I’ve always heard the term “bittersweet moment” bandied about but it wasn’t until this weekend that I’d experienced it as a reality. As the AKU team and I were preparing to watch the first round of the Futsal Thai League, news spread on social media that Melbourne was due to go through extreme Stage 4 lockdowns involving curfews, businesses shut down amongst other things. What followed was the final straw for most sporting bodies, with many 2020 sports seasons previously hanging on by a thread, being ultimately cancelled and thousands of AKU shirts to not appear in competition for the year.
Nevertheless, this was soon an afterthought as the Futsal Thai League stream flashed across our screens. This moment was over a year in the making. At AKU, we love to say yes to the deals we shouldn’t, and worry about the ensuing mess later. With bold naivety and brashful cockiness, we spent a year finalising a full teamwear suite for Phetchaburi Futsal Club and its supporter groups in the 2020 Futsal Thai League, the biggest futsal league in Asia, featuring some of the best players in the world broadcast to National Thai TV. It wasn’t without it’s challenges and I won’t go into too much detail of the story of the club’s “feng shui master” saying blue was an ominous colour and shouldn’t be worn AFTER we produced the VERY BLUE away kits but needless to say, we bloody got there in the end.
The game started as I stared at my screen in disbelief. If I was capable of crying, I dare say I probably would have. Our Phetchaburi kits on screen, live on national Thai TV and online on the same court as Chonburi Futsal Club, featuring a host of Thai Internationals and Asian Cup winners. The team eventually lost 5-0 (it was a whitewash) and they weren’t the best team on the day but biasedly I felt that at least they looked the sexiest. I spent the remainder of the weekend watching our other AKU signed Athletes in the league competing for their clubs and representing the brand off the court proudly and felt better that the lockdown coincided with the seasons start. Our game was viewed by over 250,000 people and counting so you can kind of say it was a pretty big deal.
I could end this blog in a cliché, about believing in your dreams and your goals will come, or maybe even the fact that maintaining and persisting through challenges remembering the bigger goal and all that. But my reflection and message is really simple. It's about how something as simple sport and the instantaneous moment the whistle is blown, can take away all of the pressures and stresses in life, albeit for the shortest of moments. Take care everyone and for the life of me, please stop arguing with each other on social media.
...Ruz (IG: @ruzroslan)