Galih Gibran: An Inspirational American Football Student-Athlete

Galih Gibran: An Inspirational American Football Student-Athlete
Magani unites tradition with the new; reimagining the traditional batik shirt for the needs of our contemporary society. We combine Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage with the latest innovation in performance wear material to build the ultimate durable and comfortable shirt for the modern Indonesian man who is constantly on the move. 
As we celebrate Indonesia’s heritage, we also celebrate the individuals who are unintimidated by the sweat and hard work required to defy challenges, push boundaries, and move Indonesia forward.
Meet the #MaganiMen who have inspired us that with grit and endurance, there are no limits to what you can achieve. #NOSWEATNOLIMIT
#MaganiMen Galih Gibran: Resilience and Grit. An Inspirational American Football Student-Athlete from Bandung, Indonesia.  

Galih wears short sleeves Navy Megamendung

Who is Galih Gibran? Tell us a bit about yourself

Some people say I’m a footballer, athlete, or influencer. Honestly I try my best not to associate myself with a particular identity, but just as who I actually am and what drives me. I was a shy kid growing up, but sports allowed me to explore my full potential. I am someone who always tries my best to live a life to my fullest potential, and I hope to help influence others to unlock their own potential as well. 

When did you start playing American Football?

American Football was something I grew up watching on TV or music videos. During COVID 2020, I was about to finish my degree in Melbourne and realized I’m still too young to join the workforce back in Indonesia. I still wanted to do something new. I came across an opportunity to play American Football in America that allowed you to play even though you also have to get a degree. I decided to give it a shot and looked up people who were finding people in Australia to send to America. I called them and asked them almost everyday if I could join the program. I got rejected more than 40 times because the program doesn’t accept people who have never done professional football before. One day, I borrowed my friend’s phone to call the recruiter (at this point they already blocked my number) and miraculously convinced the recruiter to let me join the program. That’s how it all started. Even during tryouts, I broke my finger but I kept on going. The recruiters noticed this and they started to like me.

What do you enjoy the most about being an athlete?

Being a student-athlete or an athlete has always been one of the goals in my life. I always look up to athletes who are able to balance their life with their job. People might think this job is an easy one because all you do is sports. But if you do that every single day, it becomes the worst thing you could imagine because you end up being forced to perform 100% all the time. The pressure is very high. But having my schedule fully booked on training every day, practicing for hours, and accomplishing things are what makes me feel fulfilled. The intense feeling of training, recovering, and pushing the limit every single day is what I like. Not the game, not the big touchdown, it’s more like day-to-day activities that keeps me fulfilled.

Can you walk us through a day in your life as a student-athlete? 

In the morning, I go to school first to do some work. I have to pay my training fees, my car, and everything else. So I work about 8-10AM, then have class from 10:30AM-12PM. I have an hour lunch with my friends, and that’s the only gap in my schedule for the day. At 1PM I head to a team meeting, and continue team practice until 6PM. Since I know I’m an underdog and need a lot of practice to get better, after team practice I drive about an hour away from school to go to my extra football skills training and accessory drills like sprinting. I would finish my day around 8PM and head home. I eat dinner with my girlfriend, watch Korean dramas, and sleep. 

Apart from being a student-athlete, what else are you up to?

I would say that at the moment beyond being a student-athlete I am also a storyteller. Whether I’m in America or Indonesia, I try my best to create videos, podcasts and content that can uplift people. It could be my story, or somebody else’s story. Ultimately I want to encourage people to reach their maximum potential. 

Apart from that, I also still do a lot of part-time jobs to afford my life in America. I work as a personal trainer, student assistant, mover, sushi maker, and other jobs that I can get extra income outside of football training. Life in America is not easy, and most importantly my family is not there. When I come back to Indonesia I always try my best to be with my family. 

What's next for Galih Gibran?

Honestly, I don’t care if I fail or if I don’t get anything out of this American Football experience. If I do get it, that will be amazing. If I don’t, I can still say that I truly tried my best to pursue my dream. Even if I return to Indonesia, I’ll still continue to pursue being an athlete. Maybe I will train for the Olympics or other Indonesian national athletics like sprinting or something else. At the end of the day sports will always be my life. 

Galih wears Trio Monogram

Who or what inspired you the most?

