one thing – i never stopped looking, never stopping trying. Friends are filled with disbelief as i tried one activity after another; it was something new every week, sometimes i guess, it was really a sign of a discontented and highly frustrated individual.
After six years, right in the final year of my Medical course, i hit pay dirt. I found a martial arts club that i like; people that are friendly and nice. I chanced upon a soccer advertisement, and discovered a team of fantastic girls; even though there was a glitch in the electronic advertisement and the training venue was further than stated but by then it was too late because i have given my pledge of commitment. Did more research, and found commercial soccer coaching and socials that i could play in to lift my game.
And i thought about all these as i walked in the rain, wet hair plastered to my head, raindrops rolling off my cheeks and nose, and i am very very grateful that i have a chance to experience having fun with a team again. I know that all good things must come to an end one day, and for a split second, i was overwhelmed with sadness that threatened to ruin my elation, but that passed quickly too. Somehow, from those days of anguish, i have learnt something else – at least i had the opportunity to regain this sense of team spirit, this identity, this camaraderie that is so unique to sports that i can never find a substitute anywhere else. This may pass but i will remember and i will cherish this joy, this relief, these precious moments. If i really seek something, i must fight for it, because it will come through eventually.
I am very grateful. Gracias Kami.