For each student athlete participating in the National School Games, there exist cohorts of enthusiastic parents who offer their unwavering support. The parents take great pride in their children's achievements and also contribute to the games' fervour in their unique way.

Let’s hear from Mr Derrick Lui regarding his sporting journey with his son, Leighton.

In the vibrant realm where dreams are woven with determination and sweat, Derrick Lui and his son Leighton orchestrate a tale of athletic aspirations in the heart of the National School Games. Their journey is a harmonious blend of paternal support and the youthful crescendo of passion.

Their journey commenced in 2018 when Leighton, a mere five-year-old, stepped onto the canvas of the ActiveSG Football Academy, led by the maestro of soccer, Steven Tan. Before this, the duo's home echoed with the rhythm of kicks as father and son indulged in impromptu matches, laying the foundation for a shared symphony.


Watching his son flourish on the pitch kindles an effervescent emotion within Derrick. "I'm his number one fan," he grins. The resonance of pride and exhilaration harmonizes when Leighton dances to the notes of his father's advice, a melody woven in cheers and shared dreams.


Through the years, their journey has been punctuated by crescendos of triumph and pauses for introspection. "Wins bring joy, but in losses, we always question why," Derrick reveals. From these reflections, Leighton forged a tapestry of determination, honor, and teamwork, each thread contributing to the masterpiece of his character.

The latest movement in their symphony unfolded at this year's National School Games, where Leighton's performance was a sonnet of skill and perseverance. "He did well; his school, Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), also clinched the top place in their tier last year," Derrick proudly proclaims, his voice a triumphant crescendo. 


The National School Games Football Junior Division Boys Competition 2023 was a game-changer, utilizing the tiered-competition format that had been introduced since 2019. A new era of football battles unfolded in the form of the tiered format. The action on the field was nothing short of epic, with each team engaging in a minimum of six to 10 matches – nearly doubling the number of games played in the past. 

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Derrick's role as a catalyst in Leighton's athletic passion unveils a delicate dance of nurturing. From playful home kickabouts to structured academies, Leighton's crescendo from casual curiosity to ardent dedication resonates. "He's grown to love the game," Derrick adds, the note of pride underscoring their joint efforts.

Amid this symphony of sports, Derrick harmonizes support with the melody of life's other facets. "Balance is key," he underscores. In addition to studies, Leighton has embraced a kaleidoscope of activities, from badminton to Aikido, even the thrill of Go Kart racing. They embark on annual expeditions to snow-covered landscapes, a stanza in the composition of a well-rounded life.

Yet, challenges, like unexpected rain during an outdoor performance, compose a dissonant note. "Weather disrupts training, and we're both disheartened," Derrick reveals, revealing the vulnerability beneath their determined façade.

Parental involvement, Derrick contends, is the sonnet's underlying rhythm. "Support ignites motivation," he declares. From training sessions to raucous matches, Derrick's presence punctuates Leighton's journey like a recurring chorus, an affirmation of unwavering solidarity.

In guiding future parents on this lyrical journey, Derrick offers sage advice, "Discover their passion and stand as their pillar." This sonnet to support nurtures both autonomy and camaraderie, a tender duet of growth.


Balancing the staccato of work and the lullaby of attendance at games is an intricate choreography. "I work tirelessly to stand by him," Derrick confides, the commitment a poignant verse in the melody of their connection.

Through this intricate rhythm of sports, Leighton's spirit has grown robust. "Resilience and the grace to accept critique," Derrick muses, are melodies that Leighton has learned to carry in his heart.

As the final notes of their athletic symphony play, Derrick hopes that Leighton carries with him the cadence of teamwork into the grand composition of adulthood. Their journey, a melodious sonnet of familial support, perseverance, and harmonious growth, continues to resound, a testament to the power of a father's touch.


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(Photo credits: Derrick Lui)