“Win or lose, at least you did your best.”

I always hear this from my mom whenever I play a certain sport. With my physical appearance, all I can do is to try the best of my ability to at least shoot a ball in basketball, make a ball cross the net in volleyball, or just hit a ball with a tennis racket.

Funny it may seem, but I don’t mind. Why? Because for me, winning is not that important. It is just a mere bonus for the efforts I have exerted. What is important is that I loved and enjoyed the game I played. The fact that I scored a point, I am already a winner!

In the recent 26th Southeast Asian Sea Games in Jakarta-Palembang Indonesia, I have seen some of our Filipino athletes play. Even though we ranked 6th place, I am still proud of our mighty athletes. It is not easy for them to play in a foreign country, to be away from their family and only be accompanied by their coaches. I am proud simply because they did their best and they put their heart, mind, and soul into their sport to represent our country.

The Southeast Asian Games or SEA Games is a multi-sport event which happens every after two years. The SEA Games is under the regulation of the Southeast Asian Games Federation with supervision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia. The participant countries are Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, and Timor-Leste.

It’s a little disappointing because some are dissatisfied, including me, with the support of the government to our young heroes. In the reports on the television, reporters say that there were no politicians except president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino visited Indonesia to watch and support the athletes. Some of them took their leave of absence or not go to their office at all to fly and watch the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in Las Vegas. Yes, Manny Pacquiao is our best athlete but I personally think that since he already reached the top, he does not need the support from them. Instead, those politicians should have at least watch and support our aspiring athletes for them to shine and be one of the country’s best.

As for me, giving my best is enough. But for those athletes doing the best of their ability, it would never be enough. They need financial support too. It is sad to hear that they only receive little allowance, second hand equipments, and small headquarters. They also have lack of training, resulting to our country being left behind by our neighbor countries. Yes they are not the government’s priority as of now, but isn’t it better if the money spent by the politicians to fly to Las Vegas, or to bet in Pacquiao-Marquez fight would be used for the needs of our athletes?

Despite the lack of support given by the Philippine government, the Filipino athletes still managed to win medals for the country. As of November 22, 2011, the Philippines already garnered a total number of 167 medals – 36 gold, 55 silver and 76 bronze. Out of 11 competing countries, we are in 6th place. Their performance was a great but according to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) we could’ve done better.

But in the end, no matter what the result of this event, what is important is that our athletes have done their part to represent our country. This is what sports is all about. It doesn’t matter if they win or lose as long as they played a clean fight. I admire them a lot. It gives me an inspiration that no matter how hard or how strong the opponents are, what matters most is the love for their own sport is there and they fight whole-heartedly. Not bad at all.

Members of the Philippines team celebrate their victory over Indonesia in the men's baseball final at the 26th Southeast Asian Games (SEAGAMES) in Palembang, Sumatra province on November 20, 2011. The Philippines won 2-0. (Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

They are already winners in my heart. Of course, there is more to improve and to address. Learn from the mistakes and do better next time. We must not just depend on the athletes alone, we must do our part too. We should never stop supporting our athletes, our mighty heroes. After all, we belong to one blood, one nation, and one country.

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