THANKS to Girlie Garces (of San Miguel Brewery) and Mike Limpag (our SAC president), I witnessed the best staging of the annual SMB-SAC Cebu Sports Awards last Tuesday at the SM City Cebu.
Fred Uytengsu, our Sportsman of the Year, gave an uplifting speech to all. Here are excerpts:
“Have you ever gone back to think about what got you into your sport? Was it someone you saw on TV or read about? What exactly encouraged you to get so involved that you are here today being recognized by SAC?
“I am willing to bet that none of you did it for fame. Okay, maybe some did. But really, what is it about athletes that are willing to endure hours of training each day, week after week, month after month and for years! Some of you may be a top athlete because of a certain amount of talent. Some of you may be because you’ve been relentless in your work ethic and perhaps, for many, a little of both. What I do know is that everyone here has been willing to sacrifice, endure pain and persevere when you felt you couldn’t push another inch.
“So whether you are a professional athlete, an Olympian, a UAAP champion.. what are the lessons in life that you will take away from your time as an athlete?
“We all know that competing at the highest level is not something we can do forever. So how do we transform this work ethic into something that can be your second chapter in life? This is a question I ask my players at the Alaska Aces because right now, they are privileged. They play before thousands at the Araneta Coliseum and are watched by millions on TV. They are adorned by fans all over the cuntry. One day that ends.
“So how do we take what we learned as athletes and transform that into an endeavor that is meaningful? Some can become coaches and help the next generation of athletes to become better. Some go on to business. Some even pursue politics. Sadly, some have not prepared for that next chapter in life.
“What I want to leave everyone here with is that through sports, the lessons of teamwork, hard work, sportsmanship, discipline, motivation and sacrifice are amongst the greatest life lessons we can ever learn. Take these lessons to heart while you are an athlete competing but also remember these lessons and attributes when it is time for your journey to change.
“Our sportswriters do us all a great favor about writing on the exploits and accomplishments of the victor. But there can only be one winner at each contest. Let us embrace the journey all of us as athletes have taken and know that we can continue that journey in a different way and still strive for success.
“People are measured by what they accomplish but they are defined by what they attempt.”