The first time I saw Chris Greatwich play was on Star Sports in December 2010. My family and I were attentively watching the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup … and patiently wishing for someone to score a goal. I told them to watch out for Chris Greatwich. I still don’t know why I said that. Was he noticeably motivated to make the best of himself, the opportunity, and his talent? I think all of them were! While my sister was busy figuring out whether Chris’s front teeth reminded her of Anna Paquin’s or Ronaldo’s, Chris managed to score an injury-time equalizer. Obviously, the rest, as they say, is forgotten history—which I’ve retold from Chris’s perspective, by the way.
Looking back, I still can’t believe I’m now working closely with Chris, the guy we were watching on TV four years ago. It’s amazing how one thing leads to another. I know I’ve been blogging about Chris since 2011, but I hope people will know more about him through my two-part feature. It’s the lengthiest feature I’ve ever done, but definitely worth reading and sharing. His story unfolded like a dream. While taking a stroll down memory lane, Chris walked me through his life. Of course, the banter was inevitable, but from his narration, I gained a renewed appreciation for Chris and his achievements. A newfound respect for the midfielder and coach. If I were a kid, I probably want to grow up to be just like him (and Rob Gier).
I’ve written a bonus feature on Chris (Q&A type) and it’s now on my blog (see below). This will also be included in “As Told by Chris Greatwich, Part 2,” which will be out this month at http://www.kayafc.com. Please check it out!
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A FOOTBALL PLAYER?
Advantages: You get to do something that most people love for a living. Not many people get to do that, and not many people get to do something that they enjoy doing for a living and get paid for it.
Disadvantages: The amount of time consumed by traveling, especially with the national team. You have to spend so much time traveling, waiting at the airport, and staying in hotels. A lot of people think it’s glamorous. It’s not. It’s very difficult to manage your time.
SOME YOUNG PLAYERS FEEL LIKE THEY’VE ALREADY MADE IT ONCE THEY PLAY ON THE FIRST TEAM. AT WHAT MOMENT DID YOU THINK YOU’D MADE IT AS A FOOTBALLER?
I think the moment you think you’ve made it as a footballer is the moment you should give up. Winning one cap is great, but it’s better to win ten caps, twenty caps, fifty caps, and a hundred caps. It’s easier to forget the struggles that everyone went through. There is no defining moment in my career because there’s always another challenge.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU BOUGHT WITH YOUR SALARY AS A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER?
When I was sixteen, two of my teammates and I went up to London, and we blew it all there—shopping spree!
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE RULE IN FOOTBALL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would implement a challenge system like what they have in tennis, where a coach gets to challenge the decisions that referees make, and a video analysis will determine whether or not the right call was made
BEST MATES IN FOOTBALL?
Everyone at Kaya. Within the national team, most of us get along pretty well. There’s a running joke that the Brits all stick together. Rob, Neil, Phil, James, my brother—we’re all quite close. I think that’s because we all share the same humor. Ray is quite close with us also. We’re not exclusive to only the British guys. I guess I just like hanging out with people who are fun and want to have a good time. It just happens to be the British guys.
DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL ROUTINE OR SUPERSTITION BEFORE YOU PLAY A BIG GAME?
IF YOU WERE GIVEN THE CHANCE TO LIVE THE LIFE OF A FOOTBALL STAR FOR A DAY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Paul Scholes. He doesn’t get caught up in all the bull——. He played football for a great club, had a great career, made his money, and goes home and spends it with his family. Perfect.
WHO IS THE BEST MIDFIELDER YOU’VE SEEN PLAY THE GAME?
Zidane is good. I like him. Well-balanced player. I used to like strikers growing up, so Gary Lineker was my first real idol. He used to play for England. And Paul Gascoigne. Then I used to like Michael Owen a lot. As I got older, I started to appreciate certain players like Zidane and Paul Scholes, one of my favorite midfield players. Xavi, probably.
