Heartstrong as legacy
It has been reported that Ateneo’s volleyball coach, Tai Bundit, is leaving the Lady Eagles. Under the Thai, Ateneo won two UAAP titles, finished runner-up twice and reached the semifinals in the ongoing 80th season despite a rocky start.
A four-set loss to gritty Far Eastern University ended Ateneo’s season. The Lady Tamaraws played with defensive resolve, even when they trailed during several stretches in the first two sets. Blocking was the key to FEU’s win as it responded well to Ateneo’s attempts to swing the ball across the net.
If this is indeed Bundit’s last stint with the Lady Eagles, he will leave behind two important lessons. First, sports need not be restricted by language differences. Bundit tried his earnest best to express himself in halting English but still managed to get the message across about volleyball skills.
ESPN 5 volleyball analyst Tex Suter often reminds me that one only has to listen intently when there are language differences because well-played sports is universal. Suter and I are witness to this every time Cocolife plays in the Philippine Super Liga when its Serbian coach Moro Branislav attempts to relay his coaching messages.
Bundit and Bransilav have had different levels of success to prove that language need not be an impediment. But of course this may be easier said than done because players who have to relate with foreign coaches may not immediately get clear signals.
Bundit’s second legacy will have to be heartstrong. In his attempts to communicate, Bundit used simple phrase like “happy, happy” to tell his players to ignore the pressure of games. Heartstrong was a stronger call to dig in deep inside themselves.
Heartstrong came from the Ateneo fold but the line may now be a battle cry for all teams and athletes facing trials. It could also be a call for all of us who face the challenges of daily life. That’s a language all of us can understand.
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