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25 February 2009

For the love of the game


By Safina

Other than teaching in the AirAsia Academy and dive with the turtles during my ‘free time’, I am also a part time basketball coach for a secondary school girls’ team on the weekends. I love playing basketball. But since I don’t play that much nowadays (well, my shoulder is already giving me some problems) I get involved with coaching.

Why am I involved with it? Don’t I need to rest on the weekends? Isn’t it tiring? Well, it gives me a different feeling altogether (it gives me an extra energy boost to start work on the next Monday) , a different perspective of getting involve with the teenagers and also a chance to let my hair down – releasing a different side of me. And not forgetting it makes me feel young :-) (with the cheering and jumping once a basket is shot). Oh…and I get to go to places everywhere in Malaysia too- places that I don’t usually plan for a special holiday such as Mersing, Kota Tinggi (Desaru), Kuantan, Jitra etc… It is also part of giving back to the society.

If diving makes me stop talking for a while, at the basketball court, I get to scream and shout and the adrenalin rush is just ……….unexplainable! This is only getting involved in a secondary school basketball tournament. I can’t imagine if I were to get a chance to watch NBA live! It is totally different from watching on your TV screen definitely.

So, what is important in playing basketball?

1) Fundamentals – it is important for a player to know how to hold the ball, how to dribble, how to shoot, pivoting etc.
2) Footwork and fitness– a player must be fit in order to perform well during a game
3) Great defense is crucial for every team
4) Different offense strategies

This year, is the 3rd year in a row we are going to retain our title as the Champion. Lead by my Head Coach and a panel of coaches, and with the tough physical and mental training that the girls are going through right now (let’s just say that I am totally opposite when I train the Flight Attendants compare to when I coach the players at the court) , we should be able to retain the title. However, the ball is still round. Any team which trains hard will be able to win. And the special thing about this yearly tournament is, it produces non-Chinese basketball players in Malaysia.

Oh ..and one more thing. Forget about using Fair & Lovely, or any whitening product, the tournament is in March and May every year and the girls train in the hot sun all year round from 3pm till 6pm daily! And as a coach, I definitely can’t run away from my responsibilities! Saturdays and Sundays are enough to ‘burn’ my skin. And I get comments from my colleagues everytime I return to work.