Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fair Play: Why grown ups should stop playing games

"I've seen grown ups play games to the detriment of the game," that's what Tony Moraza of Aboitiz said during the Cebu Football Association general assembly last March 18.

And that's basically what holds back sports in this country, adults playing games. Or in a nutshell, politics.  Politics’ latest victim? The Philippine Volleyball Federation, but that’s a different story.

Sir Tony pointed out that it was no longer the case but his words should serve as a reminder to CFA officials about what bending it like Sepp Blatter does to a football community.  It’s never pretty.

I really liked those words because it's quite revealing.  In a way, it was a challenge to the CFA officers.  The previous board had a start like that of the present board officials, it was full of promise but they were undone because of the "games grown ups play."  And sir Tony Moraza should know.  He sat on that board, together with the current officials Ricky Dakay  and Raffy Musni.

Sir Tony praised the CFA and the PFF for its unity and togetherness--which seemed to be the theme that day--that has helped placed football where it is now, the fastest-growing sport in the country.

The CFA president also touched on that theme.  That day, the group got three awards from the Sportswriters Association of Cebu for what it has done in 2012.

"The award may seem to mirror....achievements made over a relatively short span of time.....However, upon deeper instrospection, what has been accomplished does not exemplify the sum and substance that the CFA is; rather it is the manner how such were accomplished," he said on his speech.

On the value system they adapted, he said," For actions without values are dangerous and values without actions are impotent."

These are strong words and I hope this present board can live by them.  I believe football’s future will be paved by what the officers—not just in Cebu—do right now.  And whether it will be bright or bleak, all depends on them.  

That is their challenge.

That is their burden.

We don’t want to return to those times when the games grown ups play hinder the kids.  

Sir Tony also credited the sport’s popularity and said the rise of the Azkals had a lot to do with that and he said the players can still keep on pushing that by being visible all throughout the country, not just in Manila.

Though I agree with that, I think it's not only the Azkals that should be visible, but officials as well.  While learning the game, the PFF was an alien organization, we have heard of it but we never really knew what it is nor did we meet anyone involved with the group.

And of course, players who are being looked up to by kids right now--not only the national team players--should start acting responsibly, too.

I sometimes watch UFL matches with my three-year-old kid, who likes to copy what he sees on TV and sometimes adapt the names and actions of his favorite cartoon characters.  And sometimes, what the UFL players do doesn't make a good impression.  After seeing one of those delaying tactics where players fall for no apparent season, my three-year-old began to copy that and starts falling whenever he dribbles.

To borrow esteemed columnist Godofredo Roperos's police challenge, "It is not merely by winning games that Philippine football can grow, but through the conduct--of and on the pitch--of each individual football player."

That is your burden.

That is your challenge.

Veteran players think that what they do on the pitch doesn’t really affect the game because “that’s what we’ve always done.” 

That’s wrong.

We were where we were, all those years ago because we always did what we have always done.

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