In this series, we spotlight some of Shanghai's most aspiring athletes and ask them why playing sports is so important to them.
What sports do you play?
I play a lot of sports, including basketball, volleyball, soccer and badminton, but the sport I enjoy most is soccer. At the age of 7, I picked up my first soccer ball and the rest came with ease.
How did you start getting involved?
I started playing organized sports when I was 8. My passion for sports has grown over time. The reason I chose to play sports was to help me make new friends and overcome my shy personality. As I became the captain of my school’s Boys Varsity Soccer team, I began to lean toward soccer as my main competitive sport.
What do you love most about playing sports?
What I love most about any sport, and not just soccer, is its ability to serve as a form of entertainment, exercise, and a hobby. Playing sports helps me meet new friends from different countries, language barriers are eliminated and everyone treats each other as part of one unit. My passion toward sports has never been discouraged by failure; instead, setbacks now only make me stronger. The soccer field is my temple where I can find peace.
What is your most memorable moment?
When our Boys SISAC Varsity Soccer team won our first ever ACAMIS (Association of China and Mongolia International Schools) tournament hosted in Shanghai. I remember how our team was down 1-0 in the finals with five minutes left. Our opponent believed they had the game in their hands, however our team played spectacularly and showed excellent team spirit, eventually winning the game 2-1 in extra time. We fought hard and showed determination.
What do you find most challenging about sports?
The ability to motivate and inspire my teammates if the team is down. As Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not about how hard you fall, but whether or not you get back up.” The linguistic and leadership skills that I have developed over the years at YCIS help me support and encourage others.
What are the most important qualities of a good athlete?
Sportsmanship is by far the most important quality that a good athlete must possess. Learning to respect your opponent, teammates and coaches is what every athlete must do to perform at a high level and earn recognition from others.
Do you want to pursue sports as a career in the future?
I do because it is what I’m truly passionate about. Playing sports on a competitive level can pave the way for me to join professional teams in the future. There will also be plenty of other opportunities such as sports journalism, coaching and teaching.
What is your favorite professional sports team?
Manchester United. They are the underdog of the top four teams in England, but that’s what makes their victories against top teams even sweeter.
Ian is in grade 12 at YCIS Shanghai’s Century Park Campus.