Fair Play: P15 for a P40M facility? It's a bargain

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on April 28)
I FINALLY got to see the brand new track oval at the Cebu City Sports Center and it looked great. It was a stark contrast to the wrinkled one that seemed to melt under your feet when the sun gets too hot.

With the new oval, of course, comes the increase in the fees and I think the P15 for day use, up from P10, is justified. It’s still a whole lot cheaper than the P30 charged in Cagayan de Oro City. Besides, if you’re really determined to get in shape, paying a small fee for that shouldn’t be a deterrent.

I overheard a radio commentator say that because it’s a government facility, people expect to use it for free. That’s nuts!  Besides, elite athletes already get to train at the center for free.

I hope those who use the facility will take good care of it, and I’m not talking about the patrons, but all those who step into the sports center.

The patrons, joggers and health buffs really don’t contribute much to the CCSC damage as they even patrol among themselves and educate each other about the proper use of the sports center, albeit sometimes, overzealously.

I think what can damage the new oval, aside from the murderous pounding it gets during the Sinulog, is the pounding it will get from the heels of thousands of students, and yes, a few hundred or so, from the spikes of footballers, flag footballers, baseball and softball players and other team sports.

But knowing Ricky Ballesteros, I’m confident the CCSC manager has come up with safeguards for the new rubber,  which cost almost P40 million.

We’ve been clamoring for this for years and now that we have it, I hope we treat it better than a new phone, which gets tender loving care in the first two months.

Aside from the oval, the football field, lovingly called the CCSC dust bowl by Graeme Mackinnon, is under rehab and so far, things are looking great.  Just last Wednesday, I dropped by the center and the field was green, which is a rare sight. I think the last time the CCSC pitch was this green was when I first covered a match there in 1997.

Though the pitch is green, Ricky said it is far from ready.  It will take three to six months more. 

“We need to flatten it first,” he said.

By the way, I checked the field because Coco Torre of the UFL wanted to know if the CCSC is a viable venue for a match next month. Hearing that it will take another three months was a bit disappointing.

But there’s no rush, let’s be patient.

Next month’s planned UFL match in Cebu would have been great—a double-header featuring Kaya and Loyola and, of course, our very own Queen City united.

With CCSC out of the question, the next viable option is the Aboitiz sports field but it’s not as appealing as CCSC.  Anyway, let’s just wait and see what happens in the next few days.

When I told Ricky Ballesteros about the UFL’s plan, he said he is amenable to the CCSC hosting a UFL match as sort of a grand reopening. However, I think it could serve another purpose.

The UFL match could also serve as a dry run for CCSC personnel on how to protect the oval when some 50 footballers, officials and media men pass through it going to the field.


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