OpinionStraight from the Quiver: Smells like teen spirit
Straight from the Quiver: Smells like teen spirit
Tags:
September 15, 2010
Tags:
September 15, 2010

Lion dancers kicked-off the party in the quaint nation-state of Singapore. They pranced up and down the stage as part of an elaborate production number as fireworks bled momentarily in the sky above and were eventually gobbled up by the hungry night.

The revelry marked the conclusion of the first ever Youth Olympic Games, a 12-day event which aims to showcase the talents of aspiring athletes aged 14-18. As emotions shot up as the Olympic flame was doused, the nine-man delegation of the Philippines to the games was left baffled as to why they were unable to win even a single medal.

China again epitomized an excellent sports development program as they annexed 29 gold medals in the final tally, turning the Youth Olympics into their personal gold mine. Russia and South Korea also had strong showings as they bagged 16 and 10 gold medals, respectively.

How about the Philippines? Nada. Our slate in the medal tally is as clean as the streets of Singapore, once upon a time a sleepy fishing village, but has metamorphosed into one of the world’s leading financial powers. Their might has transcended the financial world and has shown even in the sports programs of their young guns as they also managed to win medals. But in the Lion City, our nation failed to get even a mouse’s share of the loot.

The best finish the Pinoys managed was fifth place in the 63 kg Division of Weightlifting, a feat achieved by Patricia Lleva. Swimmer Jessie King Lacuna flirted with the possibility of finally copping that breakthrough medal by making it to the finals of the 200-meter freestyle event, only to finish eighth after the dust had settled.

Our cagers, representatives of the well-loved sport of basketball, dropped their first three outings before managing a laudable ninth place finish after cruising to four straight victories, the last a 34-23 blasting of the Puerto Ricans.

Rounding out the string of decent finishes for Filipinos is swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi, who finished 12th in her 100-meter freestyle event. Jin Kirk Barbosa and tennis player Jeson Patrombon both failed to make it past the first round.

What does this tell us about our sports programs? Well, a lot. That our athletes even made it this far without sufficient funding and training already speaks volumes about their capabilities. Definitely there is talent here. What is missing, of course, is not only money, but a concrete sports program, one that truly molds these athletes who are brimming with vitality into becoming medalists in forthcoming international athletic events.

The Youth Olympics is supposed to be the stepping stone for our young athletes, but our brief stint in Singapore only bared that the stepping stone for our athletes is wobbly, derelict and in dire need of maintenance. If substantial attention on the development of our athletes outside of basketball continues to remain elusive, then that rickety stepping stone may one day finally bite the dust and be forever destroyed.

It is four years before the second installment of the Youth Olympic Games transpires in Nanjing, China but four years will be barren if those in charge of our youthful athletes revert to useless head-scratching and finger-pointing. There is still enough time to reconstruct and polish that stepping stone, and that time starts now.

*****

Last August 22 was a day of infamy for La Salle fans. The Green Archers were being given a spanking by the Ateneo Blue Eagles, but I was staunchly hoping that they would finally hit their stride and mount a comeback.

While on my way from the bathroom sometime during the third quarter, there rang a collective scream from the arena. It was so loud it could mean only one thing: The Boys from Taft were clawing their way back into the game. I ran back to the arena, but I saw the Eagles were still ahead by a huge margin.

Why did the fans scream as if the score was all knotted up? I asked one girl (who was clad in a Green shirt, if you must know), and the reply was, “Yung face kasi of Chris Tiu was flashed on the screen. He’s so gwapo talaga!

So much for school spirit.