Barangay Sports
BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - May 13, 2018 - 12:00am

Tomorrow, the whole country votes into office public officials for the government unit that is closest to all: the barangay. We all elect a barangay captain and a team of councilors. For the youth, they elect an SK Chairman and another team of councilors. This may not be as “big time” as the elections for the local mayor, governor, congressmen, senators and the presidency but barangay officials can actually make a difference. But how will they make an impact on our lives? How can they help improve the local barangay that they serve?

Pardon our bias, but it’s a good bias, I dare say. And no, I’m not running for public office. But if our barangay officials want to make an impact on all our lives, I strongly recommend that they make sports part of their program. Why sports? Let’s put everything in order. Peace and order will and should still be a top priority. Building a united community will also be up there on top of the list. But what concrete activity can the barangay officials implement and not rely too much on the resources of their superiors? Infrastructure? I have yet to see a barangay implement major infrastructure projects in a barangay except for the usual barangay hall, multi-purpose sports complex/gym and the occasional water well/source. Health? Senior citizens? Anti-drugs? The barangay is dependent on the local LGU, and if the mayor is not from the same political party as the barangay captain, consider these projects disapproved. But most importantly, sports is an excellent tool for community-nation building and molds persons to be better and well-rounded citizens.

So to all our winners: Congratulations for being elected into office. Here’s unsolicited advice if you want to make an impact on the lives of your constituents whom you serve (whether or not they voted for you). Get into sports and you’ll never go wrong. At this stage, let’s call the barangay captain the head coach and all the councilors members of the coaching staff. The SK Chairman is our designated team captain (give him that armband), while the SK councilors are members of the team as co-captains serving different areas or sitios/puroks of the barangay. You with me so far? You should then implement a sports program for your barangay with the goal of making the entire barangay health-conscious, fit and united. Position yourself as a school or sports club with a strong base of young prospects in different sports. Identify certain sports that you can get into and can manage. Automatic there should be sports like basketball, volleyball, football/futsal, running, and other specialized events like taekwondo, chess, and table tennis. Space shouldn’t be a problem. Barangay officials can identify areas within the barangay that can be used for this. The next step is to gather a team of competent coaches who can conduct sports clinics for all events. When in doubt, you can always consult the local sports commission of the city or the province. I’m pretty sure the Cebu City Sports Commission, Cebu Provincial Sports Commission and other local sports commissions would be glad to lend a hand. For those who complain that their local sports commissions aren’t doing anything, now is the time to wake them up and make them do their jobs.

With coaches on hand, the barangay can now conduct sport clinics for the selected events. The main objective would be to introduce sports to the youth, get them interested and later form teams for the barangay. Local tournaments can then be held within the barangay. You can also adopt a rotating home-and-away set-up with sitios/puroks hosting games. The main barangay gym will still be the main venue for opening day and the finals or culminating activity. It’s important to stress that the main objective for these games is to provide exposure and a venue for the kids to play. Winning shouldn’t be a priority. If it comes, then that’s a bonus. Resources? Tap the wealthy companies, factories and residents as sponsors. Give them the branding that they deserve and acknowledge them for their support. The city/town sports commission should also lend a hand through financial assistance and the provision of technical consultants.

But this isn’t only for the youth. The sports program can also serve the older members of the barangay. The best activities for them are zumba sessions and fun runs. These zumba sessions would be the only time when I won’t mind hearing music blasting through the walls of my house (vs. those disco/dance parties or concerts). You can also invite Coach A’s metafit campaign to visit your barangay to establish a fitness program for your constituents. What a sight it would be if you can get hundreds of people doing jumping jacks, burpees and lunges together as a barangay. You should also add a monthly 5K / 3K fun run for all with the route circling through the innermost roads of the barangay to create noise and buzz (and wake up those still asleep).

With all these activities, I’m confident that the people of the barangay will be more united and get closer as friends and family members; a natural consequence that we all experience in sports. Teamwork, unity and friendship will be fostered and deepened. Isn’t that an ideal barangay set-up? Looking at a bigger picture, you now have a town or city with all its barangays conducting sports programs. As a whole, the city or town is now a fit-oriented place with all places abuzz with sports activities. The LGU can cap this by staging a town/city-wide sports competition using an inter-barangay format; add a fun run and a massive zumba party for all too.

Sports: The ultimate community and nation-builder. Are you game my dear newly-elected barangay officials? Thanks in advance.

***

Today is the 13th of May and it’s not a bad or unlucky number. It’s the day when Our Lady of Fatima appeared for the fist time to the three children in Portugal in 1917. We seek the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima for a safe, peaceful and clean elections; and a sporty, fit and prayerful barangay.

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