GAB forges ahead

GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2020 - 12:00am

The pandemic hasn’t stopped the Games and Amusements Board from performing its duties and creating new projects. Despite the challenges caused by multiple lockdowns, the agency has not only continued to function, but has had to fulfill oth­er require­ments. The three-man GAB board has been at­tending bud­get hearings with both houses of Congress, and defending its position against the creation of a sepa­rate boxing commission, as proposed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

The current Board is also continu­ing the projects it initiated under the Duterte administration. On Dec. 5, it will conduct its second Philippine Pro­fessional Sports Summit online. The brainchild of GAB chairman Baham Mitra, the initial consultative summit held in September of last year gathered roughly 800 sports stakeholders over two days. The goal was to hear the challenges confronting professional athletes and organizations. Represen­tatives of various professional sports leagues also attended. On the second day, the attendees were divided into groups according to the common sports sectors they were in.

This year, GAB is using technol­ogy to bridge various sports sectors to share new learnings. The second Philippine Professional Sports Summit will take place on Dec. 5, and will be a whole day affair. The theme “Innova­tive Leadership in Crisis” will inform all the talks. Speakers from the Philip­pines, the US and Japan will cover a broad range of best practices, new lessons, and a look ahead from differ­ent perspectives. Part of the impetus comes from the humility in accepting that one does not have all the answers.

“I don’t claim to know everything, no one can,” admits Mitra. “The best thing to do in these unusual times is to come together virtually and share what we know now.”

One of the early confirmed speakers is Grandmaster Eugene Torre, who will discuss the new professional chess as­sociation that he has organized. Other subjects include how to restart sports competitions, playing inside a bubble, transition from athlete to coach and from amateur to professional athlete, and even sports psychology. Speakers will repre­sent the entire spectrum of professional sports., including managers, coaches, tournament organizers and athletes.

This creative iteration of the summit will have advantages for spectators. Soft copies of all talks and materials will be available for the online viewers. Some talks will be pre-recorded, and will thus provide a helpful resource for interested parties.

The sudden stop to all sports activi­ties left a void not just in how to occupy one’s time, but in finding motivation and inspiration. Throughout the GAB continued its work protecting our athletes like MMA fighters and boxers, supervising conduct of games, and so on. The agency has found ways to divide its labors between those who could work remotely, the ones needed at the offices nationwide, and field agents. This is a case of running to stay ahead or move forward regardless of circumstances.

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