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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Band of Brothers

Fathers born in Singapore in the early 80s like me would likely have grown up through the football-mad years of our young nation, thanks to the Malaysia Cup fervour and the broadcast of matches from the then-newly formed Premier League.

Any free time that us guys had (which was plenty before tuition centres took over the running of the Ministry of Education), was split between playing football with our mates in the void deck/field/open space and playing the football simulator computer game Championship Manager.  Girls (and mothers) never understood why it was so exciting to be staring at lines of flashing text on our computer screens.

With the amount of time that guys were spending on football (and before the advent of time-sapping inventions like the EDMW), it was common and easy to forge friendships over the beautiful game.  It was no different for me.

I don't remember much of studying during my two years at Temasek Junior College but I remember spending a lot of time with this group of fun loving friends. While we were mostly sportsmen from various disciplines (e.g. badminton, athletics, basketball, table-tennis, tennis), football was the glue that bonded us together.  It would be appropriate to call us, The Band of Brothers.

Actually we look so skinny back then it was more like 雾锁南洋.
We tried to stay true to our sporting roots and called ourselves the Teenage Cyclists, or TC.  It was actually a thinly veiled front for what we actually are, which is the Tiko Club.  I shall not say too much about our club activities (such girl watching and giving ratings on them that are more reliable than S&P or Moody's) because I am digressing.


With our intial group being rather large, some of us drifted apart after we left junior college, leaving a smaller but close group of less than 15 of us.  However, with us having careers that are as diverse as our sporting talents, even this smaller group started to see less and less of each other.  Football became the main opportunity for us to get together in numbers, reminisce about the good old days and update each other on our lives.  Over time, the attendance for Sunday soccer dwindled as many of us found it hard to commit Sunday mornings on a regular basis.  And it's understandable, as there are many things that would seem more important than a weekly kickabout - spouse, girlfriend, children, religion, work, much needed sleep.  For quite some time now, we have stopped having Sunday soccer sessions altogether, due to the lack of numbers to play even a game of 5-a-side.  I guess regrettably now, we're more like, The Banned Brothers.

Thinking back, I'm glad that Mummy Cher never stopped me from meeting the guys for Sunday soccer, even when I'm not in good shape to play (after watching live soccer till the wee hours), or when I have not spent enough time with her.  She even encourages me on many occasions to organise gatherings when I lament how long it has been since the boys met up for anything.

The amazing and wonderful thing is, when we do eventually meet up on some special occasions like weddings, baby showers or the rare soccer session, it feels just like the old times.  We feel totally at ease and can be truly ourselves. We can almost hear Sammi Cheng singing 值得 in the background.

While it's not the most ideal situation at the moment, I'm glad that, after stripping away the soccer kickabouts, the talking cock before/during/after the kickabouts, the festive gatherings, the 'milestone' gatherings, what's left is the essence of our group - The Bond of Brothers.

Our wedding in 2009.
Xmas 2012 gathering at our place.
I hope we will keep this bond strong and everlasting. And I look forward to the day Aiden finds his own Band of Brothers. :))


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