Is it worth it?

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

“Sports give life.” This phrase has accompanied me since I started playing sports at five years old. I have tried many sports, from skating to basketball, track to boxing, chess… and in all of them, I have found a common factor, a true school of values for personal development.” – Casey Aubin

The Paris Olympics are a month away, and the President Marcos has promised full government support for Filipino Olympians. The vow includes renovation of Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and the facilities at PhilSports. But each time there is a major sporting event like Paris, there are also naysayers who either ignore sports or worse, are against it. They’re of old rhetoric that sport is a luxury, a frivolous waste of time and money.

We assume that sports is valuable, but what is it’s true value to society?

Psychologically speaking, participating in sport has many intrinsic values. First of all, you learn your strengths and weaknesses and how to turn weaknesses into strength. Also, you learn to accept defeat, and how to deal with, it not just in sports, but in life as well. Sport also gives us room for self improvement, and the patience to accept gradual daily improvement, which we can apply to life as well. Sport is a safe environment, where we can learn, grow, make mistakes and learn about other people. If you cheat in sports it’s an indicator that you will cheat also in life. If you take shortcuts and break the rules, even in the mirror sporting competition, you’d obviously do it elsewhere. This is where we learn the value of respect, for the game, for structure, for rules, and for one another.

But for our purposes, sports carry a heavy aspirational and inspirational weight. With the majority still mired in poverty, seeing their favorite athletes achieve greatness lifts their spirits, and gives them strength to aim for greater things. In hundreds of interviews with basketball players, for example one of the most common threads is how the young see their idols in action and dream of doing the same. That is what sustained the PBA through these decades, and what continues the supply our national teams season in and season out. Billiards multiplied hundreds of percent after Efren Reyes won the first World 9Ball Championship in Wales in 1999. Many of our greatest billiards player since then claim that as a watershed moment.

The fact of the matter is, you can’t do without Sports in becoming a strong nation. The health benefits alone give value to the struggle. The closeness developed between parents and their children is invaluable as well. Today’s weakness becomes tomorrow’s strength. There is no greater value than that in nation building, more so when it translates to making a livelihood or building a life.

I may be biased, but if you ask if the effort, expenditure and infrastructure is worth it, my answer would always be a resounding yes.  And you are worth it.

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