A WEEK ago, I was forced to watch the remake of the 1984 blockbuster movie "Karate Kid" by my seven-year-old boy.
My son Rama knew how to play me. He said the only way for him to win another battle medal was to be inspired by one of his many onscreen idols, Jacky Chan.
I am glad I gave in. I am glad I enjoyed the same story I experienced when I was nine.
Then I grasped, my son wasn't just watching the movie, he wanted to confirm and reaffirm he was with the best teacher in Taekwondo, even citing similarities between Jackie Chan and his "Sir Arnold."
My son got his inspiration, onscreen and off. On the other hand, I woke up the following day realizing we don't have to look far in order to have a better sports program for our kids in Baguio.
Like the fabled Wild Card boxing gym of Freddie Roach, which has produced a long line of Boxing Hall of Fame fighters including the Philippines' "Pacman", the Baguio Defenders Do Jang (gym) squeezes in hundreds of jins (Taekwondo practitioners) in a very small area, barely 70-square meters of mat space.
But for Baguio's most be-medaled jins, convenience only comes secondary to the Ibaloi-accented wisdom of their own "Jacky Chan" -- their Sir Arnold.
Twenty-eight-year-ld Arnold Oglayon's name might not ring out with local fight fans. For after all, he only opened the doors of the Baguio Defenders June 28, 2009.
But longer than he has been chief of the Baguio Defenders, he has long been producing international caliber fighters who Manila coaches literally salivate over despite their tender years.
Maybe, if other coaches (in like sports or not) do not have over-the-top avarice, their wards and their wards' parents would respect them like how kids and parents in Baguio Defenders do Arnold.
Arnold shows care for the sport unlike any other. More than that, he cares for the kids whether they belong to his gym or not. In fact, he even includes non-Baguio Defenders in his list when they are supposed to receive incentives from the city.
Maybe if other coaches taught their wards they should extend the same respect to fighters from other gyms, they would emulate the positive examples of their instructors be jins or mere students in their respective schools.
Arnold's jins bow to black belts no matter what gym they're with. In fact, they even extend the same courtesy even if they're in a movie house. They're so packed with reminders on extending respect and being humble one wouldn't guess they're fearless warriors unless they're seen doing what they do best.
Maybe, if other sports organizations allowed poor but deserving athletes to excel-sans cash needed to pay their monthly dues, said sports schools would have greater promotional leverage attracting more promising athletes.
Incidentally, Arnold doubles as a tutor to his kids, too, an unpaid sideline, which any parent would really appreciate.
Maybe, if other coaches were more vocal about asking more privileged jins' moms and dads to pass on second hand gears to their less fortunate counterparts, all parents and kids in their gyms would likewise treat each other like family.
When Arnold started the Baguio Defenders, it was followed by an exodus of his wards from other gyms he used to serve as lieutenant with. Maybe, he cared more for his kids' development more than what he earned.
Maybe, if other sports organizations taught their wards they're brothers under the same sun like Arnold does, they wouldn't mind saying "hi" to supposedly students from "rival" schools.
My Rama is from UB-LES. During gym clashes, he always goes against Earvin, a pupil from Mabini Elementary. They beat each other like hell during practice. But outside the do jang, they are like brothers of different mothers.
Amid the ceaseless frenzy over having an honest-to-goodness sports program in our fief, nay our country, there's a Taekwondo do jang somewhere atop Session Rd. providing the archetype of "what should be" in whatever sport we involve our kids in.
Twelve golds in the recent Palarong Pambansa, the only sport we got our golds from; two junior Philippine Team members; countless scholars in Baguio and Manila; innumerable golds, silvers, and bronzes... Arnold's list goes on. His formula works.
So maybe, it's high time we put a hold on 'em sports summits and go back to the smaller picture.
Maybe, all coaches need to watch "The Karate Kid," to know why Jacky Chan said, "There are no bad students, only bad teachers."
So we can start caring for our athletes better...
So we can start building a better sports program from the bottom up.