And then there was this school's rugby team. Besides the coach, I was basically the team's protector, supporter or to most players, even an adopted father or an uncle.
It was SMK Gunung Rapat's under-15 rugby team I am talking about. It was the school's greatest rugby achievement - Perak's 2005 champions. They comfortably beat STAR and KE on their way to the championship.
My son, Syazwan aka Besor to his team mates, was one of the players. He surprised the team, including the coaches and made us all proud by making the winning try against the mighty STAR in Kinta district finals.
Sorry to say this, meaning no disrespect to SMKGR, the school's reception towards the players was far from expectation.
They were not only unappreciated, unsupported in many ways, but worst of all often labelled as troublemakers, hooligans, crooks and all other negative things.
I knew that some of them were a bit boisterous, but they were boys, boys would always be boys. Coming from the 'last class' they were almost left out by most teachers. It only took my letter to the editor of NST to make teachers realized that they too needed attention and care! (they were hunting for the writer of that letter - the players and many students knew that it was me who wrote that letter).
Little that they knew the boys gave their best to make the school great in rugby. They day in and day out sweated it out in the field, came rain or shine, in practices and in tough matches, breaking bones and dislocating shoulders along the way.
But what they got for their perseverence and hard work? Almost nothing! Not even a word of praise or a proper transport to the games.
I remember in SDAR, rugby players, or any sportsmen for that matter, they were treated like kings, received the best food in the school's dining hall.
Only Cikgu Faizi's understanding, encouraging words, besides his gruelling workouts of course, moved them forwards.
I helped them by offering them lift in my Unser, once in a while bringing them cookies my wife, also a great fan of the team, prepared.
Things got worse when Faizi left. Cikgu Mazlan took over as the coach. He too was a great help to the team. Sadly he passed away so suddenly. I remember seeing so many students giving him the last respect at the hospital. Many of them cried and said that they regretted for not being able to be with him during his last moments.
Now three years have passed that joyful moments. My son is now doing his Dip. QS in UITM Perak and if not for his injured ankle suffered during a futsal match would have played rugby for his IPTS, Acap doing his Dip. Sports Science in UITM Sarawak...
All I hope that all of them will be successful in life in their own way and the sweet moments of winning will always be in the nook of their memories and may the school remember them for what they have done to bring their school's name as one of the great rugby school.