With the sports industry still affected by the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic, DLSU’s football teams, the Green and Lady Booters, have not let the situation prevent them from fulfilling another purpose. The Green-and-White collaborated in creating a fundraising campaign called Football and Fun for a Cause.
Not shying away from the call to charity, the team shared what they could through the project and showed there is just as much joy in giving as there is playing the beautiful game.
Football and fun
If there is one thing that the DLSU community inspired the team to do, that is to express their charity, and through the combined efforts of the teams and their supporters, they did exactly that with this initiative. “As a team, we always want to reach out and give back to the community,” Green Booters midfielder Mauro Acot comments.
The current social situation brought hands together to help in this toughest of times. With the Manila Government having their own charity drive, the Green Booters were genuinely happy to be part of the cause. With the generous contributions from the Lasallian community, the team was able to donate nutritional supplements and other needs arising from an orphanage.
With the success of this two-part charity drive, La Salle’s footballers are far from stopping. Acot hints that, although nothing is yet official, a new project is in the works to support another organization who is in dire need of aid.
More than an athlete
The role of athletes as philanthropists manifests in various forms, from major projects like the LeBron James’ I Promise School in Akron, Ohio in 2018 to the smaller-scale initiatives such as the aforementioned activity of the DLSU football squads.
The different projects may have varying levels of impact, but what stays constant is their drive to go beyond what is expected of them on the field. Acot explains what motivates these types of endeavors. “Doing such (projects) leaves a special place in our hearts for growth and the betterment of the country, whether it be through football or in life overall. We are inspired to see others seek and feel hope and thrilled by those who learn and prosper,” he remarks.
Last year, the economic impact of the pandemic gave birth to a surge of charitable projects by sports personalities. Aside from Football and Fun for a Cause, other initiatives include the jersey auctions from last year wherein former DLSU players, including Ara Galang, Kim Kianna Dy, and JVee Casio, donated their game-worn UAAP jerseys from past seasons to raise funds for the equipment of frontliners and for the financial support for sports broadcasters.
But there are sometimes arguments over whether athletes should bother to be involved in socially relevant matters. In late February, football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed that people should stick to what they are good at and not venture into discourse which they do not have knowledge of such as politics. DLSU’s men’s football team captain, however emphasizes the responsible use of their platforms. He says, “I, for one, would have to consider that we athletes have a bigger voice and a great responsibility that we carry because many others who watch sports also see those athletes in it.”
He concludes by giving some advice to his fellow Lasallians hoping to perform similar acts but are still hesitant to do so. He suggests, “Know where your heart is and how you plan on leaving this world [as] a better place…The failure in giving is the lack of heart when one dismisses the idea of contributing at that given moment in time.”