Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fair Play: The SAC-SMB Sports Awards are for the parents

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 29 issue)
DURING a lull in the 32nd Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Beer sports awards, I got out for a break and witnessed quite a poignant scene.

One of the football awardees also sneaked out to meet her parents, proudly showing off her trophy to who I presume was his sister and her parents.

She took and proudly smiled for a selfie, then, her sister grabbed her trophy and said, “My turn.”

All the while, the parents were beaming proudly.

She was one of the national team members who received a citation and it was at that moment that I realized, the reward may have her name on it, but it’s also for her parents.

She wouldn’t have gotten that award, if not for her parents.

So much has been written lately--on social media and in print--about interfering parents in sports, but that scene reminded us what we’ve been telling everybody all along, not all football parents are bad. in fact, most of them are very helpful.

The parents of all the young awardees in the 32nd SAC-SMB Sports Awards are a testament to that.

The brawl that put Cebu football in the national limelight does not define Cebu football, nor should it define both the Ateneo and Alcoy football communities.

What would define them are their actions after the incident and I hope they have that in mind when they meet for the first time on March 31 at the Capitol. I still hope something good will come out it and all those involved get to erase the stigma that has been associated them because of that incident.

In his speech, veteran sports columnist Quinito Henson didn’t touch on the controversial brawl but a lot of what he said indirectly relates to the topic.

Integrity. Character. Play with your heart. Give everything you have. And more importantly: respect your foes.

He also said, “Don’t involve yourself in what doesn’t involve you.” Players love to complain against all sorts of calls and Henson said it’s a practice that will only get you booted out of the match.

“You have a coach, let him complain for you.”

He didn’t say it, but that holds true, too, for parents. The loudest jeers and complaints sometimes come from parents.

“Don’t involve yourself in what doesn’t involve you.”

That’s a sound advice as any.

He also said athletes shouldn’t forget to cherish that moment. It’s not every day that you’d get to be in the finals, or to go abroad to represent the country.

Cherish it.

VIOLENT REACTION. My last column on the Clear Dream tryout, which highlighted Enzo Ceniza is one of the gifted players in Cebu, elicited a strong reaction from an e-mail sender who I shall not name to save the writer from shame.

I have watched players of different ages in Cebu for more than 10 years and Enzo is not worth mentioning with respect to other more deserving and better players. Why do you keep on mentioning Enzo? Is there some hidden agenda you would like to portray on Enzo because he is the son of a known coach? I could give you a few names who are better than Enzo. It is just discouraging to know how bad our players are when you compare our best players with Enzo. People might think our caliber is limited to Enzo’s caliber. Shame on you.”

I told the sender, there is no hidden agenda. I’ve seen Enzo play since he was six or seven and I’ve always wanted to know how far he can go. I also admire players who are good and Enzo is one of the best, and even coaches from opposing team say so.

And now, even the Clear Dream match coaches say so, having picked Enzo along with Bennydick Saligan, Dan Villarico, Lawrence Baguio, Major Dean Ebarle, Shane Sarmiento, Tom Booth and Yves Caballero for the three-day camp in Manila.

That's a good standard I think.

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