Sons and daughters

THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco - The Philippine Star

One of the most common wishes of athletes – particularly basketball players – is for their children to follow in their footsteps. Some of them will do everything short of outright brainwashing their offspring to take up their sport. Others just leave their kids be and back them up whatever they choose. In this writer’s case, I insist on my children having a sport, which would teach them basic values and be a laboratory for them to learn about life. My sons ended up liking basketball and played competitively through high school and almost throughout college. My daughter loves to swim, and is trying her hand (and feet) in taekwondo.

In the case of two-time PBA Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso, he surrounded his children with miniature basketballs, and exposed them to sports, brought the to his games. He didn’t want to force them into basketball, but he felt no moral conflict about littering their home with influences to nudge them towards the game. It worked.

“In Tatay’s prime, he had so many fans, it was a great environment,” recalls Dave Ildefonso, who now plays for Suwon KT Sonicboom in Korea. “I learned to love the sport, too. I’m happy every time I play. It’s a fun thing. It’s just a bonus that you can also earn while playing the game that you love. Thankfully, that was also God’s plan for me. I dreamed that I could matcn or if possible, surpass what Tatay accomplished.”

For Tammy Arnaiz Tuason, daughter of ten-time PBA champion Francis Arnaiz, basketball is in their genes, even though she never really took up the sport. Their brood grew up in California long after their Dad had retired from the sport. But because of their unique last name, they could not scape being recognized as children of a Philippine basketball legend. For Filipinos who migrated to America, it is a big deal.

“A lot of people are really excited and happy when they remember those times and the players then,” she remembers. “We did have a basketball court in front of our house, always. We did play basketball. We played in the streets with other kids. My sister and I would always get chosen for teams with the boys because we were good shooters. That must be genetics, because we really don’t play. My older brother made the high school basketball team.”

I asked Andre Paras if he could have imagined a life without basketball. Even though his father, 1989 and 1999 PBA MVP Benjie Paras, never forced them into it, hoops became a way of life.

“Hmm. That’s a hard question – no., I couldn’t,” admits the actor and sports broadcaster. “If I didn’t have basketball, I don’t think I’d be the person that I am today. I’d still be similar, because Dad would still be there, but I wouldn’t learn on my own. I learned so much just from basketball, rom the ups, the downs, from getting cut from the team. From people saying those negative things to people uplifting you. If it wasn’t for the basketball world I was put in, I don’t think I’d be where I am right now.”

We’re truly grateful for the influence of sport in our lives, good and bad. The lessons we learned have given us insight into life and how the world works. In a relatively harmless scenario, we get hurt, experience triumph, learn about betrayal, endure struggle, grow, overcome pain, and define ourselves. This Christmas season, there is so much t be thankful for. We’ve been through the dark days of a pandemic, and are now back in the light. It’s a time for reflection, rediscovery and renewal. Let’s use it.

*   *   *

The Danny Ildefonso story will be featured on “Masters of the Game”, airing Sunday at 8 pm, exclusively on PTV.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with