With the various sports organizations present in the University, the DLSU Flag Football Club has continuously been emerging from its roots. Considered as a less aggressive alternative to American Football, flag football only requires players to take a flag from the ball-carrier to indicate a down. Thus, tackling an opposing player is unnecessary.
A game may be played with four, five, or even with seven players depending on the type of tournament. Aside from the variations, it is also categorized into single-gender or coed. Good strategy and presence of mind are some of the valuable aspects the club instills to its members to run an ideal game.
Dating back to its first training session in September 2015, DLSU Flag Football President Josephine Rapanut (III, BS-IE) reminisces how she introduced the sport to Lasallians. The club started training during the term break after La Salle’s special academic term last 2015. “Eventually, we had Friday and Saturday [training sessions] and then now we have Wednesdays and every time we do have time like holidays, we just train,” says Rapanut.
The success of the club began from her enthusiasm towards the sport. With the help of some friends and through word of mouth, she was able to form a group with Lasallians who were interested in her cause.
Rapanut gathered her friends together and elaborates, “I told them to tell their friends to join if they want to experience a new sport and then from there… [they felt and enjoyed] the sport itself.”
Heart and hustle
Back in the club’s early days, the Tyrants, as they are also called, held trainings most of the time in the Sunken Garden in UP Diliman along with the UP Flag Football Team and its coaches. At times, they also trained in Turf BGC or in Meralco, Ortigas. “We really do train together, and every Wednesdays, parang open training siya na even those na wala sa college pwedeng magtrain with us,” she further explains.
Currently, the club has about 70 members as compared to last 2015, where they numbered more than 100. Rapanut was forced to cut down the number to a minimum due to inactive members and logistical challenges.
The club has also participated in various competitions that have allowed them to stabilize their main team. Since flag football has no main tournament in the country, the Tyrants’ biggest tournament is the Inter-collegiate with their counterparts from June to July.
Recently, DLSU Flag Football, along with three other teams from the Philippines were given the opportunity to compete in Vietnam for the Autumn Flag Tournament against the hosts, fellow Southeast Asian country Thailand, the United States of America, and China. The stability of the club has earned it’s recognition to represent the country in Vietnam from July 2 to 3 along with the Timawa, the team consisting of coaches from the Philippine league, and San Beda Mendiola’s team, the Ducks.
After conducting two months of training and self-conditioning in preparation for the tournament, the Tyrants as well as the Timawa secured the third and second place, respectively, after falling to Thailand.
Loyalty, commitment, and determination are key attributes Rapanut and team captain Robertino Borromeo look for when it comes to recruiting new members. Just like other sport clubs, they recruit with the Office of Sports Development. According to Rapanut, anyone can approach a member of the club and join at any given time.
Most of the time, they filter out those students who are willing to play from the skilled ones who are not dedicated to trainings and competitions. In their perspective, skill can be taught while commitment cannot. Since their pilot year in 2015, the club has transformed to more than just a club but into a family.
To shed light on the team’s selection process, the organization also seeks to build chemistry for tournaments through the constant gelling of its individuals. And as the club continues to evolve, so does the bond of its members with one another.
“I’d say we’ve become a family, because before it would always be training, eat out, and that’s it,” as Rapanut compares the team’s relationship in the past and now.
There came a time where the club went on a hiatus due to lack of members running their activities and training sessions. Just like any other organization, recruitment is crucial for DLSU Flag Football. The club’s core members aspire for its continuation as a number of its members have already graduated, with more set to follow.
Despite flag football being a long way from becoming a UAAP event, it still remains to be an aspiration of the club. Along with this ambitious goal lies the challenge of being able to gain more recognition for the sport throughout the country, as Borromeo mentions, “Flag football is not that well-known in the Philippines compared to the other countries. Our goal is actually develop the foundation and the family of players, not just in the whole school, but in the whole league also.”