“A country can truly call itself sporting when the majority of its people feel a personal need for sport.”

-Pierre de Coubertin

The SouthEastAsian Games was held in Indonesia with the theme "United & Rising" ("Bersatu & Bangkit").

I’m not a sporty person.

I never imagine myself spiking or pitching a ball nor grappling and executing an astonishing upper-cut against my opponent until I crack his head and earn points to win. I’ve been competitive as I was growing but it never crossed my mind to be someday a grandmaster of chest (I couldn’t even beat my brother) or an MVP in any volleyball tournaments (unlike my father who go gaga over it). With the build I have, I’m complacent with walking. People who knew me we’ll probably agree with me.🙂

But of course, that’s me. I’m not into sports but it doesn’t mean that I’m not interested with it. With the dismaying upshot of the performance of the Filipino athletes in the 26th South East Asian Games (SEAGAMES) in Palembang, South Sumatera, Indonesia which started last November 11 and will end tomorrow, there is something in our sports that we badly need to dissect and address in.

Prior to the SEAsian games, where Team Philippines competed among 11 nations in 44 sports, there was the fight of most- renowned Filipino boxer a.k.a. ‘The Best Fighter of the World,’ Manny Pacquiao with Manuel Marquez for the third time around.

Ostensibly, most of us were glued to our television and even criminals were cheering for him as our crime rate descends at that day which happen every Pacquiao’s fight. Our very respectable 60 congressmen even flew to Las Vegas to witness his fight, making a truancy of their intended obligations to our country, when in fact only 15 (if I’m not mistaken) were allowed and only three declared that they would sure go.

GO TEAM PHILIPPINES! The Filipino athletes paraded during the opening of the 26th SEAGAMES. PHOTO BY VIC ADORNO

There’s nothing wrong with that (except for the good example of our lawmakers), because that’s one way of showing our support with our sports. However, the demarcation line between the ‘popular’ sports and so called ‘minor’ sports is getting clearer and clearer.

The question is, is there such thing as ‘popular’ and ‘minor’ sports?

The answer is yes. With most media, specifically television, flashes only particular sports that are worthy of the interest of their audience, the tendency is the fall short of other sports that are as well worthy of public interest. We never see exclusive sportscasts of swimming, fencing, weightlifting represented by our athletes. It doesn’t yet happen in our television history that a major network televise an eight (8) hours coverage of taekwondo. They’ll never invest on that unless it will bring continuous cash rings on their accounts.

Let’s not go too far, take for example the Palarong Pambansa (National Sports competition) where most of our best athletes started. Only a glimpse and a data-oriented report are heard about it. No more, no less.

PALARONG-PAMBANSA 2011. This was held in Dapitan last May 7, 2011.

Public attention is not only what they needed. Actually it’s not enough. With the dearth of funds to support the Philippines’ sport, it’s no doubt that our athletes crawl in making a name internationally.

Sports symbolize our culture as a Filipino. It’s an indispensable part of the educational process, as youth learn beyond academics and foment peace, friendship, discipline, cooperation and understanding among other people and nations. Here they discover the value of sportsmanship, one of the vital virtues that should be early ingrained to their minds so the possibility of ceasing the killing-spree during elections will materialize.🙂

As the 26th SEAGAMES will finally close tomorrow, and as our athletes will go home bringing not the bacon, criticisms will still inevitably delude them. What a nice way of welcoming them.

Despite the matter-of-factly truth that they represented our country just so we will be enough proud of them, comparisons and shallow questioning will never end. Why can’t we bag the overall championship unlike the 23rd SEAGAMES when we reaped 117 gold medals? Or even just the second overall as our athletes promised? Again, Filipinos are use of seeing just the result and taking amnesia on how these athletes deduced effort to raise the three stars and a sun.

THE FUTURE PRIDE. The delegates of the 2011 Pambansang Palaro where most of our renowned athletes started. They need more attention not just financially but most of all moral support among their compatriots.

I remember one said about sports, Martina Navritilona, “I’m not involved in sports, I’m committed…Do you know the difference? Think of eggs and ham. The chicken is involved but the pig is committed.”

Would you be chicken or a pig?

When it comes to sports, one needs not to possess the legendary Greek’s biceps and triceps, the unlimited strenuous power or the undefeated brain capabilities. What you need is only two: heart and soul for the sports.

Actually, one needs not to be an athlete to belong in the realm of sports. For every individual, like you who’s reading this, still could enjoy it even knowing nothing about playing any sports. Instead of throwing blames to our athletes, why should we bestow to them what is due to their sacrifices? Do your part, get your pom-poms and we’ll cheer them all.


PHOTOS RETRIEVED FROM https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=202441186497848&set=pu.164462343629066&type=1&theater