Limpag: The courage to do nothing

(This is the column version of my speech during the SAC-SMB Sports Awards last Monday at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu)

ONE of the very first things you learn as a sportswriter, and it’s not something that you learn in journalism school or that is taught in mass communication is how to deal with parents in sports.

There are many kind of parents in sports and in Cebu, you’d meet all types. I think athletes, in their young careers, have encountered all types too.

As a sportswriter, you learn to deal with them—kung mu-sulong sila sa office, manawag nimo or manawag sa imo amo kay mao ni, mao na. It’s the wrong picture, or the picture is too small or doesn’t look good. You got the spelling wrong, the names aren’t mentioned in the article, things like that. You can’t really blame them because they are just being parents.

Sometimes, we say that Mr. or Mrs. So and So is brave, brave enough to confront people.

But over the years, one of the things that I’ve learned in my dealings with parents--and not just parents in football--but also in other sports like karting and tennis, is that while athletes have to be brave to be able to react or act accordingly when they face their biggest rivals, parents have to be brave, too.

They have to be brave too challenge the norms, and equally, sometimes, they have to be brave to just do nothing.

There’s no competition in Cebu? Let’s go to Manila and compete. There’s no competition in Manila, let’s go abroad and compete. That takes courage. There’s no organization? Let’s form one.

Or, take the case of the Kamagayan FC—whose founder Rico Ramirez is the Presidential Awardee—it takes courage to challenge what society thinks of you. It takes courage to fight discrimination and it takes courage give hope. To change lives.

Lastly, it takes courage to do nothing. To do nothing even if the calls are obviously one-sided; to do nothing when they see their sons or daughters get hurt in the field; to do nothing when their sons and daughters get frustrated by decisions that are beyond their control.

Sure, magyawyaw sa daplin but that’s it. They don’t storm the field, nor approach the referees. They don’t pick fights or blame the other parents. For me, these are the brave parents, because they let their sons and daughters feel or suffer from what is unfair because sometimes, it is the right thing to do.

I hope parents like them, multiply.
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