Thursday, February 05, 2015

Fair Play: Milo's move to Iloilo means end of Cebu's reign

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Feb. 5 edition)
OF the 19th previous editions of the Milo Little Olympics Visayas eliminations, only two Cebu schools managed to dominate the race for the overall title, the University of Cebu in the early editions and the University of San Carlos.

Ironically, the Cebu schools’ regular participation in the meet, which started as an all Cebu schools multi-event meet, made it grow and its growth has spelled the doom for the Cebuanos’ dominance.

Consider this, had the Cebu schools skipped Milo in favor of traditional meets like the Cebu City Olympics, the Milo Olympics wouldn’t have grown into what it is now, a four-leg regional elimination culminating in a National Finals.

A few years ago, delegates from the other provinces in the Visayas started participating, getting token wins and spots in the delegation for the national meet. Yes, they were token spots and that’s not to belittle them. If you send a token delegation to a meet, you’d get token spots.

Now, that will end, and along with it, perhaps, Cebu’s dominance.

For the first time since it started, the Milo Little Olympics Visayas elimination won’t be held in Cebu, but in Iloilo, and this early, overall title hunters UC and USC are grappling with the question--should we pour all our resources for the regional title or spread it around for the other meets?

One of the advantages of the meet being held here is that the local schools could field as many athletes as they want, in the process, get as many points as they can for the title race without having to worry about expenses--save for uniform, meals and athletes’ allowances.

With the meet in Iloilo, add transportation, hotel, meals, travel expenses for the athletes and officials and you have a logistical nightmare for a big school.

Send the whole team? Or send a team of sure medalists? That’s the dilemma they are facing. Break the bank in winning the overall title or save some for the other tournaments the school participates in?

Aside from the Milo Olympics, there’s the Cebu City Olympics, the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. and athletic expenses a school has to spend for.

Either way, the Visayas delegation would still get the quality athletes it needs as Cebu’s best, plus the best of the Visayas would make for one formidable team.

Aside from that, perhaps this erroneous practice of naming Team Visayas as Bisdaks would end, too, with a pre-dominantly Ilonggo team. It's a practice we didn't adopt because having grown up with Ilonggos, they'd take offense at being called Bisayang Dako. Besides, calling Team Visayas Bisdaks makes as much sense as calling Team Philippines the Tagalogs.

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