Hockey set Enrico Marican on the straight and narrow.
Looked after primarily by his grandmother after his parents divorced when he was seven, the youngster began to spend much of his time away from home.
It could well have got him into trouble, he says today, because, in his own words, he was "hanging with the wrong crowd".
When he started playing hockey in Primary 4 at Peixin Primary School, however, Enrico found peace, and a proper avenue to channel his energy.
It also helped that he was good at it.
Next week, Enrico will captain the Singapore hockey team at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
The team have targeted the silver medal, and also aim to push perennial favourites Malaysia hard.
It has been quite a journey for the 22-year-old Enrico, who is grateful to hockey.
Speaking candidly to The New Paper recently, he said: "When I'm on the pitch, I don't think about what goes on outside of it, so it's a good form of relaxation for me from my problems.
"My problems at home made me try to find attention by spending more time with my friends, but I also realised it could lead to bad company.
"So, I tried to spend more time in my sport and I slowly managed to influence a few of my mates to join up, instead of hanging around outside, which had no real benefits."
Channelling his energy into hockey has certainly paid off.