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Our Sporting Hero My Neighbour Fariza Begum

“I’d want to be Captain America. He feels more real than other superheroes because he is human and he relies on his own strength instead of superpowers.” – and that’s how we feel about Fariza Begum, who juggles between being a teacher, and representing our nation at floorball. She’s one who relies on herself to achieve her dreams.

No task can ever defeat Captain Fariza because she draws great strength from her family and students. When times get tough, she reminds us to ‘hit restart’ and focus on the goal. An introvert at heart, but also a great source of energy and cheer to her friends, we speak to Fariza as she recalls her playful childhood memories in Serangoon, from dislocating her shoulder to watching spiders fight.

Getting to know Fariza

Q: Where do you live?

A: Serangoon Avenue 3, I’ve lived here all my life and even though I’ve moved before, it has always been within Serangoon. I went to school in Serangoon, and hung out with my friends after school in the neighborhood. We have everything here, amenities, shopping malls like NEX and fitness corners.

Q: Did you have a favourite hangout when you were younger?

A: I loved playing at ‘old school’ playgrounds. They had sandpits and it was always a lot of fun to play with the sand and on the swings. The playground I used to play at is not there anymore; they replaced it with a new one and it doesn’t look as fun anymore.

Q: Apart from playing at your favourite playground, what else did you do as a child?

A: I think I was kind of a boyish child, I liked playing soccer, and catching spiders and watching them fight. I also liked other boyish toys like marbles; perhaps the only girly thing I played with as a child would be ‘masak-masak’.

Q: Did your parents know about all this spider catching and soccer?

A: Being the youngest of four children I think my parents were more relaxed when I was growing up. . Once, I was playing on my bicycle in a multi-storey carpark and I dislocated my right arm. My right arm could make a full 360 degree turn! I didn’t even see a doctor when that happened, I just went to the masseuse and had my arm rubbed. When my mother found out, I almost got slapped. But of course she didn’t, anyway my arm has been fine till now; maybe I can try turning it 360 degrees again and see if it still works!

Q: You seem like quite the daredevil when you were a child. If there is one superhero that you could be, who would it be?

A: If you asked me when I was younger, I think it would be Captain Planet. It was such a popular superhero when we were younger and everyone knew Captain Planet. But now if you ask me, I’d want to be Captain America. He feels more real than other superheroes because he is human and he relies on his own strength instead of superpowers.

Q: With that said, if you could have a superpower, what would it be?

A: I would want to be able to teleport! Like Doraemon’s teleporting door, I just need to open the door, walk through it and I can get to where I want. It saves a lot of time!

Q: You must have been through difficult trainings and tiring days. When times get tough, what motivates you?

A: I always tell myself to take a step back and ask myself again what my goals are. I tell myself to hit the reset button; to put aside all that is making me tired and persevere. And it is always about prioritizing and give and take. My family is where I draw my strength from. They are very encouraging and in many ways my moral compass. They tell me when to focus on work, when to focus on floorball. They tell me when I am pushing myself too hard and remind me to take breaks, but they also remind me to push myself in floorball.

Q: Is there a piece of advice that you will always remember?

A: I remember one of my seniors reminding me about how important the role of the goalkeeper is. She told me that we are the pillar of the team, because we are the last person that can change the outcome of the game before the ball goes through the goal. She told me that that’s when the entire team may be feeling down and that is when I cannot let the team down. That has pushed me and gave me strength to push on for the rest of the team.

Q: Do your students inspire you?

A: My students reenergize me. When I look at students from sports CCAs, I realise they are in some ways going through the same situation as I am. I see them juggling their school work and their sport; they are relentless in their trainings and they push themselves to excel. They too, get tired by their school work and their trainings. So I remind myself on difficult days that if I am feeling tired, these students who are pushing themselves are tired too. Knowing that they are trying alongside me keeps me going.

Q: What advice do you give them when you see that they could be going through a tough time?

A: I remind them that what they are going through is not easy, but also that if there is a will there is a way. You can gain many things from sports, friendships, life lessons and it is also a great form of relaxation. It is definitely worth the fight if you love it. You may not be able to achieve all that you want all the time, but if you try hard enough you can definitely achieve most of it.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals?

A: As much as I can I wear my lucky suit and the night before a game I watch a game online so I can visualize what it will be like on court the next day. I also listen to music before going on court too.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?

A: All kinds! There was once, our team went to Australia to compete and I got the whole team hooked onto Marry You by Bruno Mars because I kept playing the song and singing along to it. I feel that music lights up the mood and it cheers up the atmosphere.

Q: What is one embarrassing thing that has happened to you on court?

A: I don’t think I am the only one who has went through this; during one of the throw outs, instead of throwing the ball forward for an attack, I threw it backwards, into my own goal.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: I love spending time with my nephews and my family. I also meet up with friends to watch movies or go cycling. I do things I don’t usually get to do when I have training.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?

A: FRENCH FRIES! All kinds of fries, truffle fries, cheese fries and potato wedges. But recently our coaches have been starting to remind us to watch our diets, sometimes at trainings we have to go on the scale to measure our fat intake. Now I feel guilty because I am increasingly seeing the importance of diet and fitness matters.

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