WHO IS OWEN GILL? WHY DOES OWEN HAVE A SPECIAL MENTION ON YOUR WIKIPEDIA PROFILE?
My former manager, and he just wrote that. He was joking around. He definitely wasn’t my mentor.
IF YOU WERE TO CHANGE ONE THING IN YOUR ENTIRE CAREER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would have played in the final (2014 AFC Challenge Cup), and I would have scored an overhead kick winner at the Challenge Cup. Change that—I would score the equalizer, and at extra time, I would have scored the winner.
HOW HAS BEING A FATHER CHANGED YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS A PLAYER?
I haven’t really changed as a player. In terms of as a person, I have started thinking of the future now. You can’t just be thinking about things on a day-to-day basis. You have to think about the decisions that you make based on your future and what’s best for you and your whole family.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PURSUING OTHER MORE SERIOUS CAREERS IN THE INDUSTRY LIKE BEING A SPORTS COMMENTATOR OR TV HOST?
I don’t really like the media thing. I don’t mind doing it from time to time. I don’t wanna be in front of the camera with a microphone.
DO YOU KEEP VIDEO COPIES OF YOUR GOALS IN A SECRET FOLDER ON YOUR COMPUTER THAT YOU WATCH WHEN YOU’RE BORED?
No. I wrote a list of goals I wanted to achieve when I was a young kid. I don’t document my seasonal goals.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED ON YOUR JOURNEY?
I just learned to enjoy football. You never know when it’s gonna stop. You never know when your last game is going to be. You never know when you’ll get injured. I just want to enjoy playing my football, and right now, I’m doing that, so that’s the most important thing to remember every day when I go training, when I go to games. I just enjoy myself. One day, it’s all gonna be gone. You’ll never get to play again.
WHAT ARE YOUR REMAINING CAREER AMBITIONS?
For me, personally, to try to play at the highest level I can for as many years as I can. It would be nice to continue with the national team and to win the league or cup. To continue to play, to enjoy it, and to have fun.
AWAY FROM FOOTBALL, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO? WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
I got a dog, Marley, my beagle. I like walking my dog. My wife and I love spending time with him. We also like watching TV series. Boring stuff. Going out to eat at restaurants and bars.
NAME THREE THINGS YOU WANTED AS A CHILD BUT NEVER GOT.
We never had any video games growing up. Maybe that was one. Never had that. I can only name one.
WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER HEARD OR READ ABOUT YOURSELF?
One time, I went to an event with my wife, and they said that I was Mark Hartmann and she was Mark’s girlfriend. That was the funniest one. The weird thing was that I was with my brother, and they got his name right.
HAVE YOU EVER FAKED AN AMERICAN ACCENT?
I have faked it, but my brothers and I are quite good at impressions. My Brian Reid is really good, but my Leigh Manson is better than my Brian Reid.
WHAT’S THE MOST MIND-BOGGLING FILIPINO HABIT YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED?
I don’t get the driving. I don’t understand the driving situation. What’s that all about? There are just no rules.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Constant flying, so the ability to fly. Or the ability to turn invisible, but it could be a bit creepy, though. Couldn’t it?
HOW ABOUT TELEPORTATION?
Teleportation would be a good one!
None. I don’t have a favorite player anymore. When I was younger, I used to have favorite players.
Tottenham because Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne both played for them when I was a kid.
The Shawshank Redemption.
ARTIST? SINGER? BAND?
I like a lot of music. If I could see one band in concert, it would probably be Daft Punk.
FINISH THE SENTENCE! I PLAY LIKE …
I SPEND MY MONEY ON …
BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE GIVEN OR BEEN GIVEN?
What’s done in the dark comes out in the light. It’s one of the phrases I coined.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
“Funny,” “serious,” “competitive,” “goofy,” and “late.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
“As Told by Chris Greatwich, Part 1” at http://goo.gl/mQKVdY