Why I Play: Ahmad Afiq, lacrosse

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Every year since 2010, Ahmad Afiq had been trawling the internet looking for a local Lacrosse team. After learning about the sport from an online friend, Ahmad was itching to try out the sport but there was nobody who played the sport in Singapore.

All that changed in 2012 when he stumbled across the Singapore Lacrosse Association (SLA). The 22-year-old promptly joined the association and has been playing with the SLA team over the years and even helped to organise the Singapore’s largest lacrosse tournament, Singapore Spectacular in 2014.

How did you get involved in this sport?

Through an online friend, she played for her high school and she introduced me to this game and she just sent me a few YouTube videos and I got really hooked. I went online to search for (Lacrosse) associations.

I actually was interested since 2010 but I didn’t get into contact with (Singapore Lacrosse Association) till about 2012 because at that point in time there wasn’t really an association... Finally one popped up in 2012.

I’ve been helping them on and off every now and then whenever I can since I am one of the few local guys that come by for practice. I love the sport so why not help out?

What kind of a workout do you get from playing this sport?

It’s intense cardio, really intense cardio, almost that of soccer but soccer is more on the legs but this one involves the hands as well and it gets really rough. Think of it as like rugby meets baseball and a bit of soccer.

Biggest misconceptions people have of this sport?

When people see my lacrosse stick, they think it’s a hockey stick with a fishing net. They think it’s not really a sport. They even think that it’s a ball cup. But with the exposure of certain shows like Teen Wolf, people get to know more about the sport.

In playing this sport, what’s been your most memorable experience?

There was this Singapore Spectacular in 2014, there were a few countries that came by and it was big and it was held at the padang and we had quite a bit of a turnout. There were people who came by, tourists who stuck around for day or two to actually watch even though their flight was leaving soon.

I helped with a bit of the promotion through social media here and there. There was an academy game as well on second day and I managed to participate in the matches myself.

Your most heartbreaking?

These players are expats so most of them don’t really stay for long, so the most heartbreaking is they come and go. I have seen many presidents from the start, there are about five guys that have gone already so they don’t stick around for long.

Once you build up a camaraderie with them and then suddenly they have to go for work or something. They are here only temporarily.

Share an inspiring story you have of a tournament or an experience with teammates that made you love this sport even more.

What’s inspiring is actually them turning up every weekend. It’s surprising how small the number is (within the community), but the turnup is almost at full strength and we have players from Japan come by to play with us.

They are in the men’s team so during tournament they participate even though they don’t really work in Singapore but they play for us. There are about two or three of them.

Was there a time you felt like walking away from the sport?

Definitely, sometimes you want to progress but you feel a bit tied down because for me, I have national service and I’m going to be schooling soon so I’m not sure if I could come by for practices every now and then.

But what my coaches has been telling me is to keep the passion still burning, just pick up a stick and wall ball. Wall ball is basically to just find a wall and shoot at it and just keep practicing your shooting even with your off hand. Eventually, you’ll just grow to love it.

What made you stay?

It’s an interesting sport and I like telling people about it.

Worst injury experienced?

Sometimes you get whacked on your wrists, your core and here and there. Even with padding it does hurt. But when you’re determined to win, you just don’t care about how you are feeling and just try to do your best.

What life lessons has this sport taught you?

Determination and to never give up. Like I said, at times I feel like quitting when it comes to practices, it’s on a Sunday morning when people choose to sleep in. But I try and pack my bag the night before and keep the regimen going, maybe every Wednesday I go for wall ball. That’s what I did before I enlisted. I’ll come by to my void deck and find a wall to hit on and this kept me going.

My sport is unique because it allows me to meet people, who are equally as passionate about the sport and they come from all walks of life and ages and because the following is still made up of expats, it allows me to meet people from different countries as well.

How can people get involved if they’re interested in this sport?

They can look up Singapore Lacrosse Association on Facebook or hit us a private message and come by for our practices. We practice almost every Sunday at Turf City behind The Grandstand at 9am.