Fair Play: Region 7 faces murderous schedule in Palaro

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 29 edition)
THE Palarong Pambansa will officially start on May 4--moved a day later to give way to the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather fight--but kids are already in the venue as early as two weeks before the start.

Doing what? The Department of Education only knows.

Some delegations who arrive early cram some practice time, some make do with tours. Some teams arrive a bit late, but still days before the opening, as they opt to practice at home rather than compete with other delegations for limited venues in the Palaro.

And in football, the quirk of the Palaro schedule has put Region 7 at a severe disadvantage. If you take a look at the groupings and the scheduling, you can even think that they somehow managed to fix both to make sure Central Visayas, or any of the two other heavy favorites, won’t make it to the knockout stage.

Central Visayas is in Group C with Northern Mindanao, ARMM and traditional powerhouse Western Visayas of John Carmona and Calabarzon, which is represented by San Beda, the newly-crowned NCAA champion.

And guess what? After playing ARMM on May 4 and NMRAA on May 5, Central Visayas, represented by Mandaue, will play its final two games against the top contenders Western Visayas and Calbarzon on the same day!

On the same day! Are they crazy?

First up is Western Visayas at 3:30 p.m. and if the match starts on time, they'd be lucky to get 90 minutes of rest before they take on Calabarzon at 6:30 p.m.

Nuts! Are the officials not aware how draining it is to play at 3:30 p.m. in the summer heat? They expect these kids to recover in just 90 minutes to play another full match against San Beda? A game which is expected to be physically taxing as both are contenders?

Are they risking the kids health? Jesus H. Christ! Like I've said, the teams are already there days before the scheduled--and useless---opening ceremony, why not schedule some of the games two days, or even a day before the opening program? That way, they won't have to cram two matches in a day.

That's not uncommon. Holding football matches before the opening is the standard practice of multi-event meets like the SEA Games, Asian Games and Olympics.

But sadly, taking for granted the health of the players, especially in football, is the standard practice in DepED meets too.

It’s already 2015, teams shouldn’t have to deal with murderous schedules like this. It’s 2015, perhaps it’s time for DepEd to take the players’ welfare in consideration?


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