Friday, November 09, 2012

Fair Play: A vision for Cebu beach volleyball


IT started with a dream, and now the sand court at Fort San Pedro is nearly finished.

More than just the physical set-up, what the sand court can do--and symbolizes--means the Cebu beach volleyball scene, or even that of the country's, will change.


Philippine Sports Commission volleyball consultant Eric Lecain was sent to Cebu over a year ago to help train kids.  Along the way, he hooked up with former collegiate stars whom he helped win the titles in the Philippine National Games.  The win was so momentous that it led to the sacking of the national team.

Members of the national team, the PSC reasoned, should be the best, and if they could lose to a Cebu team who hasn't even gotten an invite to try out for the national squad, then, there's something wrong with the program.

One of the ways to correct that is to expand the training pool of the national team, and of course, to get it out of Manila, so the best players don't have to relocate.

Hence, the sand court in Cebu.

But it won't be only for the elite players, though.

It would be for the underprivileged kids--the public school kids and the street kids.  That's part of Lecain's and Cebu City Sports Commission chairman Ed Hayco's vision.

And it's great because even before beach volleyball became a hit, there was already that two-player variation of the game that was a hit among the under-privileged areas, "dayun-dayun" volleyball.

Now, will this beach volleyball program be a hit? I think it will be. Experience says that whenever a program designed by no nonsense folks who aren't after publicity

is started, they do well.  And Lecain couldn't find a better partner in the CCSC, whose chairman has done a similar thing as head of Dancesport Team Cebu City.  As CCSC chair, he also started other programs for other sports, the most successful being the one for chess.

And the program has gotten a major backer in the US embassy, which promised to bring the top American players  to play in Cebu. Could it be Olympic champs Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh?  I hope so.

Aside from what it could do for elite players, the program, could change the lives of those who may not even  make the national team.

At best two or four players can see action for the national team, but 20 or more could be good enough for the collegiate scene, both here in Cebu and in Manila.

And what goes with being a college varsity?  An athletic scholarship.

Young kids who otherwise couldn't afford a college degree will have a chance to do so, through sports.  And we have a lot of success stories already of people who played there way to a college degree.

And that's why, I hope this program by the CCSC and Eric Lecain will be a roaring success.  We may not be able to send a team of Cebuano players to the 2020 beach volleyball Olympics, but what is certain though, this program will be able to send a few kids to college.

EPIC UFL CUP.  Don’t miss this Tuesday’s UFL Cup semifinals as this one promises to be epic.  It will be Global FC against the Loyola Meralco Sparks, and Stallions and the Green Archers. 

Last Thursday night, the Stallions survived a stubborn Gen. Trias squad through penalties—the first shootout in a PHL club competition aired live over national TV—5-4.

Now, on Nov. 13, the men’s national team will be in Cebu, so the Azkals won’t be playing—unless they sneak out back to Manila—in the semifinals.  So which team has enough depth to overcome that?

We will find out on Nov. 13, live, over AKTV.


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