No more talk on the bleachers

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Like everyone and anyone who had known Rico Navarro, I was shocked of his sudden demise. Knowing the circumstances of his passing was even sadder. Compared to others and considering my kind of aloof demeanor, I was not that close to him but each time we meet was a pleasant encounter because Rico was such a soft-spoken and mild-mannered person.

We would regularly bump into each at the old Sacred Heart School campus and when the school transferred to Canduman, he invited me to join either the football or basketball league for dads.  In my early days as a sportswriter, Rico gave me tips and pointers on how to capture the attention of readers.  I haven’t gotten to his level of writing yet, and I hope I’ll get to that.

Both residents of Liloan, we would come across each other during summer league games.  When his son Popoy played for the town’s basketball team together with Paul Desiderio for the Congressional Cup, we would join the team on home and away games and from the sidelines, he would analyze the flow of games.  His inputs would then be relayed to the coaching staff.

It has been a while since we had a long one-on-one talk at that airy coffee shop in front of their residence.  Our conversation over coffee was mainly about sports sprinkled with talks about our children and some politics.  I was then connected with the municipal government and we discussed about grassroots sports development which I was very open to the idea.  But considering government bureaucracy, plans remained plans forever.  There will never be talks over cups of coffee with Rico again.

There was one event at Radisson Hotel where I was tentative of going because at that time my daughter was using our vehicle for some school related activity.  Rico called me later that afternoon and asked me if I will be attending and I told him I’m not so sure as I don’t know what time she will be back.  He offered me a ride, so I went to his house and we proceeded together to the event.

During this pandemic, he often invited to join several of his online conferences/chats but due to the time difference, I never had the chance to link up.  Now that he’s gone, there is a kind of regret that I haven’t connected.

The Cebu sporting community had lost an icon as Rico had done so much with very positive results.  Cebu and probably the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao will surely feel the void and I don’t know who can aptly fill his shoes.  The tributes on local dailies and social media is a testament to Rico’s enduring legacy.

Rico will be laid to rest.  We will be burying his eyes but not his vision, we bury his mouth but not his eloquence.  We will bury his hands but not his outstanding works, we will bury his feet but not the path he had laid for the local sporting community.  We will bury Rico, but his memory will live with us forever.

It will now be quite on the bleachers as there won’t be any more weekly talks.  To Ising, Popoy and Thirdy, may the good Lord console you in your hours of trials and loss and may He open your hearts to hope in Rico’s entry to paradise.

May God grant you eternal rest my friend.  Until we meet again.



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