Friday, November 25, 2011

Fair Play: The Ed Hayco template

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Nov. 26)
OVER a year ago, I got a surprising call from Ed Hayco, who was asking for my advice on whether he should take the offer to head the Cebu City Sports Commission or not.

Knowing how murky the politics of sports can be, and knowing how a former mayor treated a former head of the CCSC, I told Sir Ed not to take it.

And it’s a good thing that I was the last person he called and the guys and gals before me convinced Sir Ed otherwise because it would have been a great loss to Cebu sports—and to Philippine sports as well—had Sir Ed stayed with Dancesport Team Cebu City.

I’ve seen four heads of the commission, one delivered what was expected of him, the other exceeded expectations but unceremoniously got the boot, while the other was never heard of again once he got appointed.

But Sir Ed? He set the bar so high that other LGUs would be happy if their local sports commissions get to do one-fourth of what Sir Ed has done. Short of cloning the amiable chairman, I think it’s best that they clone Sir Ed’s program. And cloning the CCSC program is what the Philippine Sports Commission in mind.

What is CCSC’s program? This column won’t cover everything but to in a nutshell, it puts a premium on volunteerism and follows Sir Ed’s Cascading Philosophy—those who learn the sport from CCSC teachers, in turn, teach others who also teach others.

Those two things already break down the two major hurdles that traditional sports commission chairperson always fail to overcome—funds and the lack of coaches.

Take the taekwondo program—one of the most-attended program—of the CCSC for example. It all started because Sir Ed, who doesn’t stay much in his office, spotted Jojo Omayao teaching his students at the Cebu City Sports Center. Ed approached Omayao and asked him if he could teach others, for free, too.

Omayao took the offer, and has even brought along his paying students at CCSC to help teach at the Sports Institute. Ditto with table tennis. While at the Cebu Sports Institute—which is the old San Nicolas Sports Complex—a guy approached Sir Ed for table tennis equipment. Sir Ed agreed to provide a few with the condition, the guy must teach the sport, too.

Most heads of sports commissions in the various LGUs lack the imagination to hurdle the obstacles they face, or even, to simply do their jobs.

Sir Ed is showing us that it can be done. Here’s what PSC Chairman Ritchie Garcia said of Sir Ed’s program.
“Pinakamaganda is the involvement of volunteers. I really thought these coaches and athletes were being paid to teach the sport to kids. This is really very impressive.”

Among the impressive points in Sir Ed’s program is taking the sports clinics to the far-flung barangays—all through volunteer teachers, of course—providing pocket gyms in those areas and of course, the Cebu City Sports Institute.

The once abandoned San Nicolas Gym is being transformed into a hub for 17 sports where Cebu’s best young athletes will train. The physical transformation has other benefits, too.

Sir Ed recalled what Cebu City Sports Center chairman Ricky Ballesteros told him. “You are not merely transforming a facility but you are transforming a community.”

Another great thing about Sir Ed’s program is that its success won’t be measured in gold medals, because for me, those things are far less valuable than a poor kid, getting his chance to finish an education on an athletic scholarship.

I sure hope that chairman Garcia, who is going to meet a lot of grandstanding politicians who know the perfect solution to the ills of Philippine sports in the next few weeks, will only pirate Sir Ed’s idea for the PSC, and not Sir Ed himself.

We still need him for Cebu sports.

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