Previously I would say celebrities like Tony Robbins, Kobe Bryant and so forth. Now I realize that my father is the one who inspires me most. My dad had a high position in his corporate office, and you know sometimes when somebody is higher up there they can easily forget those in lower positions. When he retired, all of the people like security, cleaning service and drivers all told me how sad they were that he was leaving. It was because my dad was the only one who cared and talked to them sincerely. Spending time to ask about their family, situation, health - overall respecting and having empathy for others. My dad is also the one who inspired me to become a storyteller because I want people to believe that they can do anything they want. I want to reach out to people, just how my father reached the heart of his people. 

What values ​​in life do you adhere to? 

According to Tony Robbins, always believe in the secret of giving. When you think about only yourself, that’s when you begin to suffer. I believe your purpose in life should be bigger than yourself. If you want to help your community, it will give you bigger insights. If you want to help humanity, the world will also give you opportunities. If you become more selfless, more things will be attracted to you. So in my life, I strive for goals that will bring a positive impact to others.

Can you explain a unique thing (fun fact) about yourself that is unknown by many people?

Usually being an athlete people always perceive me as this intense and masculine guy. Actually I’m really goofy. I just enjoy having fun, being goofy, and having the curiosity of a kid. I always want to show people that I’m a playful person, even if I’m at a board meeting.

You also have a barbershop in Bandung. Why did you start the business and how do you manage it from afar?

I started my barbershop right after high school. At the time I recognized that Bandung didn’t have a comprehensive barbershop. Barbers were also paid a small amount of money, not like in Australia or America where people would pay significantly more for a haircut. People abroad value barbers and treat them like artists, of which they truly are. So I wanted to create an environment in Bandung where people would treat the barbers with respect and value their craft, so that the barbers could also change their life. I manage everything online, and fortunately I have a great team, including my family. I put trust in the team and encourage them to be more creative in approaching things. Thankfully we’ve managed well until now, even though I am abroad at the moment.

What would you change about your career thus far if given a chance to turn back time?

If I could turn back time, I would have pursued football in a different way. I felt like I should have done my own research and pursued the specific coaches that would have made a big difference in my career and developing my skills. I was more passive and waited for references, rather than being proactive and managing my own path. I also would have shared my story more with others because it absolutely has not been easy. I think a lot of other people would benefit from hearing my stories. At one point I was bouncing from couch to couch because it was really difficult to get housing as an international student. Nonetheless, it’s been a journey and I’m still grateful that I can pursue my dream. 

What is the most memorable thing to you?

Somehow you need to have faith that there is something bigger than us, the universe, God, or whatever people believe. I felt like I had put so much money and effort into being a football player but I was struggling so much. But I’m grateful for the memories I’ve created through this journey, being with people from different backgrounds, meeting my girlfriend, seeing the dream that I’ve always wanted to live in. All of those things are memorable to me; the struggle, the pain, the beauty, the happiness, and everything in between.

Tell us your 5 favorite activities to improve yourself?

1. Going to seminars

People don't become successful because they’re lucky, they made mistakes and learned and did something right out of it. When you go to seminars you learn about the mistakes they did so that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It’s a jump start to learning how to be successful.

2. Move your body

You have to improve yourself by moving your body. It could be anything, running, bowling, cycling, weightlifting, pilates, or yoga. No matter what you have to force yourself to move your body.

3. Sleep well

I sleep a lot. If I’m under-slept, it will affect my performance. Especially when you’re active like me, sleep is extremely important. You have to be consistent with your sleep and get the proper hours every night. The most legal enhancing drug is sleep.

4. Ice bath and sauna

I do contrast therapy, jumping between sauna and ice baths. This has really benefited my performance and reduces fatigue.

5. Improve the quality of your relationship

Be more vulnerable to the people that you love, because the beauty of your life comes from the quality of your relationship with others.

What about Magani resonated/appealed to you?

You guys have created a solution for the biggest problem for active people like me. We move and sweat a lot, especially while super busy throughout the day. When I wear normal batik, I feel uncomfortable with the material. When I wear Magani, it’s truly life-changing because I’m sweating a lot but I still feel good and comfortable. Plus it looks nice, and at the same time feels nice too. That’s why I love it. 

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