Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Accommodating athletes

Fair Play

BACK in high school, when we played in the provincial meet, I was surprised that during the first game--after weeks of practicing with my teammates--some dude whom we had never seen sat in our bench. Our coach hushed us and said the delegation sent him to join us.

He only got to play in the last minutes of the last game and would only join us during matches. Poor dude, it wasn’t his fault as some official wanted to make sure he or she had a reason to be there by having a representative.

I was reminded of that the other day when I heard a coach of a Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association bound team complain that he had to accommodate five players in his lineup. Like in my experience, these players don’t show up for practice but will be part of the lineup basically for “brownie points.”

And, according to the coach, it’s his players who attend practice who are also complaining.

“Di man na kabalo, coach. Paspas ra mudagan.”

This practice was eliminated in Cebu City when the Department of Education finally did the right thing, letting the coach decide whether he will get reinforcements or not. Before, they went through many revisions of rules that had the coaches scratching their heads.

One time, I heard a basketball coach who won the Cviraa title refused to lead the team bound for the Palaro because his players got replaced by “mandatory pick-ups” that it was basically no longer his team.

When Francis Ramirez, a former football coach, finally became the sports coordinator, he gave the power to the coaches to decide and coaches from Cebu City no longer had to tangle with this sort of issue.

However, if Cebu City is doing the right thing, it doesn’t mean the rest of the region are, which is why you hear absurd tales of a coach having to accommodate players per an official’s request. It’s not for the good of the team or delegation but it only benefits an official or two, since they now have a reason to be at the Cviraa, earning brownie points and all because they have a representative.

Does that make sense? In a DepEd sort of way but these things only teach student-athletes that to get somewhere, you don’t have to earn your spot, you just have to know somebody.

Which is why I’ve been against this practice ever since I got this space in the newspaper. Why hire a coach if you don’t trust him when it comes to player selection? If you want representation, then do the right thing and earn your spot.


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