JUST before the Philippines was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), multi-titled volleyball coach Roger Banzuela and his team were helping in the preparation of the 2020 National Prisaa in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
When the Covid-19 pandemic invaded the country, Banzuela felt the impact of the pandemic on the sports he has loved and embraced for the last five decades.
“In my 52 years of playing, coaching, officiating, and organizing volleyball events, the Covid-19 pandemic is a lesson to be learned and a story to tell,” said Banzuela, Unigames president and Prisaa executive director for Visayas.
“It gives us time to think, evaluate, and re-plan our program on a holistic approach. It’s a good break but, the three to four months without face to face activities is too long and not advisable in team sports like volleyball,” he said.
Banzuela further said that in order to make athletes in tip-top condition during this pandemic, the players were given a home workout (on video) but, still, it’s not a guarantee that they are really doing it as instructed especially on the duration and intensity of the workout.
He also lamented that there might be no sports competition in our country until such time that a vaccine is available to counter the virus.
“And, this will be very bad for volleyball and other sports since sports is a way of life. If there no sports competition, this means the school will [might] dissolve the teams thus, no more athletic scholarship,allowances, and other incentives,” Banzuela explained.
Further, Banzuela stressed that the absence of such activities will cause unemployment to coaches, trainers, physical therapists, team utility personnel as well as referees, which will directly affect their families.
“In our school, they already terminated the contract of some of our coaches and if the Covid-19 will not be solved, other existing teams will be dissolved together with us, coaches. Most volleyball coaches in a school are contractual [10 months basis from June-March] and so they are now unemployed. And, because of financial difficulties experienced by our school due to unfinished 2nd semester, non-payment of tuition fees and, no summer class, our school only paid 50 percent of our salary [in April and May],” he said.
Amid this pandemic, Banzuela told his fellow volleyball coaches and athletes that Covid-19 is biblical and while in lockdown, take time to listen to God’s voice and reflect.
“Let’s obey His words and His teachings. Call on God’s name and be calm. Know what is the purpose of all of this. Dwell in His presence. Don’t panic. Offer a prayer for everyone’s safety especially the
frontliners. Wait and be patient,” he said.
“This too will pass. Nurture our personal relationship with our loved ones and to God,” he added.