“Why not?!” I demanded. ” Pfft! F.Y.I They’re doing it.” I huffed as I stormed away. I have never questioned the coaches decision but not today. Today I just erupted. Victory was ours but he was too adamant and loyal to his values and wasn’t letting me change that.
I’ve been on my feet since 7am, drenched and parched under the laser like rays of the noon sun and running around ferrying water bottles. It didn’t help, my 5-year-old who resembled almost like a baked chicken refused to get out of the sun and sit under some shade. It didn’t help, me kicking myself for forgetting to bring along an umbrella and my eldest refusing to drink water because she has an issue with sharing her water bottle.
“Fine! Don’t hydrate yourself!”
Slowly the guilt crept in as I watched her play, skillfully defending her post but looking exhausted and thirsty. Next thing I knew, I was on my feet, running towards my car for a fresh water bottle, cursing along the way.
“Here’s your bottle and this time learn to say no if anyone wants a sip from your bottle because this is the last fresh bottle”
Then I grabbed a bottle from the team’s pool cooler bag and forced my overage toddler. She looked up, her skin almost ripe like a tomato.
“Fuck!” I forgot the umbrella again. “Fuck!” my daughter echoed. “Noooooo, I said duck! because a ball was heading your way darling” my quick response to kill the swearing.
Clearly it wasn’t my day.
20 May, 2017. We arrived early at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya. We were the first and a light drizzle early in the morning promised a beautiful day for tournament. The grass had a fine layer of diamond like water droplets, a nice tent with some neatly stacked up plastic chairs for mom’s like to me to rest our heavy bottoms on, was a welcoming sight. I was impressed “Nothing could go wrong” I voiced my thoughts delightfully.
I jinxed it because a lot went wrong.
The organising team came fashionably late. Much later than most of the teams participating for the AFC – FAM Grassroot Football Day. Then they forced all players to change into their AFC jerseys which was handed out for free (one plus point) but this was an issue for the girls because the bloody toilet was on the opposite end from where we were and it had a long queue and they had just done that when I made them change into their Supergirls’ jersey just half hour ago. The look on their face said it all, when I broke the news about them needing to change again.
Later to my dismay, I find out they didn’t have a schedule for the girls. “What?! What you mean you don’t have it? This is a tournament”
It was already 10am and the girls still had not played their first match. Luckily the boys match had started so they girls kept themselves entertained by watching these matches and having their mini discussion about each player on the pitch.
Finally, after an hour and the fact many other team managers, were getting uneasy with the wait, the organisers moved the girls to a turf field with small goal post.
I know, I seriously jinxed it because the only plus point, the well-kept natural grass field, was only meant for under 12 boys. The girls were hoping to get to repeat their experience on real grass like at JSSL International Tournament.
“Nevermind girls, we play on” the coach said encouragingly.
There’s always a silver lining. Smaller field meant they won’t get tired fast and smaller goal post meant, they didn’t really need a keeper, so everyone played, full on.
Both the Supergirls team played well, winning all their matches and securing a spot in the semi-finals. Once again, the defense team was relentless at making sure the ball was always in their possession and striping away the opponent’s chances to score a goal.
All was well until the break to decide which teams made it to the Semis. We weren’t told how long we had to wait for the results which by the way was bloody long. We didn’t want to risk ruining our chances at the Semis, so we didn’t allow the girls to eat because from experience, we have learned, these girls tend to slack off and behave like a well fed python after a meal. They morph from a Speedy Gonzales to a tortoise. Crushing any slither of hope for victory.
Not satisfied, I stomped back to my husband. “Look at that team. They brought players from other team. And here’s another with a couple of “import” players. These coaches came with one aim, to win this tournament at any cause. At least we are placing our own players on the field. So why aren’t you getting all the seasoned players into one team and the new ones in another? This way we can be sure at least one team will make it the finals?”
“Just trust me” these three words was all he said and shut the door to my Grab Car.
“Was that your coach?” asked my Grab Car driver. Not in the mood for a chat, I simply lamented “yes” hoping that cue in my voice would stop him from further chat but today simply wasn’t my day.
“Sorry mam, that was my girlfriend calling, checking on me because today is only my sixth day as a Grab car driver and she has trust issues. She’s afraid of leng lui o (pretty girl oh) passengers.”
“Seriously?” I said laughing out loud. Thanks to him my mood changed and this infected my daughter and changed her sad pout into a smile because she was unhappy to leave her sisters and head over to her ballet class.
An hour in the comfortable and cool lounge at her ballet class made way for me to calm down. I even managed to sneak in a power nap and this helped clear my head. It made room for my sensible self to return and I recollected the reasons why my girls joined an all male dominated sport.
When I reunited with my husband and daughters over our overdue lunch at 3pm, and after gobbling up some fast food, he decides to tell me why he sent two teams instead of one strong team to play in the tournament.
“We decided to play balanced teams, mixing seniors and new players. This was done consciously to develop the newer players, that they learn from their senior players. Putting all our energy and efforts into the seniors alone will leave us only with one team. Supergirls is not about winning, it’s more than that. It’s about giving opportunity, even if it means, we might lose” he explained his earlier three words.
He shared with me pictures of what happened when I wasn’t there and from these pictures I can see, he made the right choice. These girls didn’t care they didn’t win the champion trophy. They were happy with their third and forth placing. My girls couldn’t stop talking about the fun they had playing against their own teammates for the 3rd spot.
“Can’t wait for our next tournament ma!” my daughter cheered gleefully
That’s what really matters. What say you?
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