It is the Polytechnic-Institute of Technical Education (POL-ITE) Games season in October and early November. Scores of sportsmen and women slug it out for bragging rights in their respective sports. The Republican Post speaks to Touch Rugby player Tessa Amanda Sa’at to share her thoughts about lessons she has learnt in competitive sports.
Q: How did you pick up Touch Rugby?
Tessa: I first picked it up leisurely in late-primary school, where the older youth in my church would go out to play almost every Sunday. When I came to RP, I joined them since they didn’t have rock-climbing as an IG. Since I joined, I have played in tournaments, handled the logistics and even written articles about Touch.
Q: During competition (such as during POLITE season), what is your schedule like?
Tessa: I would describe it as a living hell! Okay, in all seriousness, this is a crazy schedule. I have to see my mates six times a week – days 1, 3 and 5 for games, and days 2, 4, and 6 for training – which is intense. I have almost no time for myself because we are in school for a huge bulk of the day and a few hours later we are on the field playing our match and it can be quite tiring. This is why discipline is so important. But I have to say my lecturers have been very understanding throughout this period and they have graciously given me extensions for the submission of my RJ. The key to having enough rest is sleeping as early as possible and taking naps whenever you can… but not during lesson time of course.
Q: What three qualities must a person have to be a top sportsman?
Tessa: Humility, I believe, is the most important quality that one should have to excel in sports, doesn’t matter whether it’s a solo sport or a team sport – a sportsman has to be able to take criticism and be open to hearing about their mistakes or possible areas of improvement. Passion is another. If you love something you naturally want to work hard and you won’t give it up so easily.
Lastly, determination. With sport, there are always obstacles. It is very important to know how to get back up after you have fallen down. For instance, I had multiple fractures in my finger earlier this year because of Touch, and I had almost 4 months of MC. I was very discouraged because I had to go through surgery and countless therapy sessions. I was out on internship and missed training. But I didn’t give up. Back in school, I made up for lost time. And I feel I am a better player for it.
Q: What has sports taught you that lessons in class don’t?
Tessa: Sports has taught me that the process means more than the product. In Singapore, people celebrate victories, medals and straight ‘A’s. But for me, that’s just a bonus. In the process of competition, training and juggling so many things, I have learnt to be humble, accept defeat, not give up, be respectful to my team mates. These are things that mean more to me than gold medals.