2020 needed in 2020
BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - January 5, 2020 - 12:00am

2020 is such a popular number that it is often used in corporate slogans, mission/vision statements and even personal goals. We also know that these are the numbers for those with perfect eyesight (with this bleacher bum failing). This corner’s wish then for 2020 is for the Cebu sports world to have just that: a 2020 vision in looking into the future and setting goals for the long term that will benefit local as well as national and international sports. May our sports leaders have that 2020 eyesight when preparing programs for their respective events and sports over-all. May they all also have the same wavelength to work together for the good of Cebu Sports.

With no specific order of priority, we’d like to dream about the need for more sports infrastructure. Each time we get to watch basketball and volleyball games of the PBA, UAAP, NCAA, MPBL, PSL, and PVL, we can’t help but notice that these are played in venues with upgraded, new or well-maintained facilities. Maple flooring is a standard along with air-conditioned stadiums and comfortable seats. The mind-boggling fact is that some of these are located in places that rank below Cebu in terms of business, economy and sports development. Using the most often used benchmark that Cebu is the top place outside Metro Manila, shouldn’t we also have better sports facilities? Nothing against the Cebu Coliseum, but it has outlived itself and could really use a huge upgrade.

The Hoops Dome can match-up with some of the best venues but the mystery question is why the big sports events aren’t held there. The Cebu City Sports Center has been used for international football games of the Azkals and an Asia Football Confederation President’s Cup group stage, but this can’t be maintained as a stadium for football-only events. And it won’t pass standards for international games anymore unless the city is willing to do a major overhaul of the stadium. The good news is that the SM Seaside stadium in SRP is due to start construction soon and the Dynamic HERB football pitch also at the SRP is already 80% complete. But these are private initiatives.

For all sports, our wish is that all sports leaders and stakeholders get down and busy with activities at the grassroots and age-group/youth levels that will produce the country’s future world-beaters. Basketball and football are busy with several initiatives for the youth and may these increase in terms of competitiveness in order to produce the next June Mar Fajardo, Roger Pogoy or Paul Desiderio. One look at Manila’s college and high school football teams will reveal that many of them trace their roots to the youth events of Cebu Football. These events shouldn’t be limited to just tournaments and games.

Our athletes should also be exposed to sports clinics and workshops other than those of their own coaches as a means to become better. Let’s top-up quantity with quality, too. We would also like to see more youth-based events for sports like volleyball, athletics and table tennis. Special mention for individual sports that are in great positions to provide international medals: weightlifting, gymnastics, arnis, judo, karate and taekwondo. And how can we forget skateboarding and Margielyn Didal’s gold medals? No skate park, no problem! But how long should this remain as the status quo?

Another important focus should also be made in making our officiating/referees/officials and coaches better. Let’s make officiating and coaching a well-respected and professional endeavor. While the drive to improve oneself must be the output of a coach’s initiative, we must also provide institutional venues for them to sharpen the saw. These will come in the form of coaches or officials clinics, workshops, accreditation and licensing. Football has the most structured program for coaches licensing.

How many A-licensed coaches do we have? B-License? C-License? While a license is not an automatic indicator of being an effective coach, it’s a good start. Basketball has accreditation clinics and workshops, with some coaches even going to Manila for these. The same is true for events like athletics, taekwondo, table tennis and others, but the real measure to see if these clinics are effective is if the level of play or competitiveness among our athletes also gets an upgrade. Will the coaches be able to transfer/apply what they learn on to their respective teams and athletes? My personal wish is that a basic course on coaching can be established to assist those who would like to pursue coaching as a possible career.

Teamwork: We can all achieve this if teamwork can be established among all the major stakeholders in sports. We hope that the Philippine Sports Commission, LGUs, national sports associations, private sports managers, Department of Education and sports benefactors board only one boat heading towards one direction.

2020, here we come! May we all have that 2020 vision to chart our sports programs, 2020 and beyond.

bleachertalk@yahoo.com

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