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A New Game

My name is Ery. I am a 24 years and come from Purwakarta – a small city in West Java, Indonesia. I’m a little bit chubby and I’m crazy about sport. Lately, I’ve been crazy about footy. But before I get to that, here is a little bit about growing up playing sport in Indonesia and how I came to Aussie-land.

I was raised by loving and caring parents: my mum works in a government office dealing with electricity while my dad works in a textile factory. Both of them, however, are local volleyball athletes. They used to be pretty good in their prime, but now, they just play recreational competitions. Their love of volleyball turned me into being a sports fan. I’m into any kind of sport. Perhaps – too many.

I always enjoy watching sports since I was a young boy. I watched my dad play in tournaments and I’ve tried learning and doing many kind of sports, especially, team sports which involve physical contact. My journey in sports started not because I’m good at it or having any particular natural talent. On the contrary, it was caused by really bad experiences of being bullied by my classmates when I was in primary school during P.E. class. I was bullied because I was overweight. My weight has gone up and down over the years, but now, I’m in control of my weight. Sport, is one of the means of maintaining a good weight, and also feeling good about myself. But, when I was younger, I wasn’t so confident. Compared to my friends, I would get easily tired and couldn’t run fast.

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However, I was encouraged by my dad to do more sports. He told me to enjoy myself no matter what others say. I learned badminton to begin my journey. I did a simple practice with my dad every morning in the street using the used shuttlecock that my dad brought from the sport center a night before and old rackets that my dad had. Yes, we were so poor during that time but I am so happy because I could still spend my time training  with my dad.

The result of this training was not in form of any achievement that I got since I never join a competition or any serious tournament. Nonetheless, I believe the result is far greater than that. This training led me to be the same chubby guy but with different attitude. It made me being more confident and willing to try new things. I didn’t let anyone say I couldn’t do thing before I tried and proved it myself. This thing, I must say, had helped me becoming who I am now: someone who is outgoing, sociable, and curious.

My journey in trying various sports, then, was continued by the involvement of myself in volleyball club and basketball club during my high school years. I was the chairperson of school’s volleyball club, yet, I didn’t do well in basketball. I lead my school’s team in joining a local competition in town after several years of absence, yet, I didn’t win the competition. After that, I joined the school’s indoor soccer team which was going to play a local competition in the near time. I did that because I was persuaded by my mates in the class because they said I’d helped our class in winning an intra-school competition few months before. After some trainings and selection process, I was given the opportunity by the coach to be the main goalkeeper for my school’s team. Even so, just like the experience that I had before, I didn’t win my team a trophy and apparently that competition was the last sport competition that I joined on my high school years. Of course, it is nice to win, but training and playing games brings a lot of enjoyment.

While at university, I focused on my study and got involved in various students’ organization and voluntary activities. Over this time, I stopped doing sport and my weight increased to almost 100kg in April 2014. (After much hard work, I have since lost about 25kg.) Nevertheless, my interest in sports was still there. Even though I was not actively competing, I was the coordinating officer for batch 2010 of English education students of UPI in being the great champion of ESCW (English Students Competition Week, internal sports and arts competition among the students of English education department) in 2011 and 2013. In April 2015, I graduated from university and was offered the language assistant program in Australia. After having a selection of the candidates img-20161009-wa0006for the program, I was announced to pass and eligible to process my visa. In short, I officially began my journey in the Kangaroo-Land on February 2016 and was placed in Victoria region.

I spent my first two months in this country joining several communities. However, I mostly joined a non-sport-related-communities. The first communities that I joined was a cultural group, Bhinneka. I joined as a music player for this group. I played a percussion instrument, called Gendang, for some time. I was so happy joining the group but I felt something was missing yet I didn’t know what it was. Until one day, two of our members are wearing red-white-blue jumper to one of our dance practice session, which lead me to the question: “What kind of sports these people are joining in?”

This question led me to an interest in Australian Rules. I had only heard about it once before, back in Indonesia, but, now I had the opportunity to go to games and even play it. Unexpectedly, footy would shape my weekly schedule and become the sport I was most interested in. Learning to watch and play footy, it turns out, is a good away of getting to know people and to learn more about Melbourne.

Photos:

  1. Ery at the MCG
  2. Ery with Krakatoas team-mates
  3. Ery’s training costume


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