Some may ponder on how merely playing hockey changed my perspective in life and on people. Even I never expected pursuing my interest would result in such a dramatic affect in my life. It all started of when I was in my last year on the school hockey team.
Due to my seniority and experience in the game, my coach began to assign me the duty of instructing my juniors to become goalkeepers like me. One of the juniors I trained was Ili Anis Athirah who was also one of the best of my so called ‘apprentices’. We became team mates for the under 18 team in my final year on the squad. Unexpectedly, our coach chose Ili as the first eleven players and put me on bench. When I asked coach why he made such a decision, he said both of us were equally talented but Ili had two advantages compared to me; her eyesight was better and she was bigger in size than me. All my eagerness and determination to play for my last tournament shattered into pieces and turned into sheer disappointment.
I was never given a chance to play during that last tournament. The team even broke into two groups. One group was on my side while the other was on Ili’s. I did not bother to gain empathy from my team mates but they were understanding and thought that coach was being unfair to me. He was treating me like an old rag that can be tossed away after being used for so long. Then, during the quarter finals against one of the strong teams of the league, I had an opening of regaining myself to my team mates and of course my coach.
During that particular game, Ili performed badly and gave way to three goals for the opponent. All of a sudden, coach called Ili out and replaced her with me! Even when I was running to the goal post in those heavy goalkeepers’ equipment, I thought; THIS is the moment of truth! I wanted to prove the coach’s judgments wrong. Even though I was short sighted and smaller compared to Ili, I can still play the game effortlessly. I was not nervous because of the game but I was excited to finally get the chance to reclaim my position in the team. Strength and luck was on my side that day. Not a single goal passed through me. Even though we lost the game, I walked to the bench with the abundant feeling of satisfaction that was beyond explainable. Although I did not expect my coach to apologize for abandoning me through out that last tournament, I still felt pleased to just look at his face after the game; he had the expression mixed between amazement, disbelief and at the same time guiltiness. I know it will take him ages to realize that not giving me a chance to play during my final year truly broke my heart into pieces.
From this experience, I did not only get the chance to prove my coach wrong, but I also began to appreciate my friends who were always on my side during the days of my hardships. They were the ones who faithfully listened to my feelings of disappointments and gave me strength through their words of advice. If it was not for them, I would not have the courage and vigor to confront such frustration and humiliation of being the reserved player after four consecutive years of being the first player.
It also occurred to me that not everything in life is permanent. The fame and reputation I gained when I was on the team could be easily taken away by just one decision the coach made; From becoming one of the best players, I became the bench resident. I became a more humble and modest person in personality due to this experience. Fame and reputation changed from becoming one of my top priorities to the least that I could care of. I realized that there is much more in life such as the faithful friends I gained though this episode in my life.
Forgiveness and patience also arose to my senses from this incident. I realized that no matter what a person does to you, we should learn to forgive them with all our hearts. I began to forgive my coach although he made a choice that swelled my heart with frustration and mortification. I learned that from forgiving and being patient, one can enjoy life better as enemies and foes will not surround their life.
Above all, I learned that one should make full use of the opportunities given in life. Not everyone is lucky like me to get the chance to prove other people’s perception wrong. One should grab the chances given to them and put all his strength and efforts in making full usage of it. I began appreciating chances given to me; at the same time I became a more hardworking and passionate person in the things that I do.
In essence, I would not change this experience for the world because of its positive impacts in my life and personality. I have learned how to appreciate my friends better and I also realized that fame and reputation are not the most important things in life. I have indeed become a more patient and forgivable person as well. Besides that, I began to make full use of the good chances given to me in life. No doubt, the moment of truth will stay in my heart FOREVER!