I was enjoying satay at Satay Malaysia Restaurant near Jln Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bharu when Megat put up the idea to play rugby during the next year Malay College Old Boy’s weekend against the present boys. At first I thought it was a joke considering that I am now 50 kg heavier with a 47 inch waistline. I said to him “Bro, you have to give me time to prepare!” thinking the answer would make him drop the idea. “Well, you have 1 year” he said. “Are you man enough?” he provoked further. After a short pause I said “It’s ON Bro!
Sometimes we say things without thinking and due to ego we tend to utter senseless words. How would it be possible for me to recondition my “much pampered body” to how I was 25 years ago? At the present state and with the level of stamina that I am having now, I am pretty sure that I could last only 5 minutes on the field.
Rugby has always been my passion since it was introduced to me when I was 13. Playing rugby brought me to places and chances to meet people. I had played rugby in Thailand and also experienced playing it in Singapore. I have had experiences playing against “Mat Saleh” and “Fijians”. I have met people with colorful characters by playing this game.
Representing Perak in MSSM Rugby competition in Johor Bharu
After the game with Rajdamree Military School Thailand in 1986
I still remember how my friends and I pioneered the International Islamic University rugby team. In fact, I captained the team for several years. I still remembered how the University Authority refused the idea of having a rugby team at first but due to our persistent, the Authority finally gave in.
Leading an International Islamic University’s rugby team was somehow sentimental to me. The University Authority gave their consent with a condition. All players must cover their “aurah” whenever the players train or play. I think that was the first time the rugby community saw players wearing track bottoms playing rugby. I just could not imagine how heavy our track bottoms were when we played in the rain, not to mention the way we dressed became a laughing stock by the spectators. Eventually we got creative. We cut our track bottoms just below the knee so as to cover our mandatory aurah” and that had lightened up our” burden”. Finally we unanimously resolved to wear shorts with tights enough to cover our knee. Though some of us looked sexy, the important thing was we did comply with the condition set by the University. To our surprise, after several games and outings we noticed players from other teams followed the way we dressed. I honestly would not want to claim credits but I verily believed we started the trend.
I also remembered a Ceylonese student named Sadiq. He was so excited when I accepted him to the team. In fact he was the only foreign student that joined the team. During a friendly match against University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), I ordered him to play though he said he was not well. If I am not mistaken, Dato’ Razali, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports was playing on UKM side in that game. After a collapsed scrum I noticed Sadiq was lying face down on the field. I shouted “ Sadiq, get up!” He answered “I can’t feel my @#$$^% hands and legs!” Later I found out he suffered a back spine injury and that had paralyzed him. He was hospitalized and later was flown back to Ceylon for further medical treatment. That was the last time I heard of him. Until today I regretted the decision of fielding him. Should I have listened to him, the mishap would not have happened. He would have continued his studies and graduated like we all were.
Reverting to the main question, can I do it? Can I still play like before? Well I have a year to get ready. Would that be an ample time for me? Sometimes when we love the game so much we tend to do stupid things......................... just because of the love for the game.
So Bro….It’s ON!