Class of 2016
For anyone who may or may not know me from these past three years, I am a big sports fan. One can perhaps describe my fashion style to generally include a piece of athletic team apparel, whether hats, t-shirts, jerseys, etc. What people may not know is that before law school, I had unfulfilled dreams of both being an athlete and being part of a team environment. But thanks to UCI Law, I was finally able to accomplish these dreams.
Until law school, the extent of my athletics experience consisted of a one-day tryout for the junior varsity baseball team in high school, despite no previous Little League or related experience. I lacked a position, wasn’t particularly fit, felt shy, and needless to say, was a part of the first round of cuts. Perhaps discouraged by this experience, I didn’t make any further attempts, even in college. But upon entering law school, I was motivated to take risks. While I knew that studying would be very time-intensive, I needed to have an outlet to relax me. My SBA mentor during my 1L year mentioned that he was part of the school’s intramural soccer team, Motion to Strike, and he invited and welcomed me to play and come to the first practice. I had a growing interest in soccer, even though I told him that the extent of my experience consisted of playing FIFA and playing literally one time in a field with my older cousins in Indonesia about a decade prior.
At the first practice, I showed up and was part of a large turnout of people. I was concerned about my abilities (or lack thereof), but I had a fun time joining in on workouts and practices. My worries quickly faded because of everyone’s friendliness and humility; even though I was likely the least skilled player out there, everyone was quick to encourage, compliment, and be self-deprecating about their own abilities.
As the fall season approached, the Motion to Strike team had to be divided into two because of the large number of players. As a result, FRCP 12(f), aka the 1L team, was born. One problem the team faced was that there was no obvious goalkeeper. Many people were willing to play it if necessary, but it was a secondary option. I ultimately volunteered myself, partly because I wanted to do whatever I could for the team and partly because I knew my skillset was not best suited for the open field. I was comfortable with sacrificing my body for the greater good of the team, though I admit I needed to learn the position on the fly.
As three years and six seasons of intramural indoor and outdoor soccer passed, I experienced the thrills of victory (including memorable games ending in penalty-kicks) and agonies of defeat (losing in the championship game a few times, as well as “bitter” defeats to the then-upper class Motion to Strike team). Perhaps the most memorable moment for me was in the Spring of 2L, when our FRCP 12(f) team advanced to the championship game at Crawford Field, the training and practice facility for UCI’s soccer programs. This was a big difference from the otherwise empty ARC fields, giving the game even more of a “big-game” feel. Though we never were a championship-winning team while I was at UCI Law, I ultimately won even greater victories. The camaraderie and bonding that I experienced as part of a MTS/FRCP team are memories that I will take beyond graduation day. For one hour per week during the Fall and Spring semesters during law school, I was an athlete and part of a team. To rise and fall in unity after victory or defeat was everything that my sports-loving personality ever wanted.
So while I may have been able to obtain an equally excellent education at another law school, it is only at UCI that I feel I could have obtained and achieved both my academic and athletic dreams. The camaraderie I sensed at MTS/FRCP is merely symbolic of the greater community environment among all my classmates, fellow law students, faculty, and administration.
TL;DR: Thanks UCI Law for allowing a future lawyer an opportunity to achieve his remote athletic ambitions before his academic career reached full time.