MATI, Davao Oriental -- Defending champion Davao City Durians is right on target of defending its over-all championships in elementary and secondary divisions of the 2010 Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet that concludes here today.

And Jimmy H. Cerrojales is but one dynamic leader the Durians are proud to have.

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Sir Jimmy was born on February 7, 1949 to Federico, then a company driver, and Casamira, a housewife, in Maramag, Bukidnon. Both of his parents are deceased. Sir Jimmy, however, still has eight other siblings whom he shared most of his life's memorable experiences as an educator and as a sportsman.

The Cerrojales family moved to Davao del Sur in the early 60's. Sir Jimmy graduated with an AB Linguistics degree at the Silliman University in 1972.

He returned to Davao del Sur and got a teaching job at the Holy Cross of Sta. Maria in Davao del Sur then he was transferred to Holy Cross College of Digos where he taught English and History to High School students.

"From Digos, Nanay Soling (Soledad) Duterte invited me to serve at the Davao Boys Town. Since she and Brother Raymond, who was then president of Holy Cross Digos, were good friends, it was easy for me to accept her offer. I became a cottage father of abandoned and abused children at Boys Town for five years," he reminisced.

From a cottage father, he taught at Maa National High School for three years where he met his better half Leodegracia Banadas, who hails from Toril. They wed in 1984 and was blessed with one daughter Licelle Joyce.

He was promoted as officer-in-charge of the Lower Tamugan National High School where he also coached the softball girls team that eventually bagged the silver medal in the 1998 Palarong Pambana in Cagayan de Oro.

He transferred to Tagakpan National High School as OIC and at the same time designated as sports coordinator of the Department of Education (Deped) division. He served as sports coordinator for four years.

It was on December 22, 1998 that he received his appointment as Physical Education Sports Supervisor (Pess) 1. He, however, was not new to the task being an athlete himself. He used to be a softball and volleyball player during High School.

He shared, "I also played 110-meter hurdles. But it is softball that I learned to love the most since it got me into a scholarship at Siliman although I was also an academic scholar."

He said he is grateful to be in sports, adding: "It feels great to be able to impart my knowledge and experience to the athletes and coaches."

True enough, his labor of love brought Davao City to the over-all championships in the Southern Mindanao Region Athletic Association (SMRAA) Meet in Marbel way back in 1989 to a series of championships in Davraa meets.

He said it takes a year-round program and standard sports facilities to really to make Davao City athletes become at par with the best of the National Capital Region (NCR) and other powerhouse regions in the Palarong Pambansa.

"It's really a frustration on my part that sports had been put on the sidelines and focus is more on academics. It is just great that chess is now part of the curriculum as it will inspire more players to take active participation in the sport. It is really frustrating that many strong athletes are not being released by their schools whose heads are not really supportive of sports. Some of them threaten the kids of flunking their subjects should they compete as they will miss their classes," he said.

On Davao Region's chances in the Palarong Pambansa set on April 11 to 18 in Tarlac, Sir Jimmy said the pressure lies on the Davao City athletes.

He continued, "Seventy-five percent of Palaro-bound athletes come from Davao City. With the help of the tournament managers and coaches, we will come up with a line-up that could very well represent the region."

He said it is very challenging to be a head of delegation or even as athletic manager for Davao City in most of the Davraa meets. But he said with diligence, patience and humilty as keys to become a successful sports leader.

"I am so grateful to have a very supportive superintendent and staff. They always encourage me. Their confidence helps me to become a better leader each time. I am also grateful that the city government is also supportive of our athletes. We are the only division in the region that awards incentives to medalists," he ended.

As the Palaro nears, Sir Jimmy will have his hands full with responsibilities yet he takes everything in stride. Making sure that he can still share a laugh with his colleagues and staff and cheer his beloved athletes. One thing for sure, he stands by his athletes win or lose.