Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fair Play: Caught in a numbers game

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 25 edition)
THE Cebu City Council got caught up in the numbers game anew lately with the controversy on the proposed P5,000 doleout for single parents.

Whether who is right or wrong, I’m going to leave that to our more experienced opinion columnists like Frank Malilong (who is a former sports editor, by the way) and Bong Wenceslao. But this latest round of numbers game led me to think that if Cebu City wants to spend its money why not spend it for Palarong Pambansa medalists?

I was and will never be a fan of doleouts and no I am not proposing that Cebu City shells out P5,000 per medalist. It’s a waste of funds.

What I propose is something different.

How many single moms are in Cebu City? A thousand? Five hundred? That’s still P5 million or P2.5 million a year.

How many Palaro gold medalists does Cebu City have? Or, for that matter, gold medalists in other national competitions? Less than a 100 most likely.

It’s something I suggested to CCSC chairman Ed Hayco a few months back, when they were proposing to give doleouts to medalists. Instead of doleouts, why not put our Palaro gold medalists from the public schools in the priority list of the City’s scholarship programs?

Yes, there are athletic scholarships but not all athletic scholarships are created equal. And not all sports events are offered with scholarships in college.

For me, that’s a reward that offers more than financial benefits.

Well the City does have scholarship programs right but aren’t most of the slots offered to sons and daughters of allies? How about a Palaro champion, getting this slot and the corresponding financial help, regardless of political colors?

I mean, if the Council really wants to shell out money, they can do that. It’s easy to identify the recipients.

But would the small number of recipients mean that in this highly politicized city, where the battle for the 2016 mayoralty post is highly-anticipated, it’s a numbers game the politicians aren’t willing to play?

Oh well, it was worth a try.

FEEDBACK. My previous column on Samsam Gullas’ move to prioritize education for its student athletes got an interesting feedback from a reader from the other side of the world, but his take is on high school basketball, and the recent changes that Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu is implementing.

It’s a very interesting take on school sports today vs. that of yesterday.

He wrote, “During my high school days in SHS in the 80’s, I always felt that it was unfair for my school’s basketball teams to lose in double-digits...It was ugly, like watching a first-grade student squaring up against the baddest sixth-grade bully. A lot of my friends and classmates played in the varsity team. And just like all non-athlete students, they were all subjected to the same strict standards from grades, conduct, and spiritual upbringing. That was the Jesuit way, or to be more specific, that was the real Jesuit way. Our varsity team may have all lost the majority of the games back then but the student body held their heads up high because we knew winning is not everything.”

SHS losing by double digits? Right now that’s an alien concept as SHS-AdC is one of the top high school teams in the country. But in the flipside of that, there’s another aspect of the story.

He continues, “That was then. Today SHS has become the premier HS in Cebu when it comes to sports program, basketball in particular. But has things remained the same as far as subjecting the student-athletes to the same standard as all students? Let’s put it this way, every year when we gather for the annual homecoming, everybody talks about the SHS basketball program. Where do they get these basketball players?..Why do some of these basketball players enroll in SHS for their senior year only? Are they offering scholarships? Athletic scholarships during our time was a foreign concept. Are we really that desperate that we now recruit basketball players?”


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