Thursday, 25 April 2013

Make That Connection

In a quaint al fresco corner of Dempsey, the sun's golden rays casts a soft shadow on my pastel casual. Sipping on my sparkling and refreshing lemonade, I hear the distant clattering of voices, communications.

There were the dronal murmurs of the recent Boston Marathon bombing discussion, a colleague's birthday celebration and a new acquaintance chat between a lady and a gentleman. Wonder if new romantic sparks will fly? Love chemistry or not, everyone in the cafe was trying to make a connection with one another.

I've been very fortunate to meet many incredible people in my life. And, to have the opportunity to chat with them is an even more enriching experience than one can ask for. 

Richard Bok, former Head coach of Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC), now known as Warriors FC, has led SAFFC to winning the S. League title four times, from 2006 to 2009, as well as the Singapore Cup in 2007, 2008 and 2012, and was also the S. League's Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007 and 2009. He also lead the team to two Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup quarter finals in 2007 and 2008; and made history in 2009 by leading the team to the highest club competition in Asia, the AFC Champions League, where his team won a crucial match to finish 3rd in the group. 

Richard Bok, winning the Singapore Cup 2012, with his team

His journey in coaching can be likened to a soldier injured on a battlefield, but makes a heroic comeback for the army. Is this a fictional war story that we only find in a forgotten section of a bookshelf?

This is a life path of a local coach who pursued his dreams for the last 17 years--to train his professional footballers to become stronger, quicker and more creative with their passes and footwork, and to build team players that cohesively support one another and overcome challenges together. 

Coach Bok not only has a bird's eye view of the team, but also an eye for details. He goes beyond his job scope to answer his calling: new team recruitment, taking upon himself to understand all his team members to enhance his coaching on them. Individual players from different walks of life, some had it better, some tougher situations, but any dischord in their daily routines would affect their training preparation, competitive mindset and recuperation. Our bodies run on limited resources; we can potentially hope to achieve near Superman power, performance that surpass our expectations. However, we need enough physical and mental rest, to claim that athletic prowess. A bridge of connection, of trust and faith, has been painstakingly and successfully built overtime.

In the mini television series, Band of Brothers, which depicts the epic journey of a paratrooper unit from their training camp in Georgia to the D-Day triumph, war veteran, Richard Winters quoted a passage from a letter he received from Sergeant Mike Ranney, "I cherish the memories of a question my grandson asked me the other day when he said, 'Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?' Grandpa said 'No...but I served in a company of heroes.' " (reference from The band of brothers established a connection with one another through their difficult battles during World War II; coach Bok has, not only developed groups of team players, but made individual connections with, and amongst the teammates.

Zachary, a very young violin student has been making steady progress in his playing. Like anyone who is starting to learn a new skill, we make mistakes but continue to find alternative ways to do it better each time we try. His concentration has shown improvement, he thinks through what he is going to play and make good attempts to focus on areas that require more attention. Student showing an interest in the instrument is wonderful, making a connection with a student is definitely a plus--a happy and enriching lesson will go a long way for the child. Teach a life, for life.

Making a connection with young violinist, Zachary

A new live loop, "Tribute" played on my rig, with electric violin and vocals.

~ Teach a Life, for Life ~

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