Me, Myself and I:
In March 2005, my whole life changed. I was baptized in a church with my whole family coming to support me. From the moment the water brushed over my forehead, I knew I was safe under the protection of God. At the age of 4 until 10, I was at a Catholic local school in the capital city of Indonesia, where there was a lot of conversation about Catholicism and I also had attended a religious class. But, when I moved to an international school in 2014, surprisingly, I rarely heard or saw anyone talking about their faith to their friends. I also realized that the same was happening to me and my friends!
In December 2016, I picked up basketball as a hobby that changed my life after a year of living in the little red dot. Ever since then, I would constantly be at the hoop and shoot around for an hour with my siblings. The love for basketball has given me a chance to be closer to my siblings. I would swish and dribble around with them during weekends and holidays and b-ball would be our most current subject to talk about nowadays.
Me in 2015, playing my first season of basketball
“Faith. It’s all about believing, you don’t know how it will happen. But you know it will”
I feel that believing in God has shaped who I am as a person.
I always knew that God had plans for me, would guide me, would comfort me, would protect me, and always look after me, but there were certain things I didn’t know.
New learning was daunting to me when I decided to join a faith group called the ACATS (Already Confirmed and Teaching) at my church at Singapore to make more friends who believe in the same values. As I was walking into the first meeting, I was super nervous and jittery but also excited to be part of a group where everyone shares the same interests. As I entered the room, I was pleasantly shocked by the fact that most of the members were peers from my school.
The meeting of the group
As 5 months flew by, I was at ease with the group and was able to gain more friends.
We discussed the group’s goal which is guiding the 8th and 9th graders to be closer to God. We also had interactions with them by playing charades, bingo, etc. We also had an opening and closing prayer in each meeting, led by the student leader. During the 8th and 9th graders’ overnight retreat, they were guided by us through the team bondings, which helped them to gain self-confidence and be more social and most importantly, to have fun! Outside of church, we also had time to have parties at someone’s apartment.
My family and I
Shooting my Faith into Hoops:
Basketball and faith have tied together well for 5 years. It has put me at ease as I believe that my talent for basketball was a gift from Him. I know that He will protect me while playing on the court from injuries, and guide me through my progression of skills.
Moving to Singapore also has helped me gain a new passion as before, I always hated doing sports and PE. Now, contrastingly, I extremely enjoy playing basketball and PE class. PE used to be my least favorite class since I didn’t enjoy the idea of moving around but in an international school, I enjoy it more since the sports we play are more varied and I get to try different sports and find that basketball is my favorite.
Joining faith groups and basketball has helped me in many ways. For example, I gain more confidence in playing basketball and also when doing a live speech. I am also able to gain a lot more friends which is one of the reasons I joined both activities because for me, gaining friends is hard for me due to my shyness but doing these activities has definitely helped me. It was a great realization that some basketball stars considered their faith as their success.
Stephen Curry felt that faith is vital for him everywhere. From the 5th episode of his short documentary ‘Stephen vs The Game’, he said, “My faith is tested on the court as much as it is in life, but it’s the part that always keeps me focused on what I need to do when it comes to my family when it comes to my job when it comes to how I treat other people, my appreciation for life, and all the good things that happen and how to deal with the bad things that happen.”(Parke) I also feel my faith has helped me to treat others nicely, no matter how they treat me. In the bible, God treated everyone the same love no matter if the person treats Him poorly. His personality has inspired me to do the same. He also shares his early struggles in the league and how his faith helped him overcome injury and doubt on being in the NBA. This statement is relatable to me as I have countless doubts in life as a person and a player but God always manages to calm me down through prayers. Over time, I felt that I was becoming more comfortable with the group and also closer to some of the members, whom I met during lunch and was able to chat with. Joining the group was a choice that I never regretted as now, I have a group of friends who have the same perspectives as I and are open and comfortable in a multicultural society.
In his younger years, he and his family went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. In addition, his mom woke him and his siblings up early every morning to do devotions before school. By that, he said it wasn’t until eighth grade that the NBA star’s faith became real.
In one interview, Curry said that he “tries to take advantage of every opportunity he has to share his faith, but he wants his actions to speak for themselves.”(Parke) This would remind me to do the same.
Kevin Durant is another world-known basketball player who is known for his sharpshooting, defensive skills and being an amazing all-around player. When it comes to his faith, he is open to having this talk with anyone. He believes that “the Bible both pumps him up and balances him to play his best” as he “deflected praise and gave God all the glory.”(Lorriene) Durant and I are very similar in this statement in some ways as I get pumped up for a game when I do the sign of the cross a minute before the game. He said that he “got a long way to go to become closer to the Lord,”(Lorriene) as he only got baptized in 2013. Even though we are both the same in the way that we both have a long way to go to becoming closer with God, but I have gotten baptized since I was a few months old, while he got baptized 7 years ago. With God in him, he believes that when “people tell me he’s great, he reminds himself that he can always be better. Humility comes before honor,”(Lorriene) as he will always stay humble for trusting God in His plan. This is truly true for me as well as I feel that I can always do better and I am always trusting God in everything that is happening in my life. In the end, Kevin says that he is very thankful to the Lord for the gifts He has. So am I!
In addition, LeBron James gets emotional as he openly talks about it as he was raised as a Catholic and went to a Catholic school. From kindergarten until 4th grade, I also went to a Catholic school and also was raised as a Catholic. In a post-game interview, James responded with the name of Jesus as he said, “There’s only one guy ever in the world that everything will be all right when He comes back and that’s Jesus Christ.”(Ellis) With that, he also said that he is grateful for the gift of great talent and skills from God, thanking God for helping him turning him into the legendary player he is today (Nelson), and to conclude, LeBron wouldn’t take the credit for his talent of basketball. (R.M.)
In closing, I am very grateful to have a place where I can comfortably talk about faith with members my age and able to share my story with them. I also was able to talk about my interest in basketball with the members as I knew some from there. We were able to share how being Catholic has shaped each one of us as an individual and a basketball player. For that reason, I am very thankful for everything that is happening in my life.