As a child I hated all sports with a passion; competitive for no apparent reason, it induces physical fatigue and potential injuries. Soccer was especially popular among my schoolmates, but I didn’t like it as I wasn’t good at it. So I went through middle school without participating in sports, taking no interest in collaboration or leadership opportunities.
My friends started getting interested bodybuilding, and little by little I did too: by the start of high school I sailed on weekends and went to the gym available at school at least 3 times a week. This is when at a new school, I befriended this Australian-South African boy. He invited me to join a fitness session with his rugby team; I wasn’t so keen at first but through pressure from my mother and politeness I decided to attend.
Rugby ended up being a sport where friendships are formed. It is a sport that brings people together although they might not speak the same language, or know each other. Above all, the intensity and the adrenaline rush is what I liked the most. It was funny to see how much I changed since childhood.
In Japan, I joined another team and due to the effort I put in each training sessions, I became captain. I was really shocked as there were many other players more proficient in the sport. Turns out, being a leader isn’t about being good at what one does. It is about motivating others, being compassionate and helping others succeed. The effort I was putting in every session gave an example to the others. I was also encouraging others when they were complaining, rather than criticise them for say their lack of motivation. I have to say I didn’t do it consciously, at first.