THERE should be a new rule in Philippine sports; anyone who hits 70 should be ineligible to hold office in any of the national sports associations. I have nothing against senior citizens, but don’t you think it’s time for some fresh blood or relatively young ones to run the NSAs?

Take the case of Buddy Andrada, the president of the Philippine Tennis Association, who was elected or just kept his post. Andrada has been president since the mid 80s, at the time when I entertained thoughts of being a Boris Becker or a Michael Chang. He’s still the president now at a time when young tennis players know of the legends as the coaches of present tennis greats.

What has he done for Philippine tennis? Heck, what hasn’t he done?

Let’s start with grassroots and use as a concrete example, my experience. Tennis was one of the in sports in our sleepy municipality, thanks to individuals who spread the love of the game. Weekend was a busy time in local courts, with folks in the sideline waiting for their turn to challenge whoever wins in the ongoing match. Players graduate from being ball boys to players and some move on to play in college teams or win medals in the Palaro. And for a third-class municipality, that’s something. Heck, there was an almost eight-year stretch when the captain in the USC men’s team was always a kababayan.

And in the rare times that there was a tournament in our hometown, it was either a Department of Education meet or a privately-organized one. The only time you’d hear the word “Philta” in a tennis game back home, was if someone steps on a dog poo and screames, “Pilita’s tae oi.”

Grassroots? Clinics? Seminars?

We’ve had more “aswang” sightings or UFO landings than Philta seminars. Up to this day, guys like me can still recall the circumstances of when the whole subdivision woke up to strange markings in the plaza and tales of an alien abudcting a neighbor’s collection of fighting cocks abound but we can’t recall of any Philta-organized seminar, clinic or tournament.

A few years ago, I was elated to learn that there were a few age-group players who were joining tournaments even here in Cebu. I got to talk to the parents and they all said they were thankful for the privately-organized tournaments they could join. It helps in their kids’ development, you see, and gives them that edge when they try out for college teams in Mindanao.

Philta was never mentioned in our conversation and thankfully, there was no dog poo near the venue.

Change is long overdue in Philta, we needed it long before the DDS was formed. But Andrada’s continued stay means that perhaps, it’s for some “extra-judicial solution?”

Form a break-away group, one that involves stakeholders from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, not an old man’s club from Manila.