IT IS the start of the semester break for most HEI students. For most, it is time to go home and recharge for the upcoming second semester grind. For some, it is time to hone their leadership skills and develop camaraderie and friendships through leadership camps organized by schools.
At the forefront of providing these for future leaders in Mindanao is the MPG or the Mindanao Peace Games.
This has been convened some four years back in the pursuit of an avenue where sports and leadership can flourish. From the initial organization of four schools, Xavier University-CDO, Ateneo de Zamboanga, Holy Cross of Davao College and Ateneo de Davao University, it has now grown to 13 schools from different parts of Mindanao.
Behind the MPG is a dear friend, the athletic director of AdDU, “Coach” Noli Ayo, who started the dream, which caught the others like wildfire. And just like wildfire, it easily spread to include those in its immediate vicinity.
This year’s MPG will be hosted by Father Saturnino Urios University in Butuan starting on October 26. There will be nine sports events that will be played alongside the parallel leadership events organized for the participants. (I was fortunate to be invited as a speaker in one of the Coaches Forums during the early days of the MPG.)
What makes the annual MPG stand out among the many sports events being organized is, this is the first all-female event this side of the country. Statistically, there are still more male leaders in the country and it is through the MPG that we can mold more women leaders for Mindanao and for the country.
In our patriarchal society, women are not considered as persons in authority or for leadership positions. We can slowly, but surely, influence a change in perception for Filipino women beginning today. And MPG is a platform to reach out and empower women, beginning with the student-athletes who already has the discipline and courage to take on this challenge of leadership.
As the MPG evolves, so is our desire for the role of women in society. Beyond the natural desire to nurture, women can also nurture a community, a province, even a nation. We can start by providing the correct platform for them to develop. By utilizing sports as the platform, we are not only developing the participants, but we are also taking sports beyond the playing fields, to make it more meaningful for society.