'Wolverine' goalkeeper bounces back
Tanjong Katong's 'Wolverine' bounces back from injuries to lead his school's charge
His teammates call him the "Tanjong Katong's Wolverine" for his courage, but mostly because he gets injured just as fast as he can recover.
Marcus Tang, who plays as a goalkeeper for Tanjong Katong Secondary School, has suffered at least four injuries in the last 18 months.
The worst was a torn ankle ligament last November that took him more than two months to recover from.
Two months ago, he fractured his middle finger in a friendly match, and needed an operation to insert screws and hold the bones together.
Speaking to The New Paper, Marcus, 14, said: "I'm just really unlucky, but those injuries were like a big test to me.
"I felt really disheartened and, at one point, I really thought about giving up. But I kept thinking of how far I've come. My parents, friends and teachers really helped me through those tough times.
"When I was recovering, I went to the gym every day so I could build my strength and hope that being bigger would help me not get injured so easily.
"I came back from injury stronger physically and mentally."
Ironically, he never saw himself as a goalkeeper when he picked up football as a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) in Secondary 1. He first played as a striker. But his teacher-in-charge, Roy Soh, thought that Marcus would make a better goalkeeper.
Soh, 35, said: "When he was a striker, he really couldn't make it. He just couldn't deliver, but I saw that he really wanted to join the team.
"Instinctively, I saw that his build - long arms and legs - and thought he'd make a good goalkeeper.
"I had to convince him though, because he complained and didn't want to try. So I told him he either had to be a goalkeeper, or find another CCA."
Marcus also realises that as the last man, he will get his share of criticism.
"I've been blamed for conceding some goals before. But a lot of people don't understand that sometimes it's not your fault; they just like to point fingers," he lamented.
"But I learned to ignore that and do my best to learn from mistakes and improve."
Marcus has high hopes of his team's chances against St Patrick's Secondary School in next month's Schools' National B Division semi-finals.
He said: "I'm pretty confident that we can do well against St Patrick's and go to the final.
"Singapore Sports School were the defending champions but they've been knocked out already, so we have a good chance of winning our first football championship."
The other semi-final pits Hong Kah Secondary School against Marsiling Secondary School, with dates and venues for both matches to be confirmed.
Said Marcus: "I've had enough injuries to last me a few years.
"So I hope nothing happens to me between now and the final, because I'd really hate to miss that."
H-TWO-O HYDRATION TIPS BENEFITS OF HYDRATING BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER SPORTS
- Decreases body’s temperature and increases endurance level.
- Aids efficient carbohydrates absorption, especially in a hot and humid environment where sweat loss can be very high.
- Replenishes fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates to maintain performance sustenance.
- Aids muscle recovery.