Monday , June 18, 2018

Villaflor: What our student-athletes endure

YOUNG athletes from all over the Central Visayas will descend on the island of Bohol starting tomorrow. The big event? The 2018 Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (Cviraa) that officially starts this weekend.

Co-hosts Bohol Province and Tagbilaran City will welcome thousands of athletes, coaches and staff from defending champions Cebu City, runners up Cebu Province, and those from 15 other divisions.

There will be medal hauls, rising stars, epic matches, upsets and all the drama that only sports competitions can provide. But behind the scenes, it is the sacrifice of the athletes and coaching staff that will truly define the Cviraa.

Except for a handful of delegations represented by exclusive schools that opt to stay in hotels or resorts, most of the student athletes would be billeted in public school classrooms in the host local government units in the next few days, away from their parents and their comfort zones.

In previous week-long Cviraa hostings, the student athletes slept on mats or mattresses on the classroom floor, washed their own clothes, and shared the few toilets and baths. The heat, humidity and water interruptions are things they easily get used to quick.

As an annual activity of the Department of Education, the conditions in the public schools where the delegates would stay this year would probably be no different from those of the previous years. The DepEd calls it “a learning experience,” especially for delegates from private schools.

But for all these Spartan conditions, you wouldn’t hear much complaints from the student athletes. On the contrary, they look forward to every athletic meet like the Cviraa with a common goal: to do their best and make everyone proud.

Of course, there is that motivation for the really talented ones to get noticed by scouts for scholarships, possibly in Manila. For the rest of the athletes, though, the Cviraa is a culmination of hundreds of hours of preparation, hard work, pain and suffering.

Through the joys of winning and the heartbreak of loss, these are the sacrifices our student athletes and their coaching staff must endure. Throughout the games, parents, relatives, mentors and friends applaud. The DepEd organizers and hosts pat themselves on the back for holding yet another successful event despite the tightest of budgets.

We marvel at how much can be done with so little.

Meanwhile, at a posh clubhouse in the capital, the powers that be of the world of sports are religiously engaged in what they do best: the age-old brutal game of one upmanship with its ultimate prize of staying in power at all cost.