Joaquin Buyco: A role model for Cebu Sports

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 2 edition)
AS an awardee of the Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Beer Cebu Sports Awards, the young Joaquin Buyco was just one of the many standouts of Cebu sports in the previous year.

A member of the Don Bosco Technological Center football team, he got two awards last Saturday, one for being a member of the gold medalist futsal team of Cebu City and for earning the Most Outstanding Athlete award in the Milo Little Olympics national finals last October.

But that's not really what impressed me, or what makes coach Glenn Ramos beam proudly, "Joaquin is a perfect role model for an athlete."

You see, two days before receiving two trophies in the SAC-SMB Sports Awards, Joaquin got 13 medals during the graduation ceremony in his school, and none was more impressive than the one that proclaimed him as this batch's valedictorian.

Yes, the school's athlete of the year was also the smartest student of the year and in his speech--which had no interruptions thank you very much--he acknowledged the people who helped him get there, his coaches and teammates.

As I've written here previously, the priorities of a student athlete, any student athlete, should be school first and sports second; that's why they are called student athletes, not athlete-students. And to excel at both academics and sports shows discipline and dedication that would make an adult flinch.

How did he do it? His dad Keith said it was all about discipline; the same trait the Athlete of the Year Donnie Nietes extolled when he gave his tips to his fellow awardees.

Consider this--while the rest of the members of the Cebu City team in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet only had their games to worry about, Joaquin brought his books so he could study.

And during days that he'd get too tired after practice, father and son would stop by a coffee shop for that extra jolt he needed for his studies.

“He also likes it,” Keith said.

But no matter how much coffee one takes, or how much practice sessions one has; if you're not good, you're not good. And that little Joaquin's twin achievements shows how rare a talent he is—both academically and athletically.

Proof positive that if you put your butt to it, you can do it.

To Joaquin and all the SAC-SMB awardees, congratulations and like what guest speaker Dodong Gullas said, never forget to remain humble and never forget to thank God for helping you get where you are.


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