I am a dire football fan of major European football clubs. I can't kick football. What a sham.

Taking up football at the age of 25 is tough. But of course is not as tough as taking up a law degree. I always say to prospective law students that I encounter from time to time: shear hard works and plenty of “passion in the game”.

I must start some where, some time.

So, one fine earlier afternoon I called up fellow counsel Zaidi, a renounced footballer and told him of my keen interest in the game.

Ha, it will get you dirty very where. Wet or dry, you know.”

Its fine with you and must be OK with me.”

We will see ....... And it will be good to get at you off the court. Know how to fix your boots?”

So we met at the open space somewhere at Simpang Tiga where one always spot young men or students playing the game. Zaidi was in fully gear and I was only with the pants, nameless T shirt and heavy boots with long smelly socks. When I reached the pitch, half running from the parking lot and half panting, I saw a group of professionals already assembled.

Hei, who is here?” A fellow senior called.

Well, it's good to breath some fresh air.” I smiled.

So for the next 60 minutes or so, I joined the rest for the gruelling exercises and stretchings. Never have I felt so much pains in the muscles. But I endured without complaint and ended up the last to leave, toiling the very tired limbs and buttocks home. I now knew it's quite an exhilirating just being toned and vamped.

And so the practices go on from the warming ups, the basics to the running, jumping and kicking continued for many early evenings or late afternoons with tired limbs, sweaty butt but definitely happy mind and mood.

What did it? The exercise. I felt the change of body fluid lightened; the senses are clear and unperturbed; the mind movement sharpened and strong and the whole self very much enlightened in almost every aspect of life.

You name. it. I enjoy every sip of coffee in the morning, the shower even though the hot water comes on and off, the cry of babies, the drag of forced upon you cigarette smell as you enter public places, the sound and noises of everybody surrounding me during the day even occasional do-nothing-but-watch television till late nights...

The push ups, hard push and pull of T shirts, the hearty laughs and occasional bloody tackles at the pitch did it. So football is my cup of tea.

I was very more alert but calm. The Association named me the honourable assistant captain of the Football Team informally of course. Coming to the office to work is just an extension of joy. Gradually and naturally I learned more about the art, the science and even the politics of football from books, magazines, newspaper cuttings and the most exciting and sensational part come from such likes ASTRO Supersport, ESPN channels.

I never knew football game on TV can be so graceful and beautify and at times, brutal until now. Just look at the 2006 season when Liverpool took on Manchester United: the fans chanted non stop the moment the whistle blew at 00 hours. The two teams are like clash of the titans. One virtually does not sit and watch but flies and flows with the directions of the ball.

Again I stood to watch at mid night or just-can't-remember-when-but-must-be- early-morning recently on Milan verses Barcelona. Milan is a famous Italian Club and Barcelona (pronounced BA CI LO NA) is the undoubted World number 1 Club. I witnessed for the first time even “uncle” Albertini , Stoichkof Rydkad, can kick so well. They are called legends. Modern icons like Ronaldino, Inzahgi, Deco look so junior. Even the referee looked like the great Italian footballer Alexander Del Pero!

Watching football playing is feast.

Playing football is beyond.

Watching LA Laws or TV legal operas is mind bogging even though we lawyers know more legal issues, proceedings and art of cross-examination and are much better in court than those good-looking-but-no-brain-for-lawyers actors actresses.

Law practice has thus become my career and football is a game that compliment every part of my life.

See football in everything?


Liew Shau Jin (ABS)