What more can we do?
At the pre-flight counter for the trip home from the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, I had the chance to meet up with Margie Didal, our skateboarding gold medalist, and the very determined women’s volleyball team.
Didal was going home a champion while the volleyball players were richer with the experience of competing against some of the region’s toughest teams.
As we exchanged notes and pleasantries, it dawned upon me anew that it is truly a unique honor to represent the country, whether one wins or simply competes vigorously. The athletes are in a special time of their lives where their youth and talents allow them to play for us and vie for honors and respect in international sports.
What more can we do on our own to help so that sports become a part of the youth and they get chances to be good at their chosen disciplines? What else can we do to foster a sporting culture for more people?
The Philippine Olympic Committee, the Philippine Sports Commission and the national sports associations (NSAs) will offer the macro solutions to our sporting concerns. But what can we contribute even on a small, personal but significant scale?
On the flight, I noted a few things we can do:
Support a sport in any way. Even if you can, don’t just donate a basketball court. If you can lend a hand financially, please don’t hesitate because sports are always a good cause.
Help a sport outside the popular ones. For the Dentsu Broadcasting international coverage I did in Jakarta, I learned to do many sports aside from my usual fare. I intend to support these disciplines in the country in the days ahead.
Allow public spaces for sports. Public parks are becoming a rarity nowadays with tons of space being converted into infrastructure. We need parks to breathe and to have recreation areas.
Continue to make school sports programs viable for elite athletes and all students.
Give your child a chance to learn a sport. Not all kids will become champions, but they will have a choice of sports for life. Do not force them though into a game even if they the have the height for it or if you have a favorite sport you would like them to be good at. Let it happen naturally.
The champions of tomorrow can begin their journeys with a little push from all of us.
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