No, therefore I am not a rugby player, and never was...
OK, for the four-hundredth-eighteenth times, I did not play rugby back in school. This time, the fatality was Nazran, a fellow Professional I just met at the gym. It is amazing that after 16 years, I am still frustrated over the whole affair of not actually playing the game of rugby back in school.
To set the record straight, I shall begin to record that (hope my daughter will find this inspiring, and do not repeat her old man’s mistake) it was my mistake who did not put my all in my Peperiksaan Penilaian Darjah Lima. Missing a grade was all it take for me to miss a chance at SBP or MRSM. Back home, my school only had basic sports facilities, and rugby was not an option. I was a fat (extremely), 126kg boy who have been staying at home for too long, and did not have any dreams (except for pointless daydreams) at excelling in anything. Big letter L to the forehead…
After some smacking, I did OK to transfer to city school and stayed at the dormitories. My weight came down, but not rugby. At best, I was put as a goalie in the school squad selecting team, and boy I sucked! I was still so overweight, I could not pass a push-up. While my studies at school were not to be proud of, my sports persona suck big time. Having 2 big brothers who had straight As in their exams and being school and state players for volleyball and rugby made me wonder what has God got it wrong for me? How was I so screwed up that I do not have any physical prowess at all. The best at school was some javelins for my sport’s house (even that was non memorable).
But then I realized my biggest obstacle was not my lack of tenacity to do some sports, because I know I have always loved being in the field (except when we were playing soccer, and my team have to go topless to identify us against the other team. I have some envious moobs then… hahahah). My biggest issue then was (and still is) to get some shoes my size. My feet size has not change much since then, and I am now a US 12. That was some headache, as back home I was considered a giant (they called my a bouncer), and some called me a Bigfoot. How nice…
Secondary school passed, and I have missed the chance of sports. I looked at it that particular way, as both my brothers found their skills during those times of their lives. I have missed the boat. I was an 5’11” boy, with an intimidatingly round physique, and the most benefit of it was being selected as club presidents and school prefect etc.
College days, where my sports activities should have soared, were spent to concentrate on my studies. I finally got a chance to do something enjoyable other than Chemistry, Add Maths, etc, what a new lease of life. I finally started to excel in my studies and my grades are evident of my new 'talent'. I was not that unintelligent after all.
This time, I have lots of hostel mates playing rugby for fun, and we mingled very closely after class. Already this time I was recognized as one of the brains in the class, and my physique still earned me Class President, Club Committees, etc. You name it, all the extra-curricular activities I got myself into (except sports), I was made their top leader. I was so busy managing things, clubs and people, as well as keeping my grades in check that the idea of rugby was lost completely. Being close to KL, I did realize that I could get shoes my size if I wanted to. I figured if I do good in my studies, I could compensate my lack of physical activities somehow. I finished my college with very good grades, earned an offer to go to University of Manchester, and won an award for Best Student (Academics). My best buddy Chuah won the Best Student award for Sports (he played rugby through college).
The rest, as we say it, is history. I never got on a field and play some rugby. Heck, I have never known how to throw a ball. So today, I have come to accept that I am not an athlete of some sort. I am OK with that, although I will not hesitate to participate if any chances are made available to me now. With all my resources now, I think I could do it.
Now, being a Professional, I will be lucky to find somebody my age (in the same field) who would engage in a physical conversation over fried chickens or nasi dagang… We have all passed the phase when peer pressure was paramount. But, every now and then, there will be people who comes up to me and ask me the ultimate question. I will just smile and shook my head politely. With that, without fail, my heart whispers a little bit of guilt.