For most Lasallians, playing on the biggest stages and being adored by thousands of fans is but a dream. Whether being on a basketball court receiving a pass from Jeron Teng in the dying seconds of a do-or-die game against Ateneo, or being a part of the towering defense behind the net with Mika Reyes, or even taking a penalty shot for the DLSU Men’s Football team, moments like these remain to be a fantasy for the regular student.
But that doesn’t mean that you need to give up on your sport completely. Dim the lights a little lower, invite your equally ambitious sports enthusiasts to form a team, and join a student-run sports tournament.
Aside from academic conferences, seminars, and other social events, various professional student organizations in the University now host sports tournaments catered to their members and even non-members. The LaSallian sat down with BMS Business Management Society (BMS) Prime co-project head Derrick Sugiyama (II, MGT), Economics Organization (EconOrg) Ecolympics commissiner Kyle Luna (III, AEF-BSA), and La Salle Athletic League (LSAL) vice commissioner Jeno Panganiban (IV, CS-ST) as they talked about their respective student-run tournaments.
Burning passion for the game
When asked what made them decide to organize a tournament, Luna and Panganiban shared similar experiences of their passion for sports as their main motivation to serve their fellow Lasallian sports enthusiasts. “I guess as [a] sports guy, it is for the love of the game. It takes my mind off things, kasi it is different when you are having sports. Well, hindi naman ako pro-baller pero iba pa rin pag-involved ka sa sport,” explainsed Panganiban, who started out as a member of the creatives and publicity team for LSAL
two years ago.
Meanwhile, Luna has been an active participant in Ecolympics since his first year in La Salle and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the organizing team this year.
They also mentioned that the universal appeal of sports as a human activity is what makes their fellow students join their tournaments, as they would make time to play sports during the weekends to take a break from academics. As Luna comments, “Well, there are some students that [are] in it for the competition, for the awards, for the recognition but I honestly believe that our athletes take part [in] these because of their love and passion for the sport. For all of them to go to these games every Friday or Saturday, [it] just shows that they truly share the love for the sport.”
BMS Prime was initially conceived to cater to the requests of the organization’s members three years ago. On the other hand, Luna admitted that he is unsure of how Ecolympics began due to the lack of documentation in the previous years before he was commissioner but he is certain that it started years before he first participated as a freshman in 2013. The same could be said for LSAL, as Panganiban points out that the league is popular among Lasallian alumni who continue to be in the tournament even after graduating from the University.
Inclusion of more sports
Although basketball still remains to be the preferred sport among the students, recent inclusions have been made by all tournaments. As of last year, Prime had 10 teams with basketball and volleyball. However, Sugiyama noted that as the organizing team inquired amongst its participants and members, they added football as another sport for this year’s competitions. “We make sure that as students, Prime is price-friendly and of quality. We look for better venues, provide better jerseys, and look for constant improvements every year,” adds Sugiyama.
Currently, Ecolympics is well into its term-long season with teams competing in basketball, volleyball, and soon football and ultimate frisbee in the coming term. Meanwhile, LSAL is the largest among the three by far, as this season has seen a staggering total of 76 teams in basketball, eight to 10 for football, and they aim to have at least 16 teams competing in volleyball.
On to bigger and better things
Relevance to the student body is what keeps a student-run competition alive throughout the years. Ecolympics stands proud as it gives a chance for a regular student to be a star in the court without being daunted by an experienced player. As Luna adds, “For me, what really makes Ecolympics different from other leagues is that we don’t allow varsity players to participate. So in this way, it allows your average student who loves playing basketball to participate without being intimidated by those exceptional players.”
On the other hand, LSAL highlights itself as a competition grounded in its values. As Panganiban comments, “With La Salle Sports Commission, we promote diversity for we accept players from different ID numbers and we also accept alumni. So, nagugustuhan nila yung diversity plus the camaraderie among players.”
For the three tournaments, all three organizers would look to diversity, innovation, and novelty as the key ingredients to keep the games exciting and worth the wait for the student. They each envision that their tournaments will continue to grow and include more games in their respective tournaments. Luna explains “My dream for Ecolympics is to be bigger, better and more competitive. Also, I hope that future editions could feature more sports like swimming, badminton, tennis and many more and hopefully more athletes.”
Panganiban also adds that teaming up with other organizations will help them more in establishing the tournament, “In the years to come, sabihin na natin na more players, more teams, and more sports. Similarly, a more established organization, gusto sana naming mag-partner up with the other organizations.”