Around the University TownEvery Child In Sports, A Sport For Every Child

Every Child In Sports, A Sport For Every Child

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It’s the first time in the 63-year history of Foundation University to field some 154 athletes, coaches, and officials in the forthcoming City Schools Division four-day athletic meet scheduled on Oct. 4-7.

Fifty-four elementary pupils, aged 13-under, will compete in athletics, arnis, basketball, football and volleyball. Seventy high school students, under 18-years will take part in athletics, badminton, basketball, chess, football and volleyball. That’s a total of seven different sports that FU children will be competing in, missing out only in baseball, softball, swimming, taekwondo; and boxing — which we will never allow our children to join.

Children and adolescent boxing is banned in many countries, notably England, USA, Canada and Australia. The Australian Medical Association issued a statement against boxing in 1997, and reissued in 2007: “The AMA opposes all forms of boxing…recommends to the International Olympic Committee and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association that boxing be banned from both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games…recommends the prohibition of all forms of boxing for people under the age of 18…recommends that media coverage of boxing should be subject to control codes similar to those which apply to television screening of violence.”

Similarly, last Sept 6, “Because of the risk of head and facial injuries, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics oppose boxing as a sport for children and adolescents. These organizations recommend that physicians vigorously oppose boxing in youth and encourage patients to participate in alternative sports in which intentional head blows are not central to the sport primarily because of the threat to the brain and eyes.”

The British Medical Association which “represents 84 percent of the UK’s doctors, opposes boxing primarily because of the threat to the brain and eyes…Injuries occur in most sports but are generally unintentional and unwanted. One of the central points of the argument against boxing is that the very intention of the sport is to cause a head injury. In boxing the main aim is to knock the opponent unconscious, which is achieved by injuring their brain through a blow to the head.”

With all these medical and moral viewpoints leveled against children and teen boxing, it is difficult for me to comprehend why the DepEd, with a man-of-the-cloth as its Secretary in the person of La Salle Bro. Armin Luistro, continues to allow this violent ‘sport’ which poses risks to children and adolescent participant in the annual Palarong Pambansa.

I have written letters to the DepEd and also to Tina Munson-Palma of Bantay Bata for some 10 years now, but I have been ignored.

Back to why Foundation University is able, for the first time, to field a big number of young athletes in the City Meet despite its small population of elementary and high school enrollees: To compliment its iPad program, FU has adopted a policy of “Every child in sports, a sport for every child.”

We realize that with the iPad, pupils might develop a greater interest in playing computer games instead of being physically active which could predispose them to the maladies associated with lack of exercise and adopting a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle poses the risk of obesity which is the precursor to non-communicable lifestyle diseases such a diabetes, cancer and heart diseases—the number one killer in the Philippines today.

In implementing the program of sports for every child, FU has to invest a lot of human, material and financial resources. A three-story edifice to house the IYSPeace and the “Children @ Play” center is scheduled to be completed this year. This building will serve as the symbol of FU’s institutional commitment to fulfill the provision of Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which prescribes that Member Countries insure that “every child has the right to play and recreation.”

Every staff of IYSPeace takes up a coaching job, including myself, who has come out of retirement from coaching, an assignment I was first given in 1960 as coach of the Ilocos Sur School of Arts & Trades volleyball team to the division meet of the Province.

I will be coaching the grade school basketball team, composed of 15 players who are looking forward to playing because of our team playing policy: Sa FU, wala’y benchwarmer; everybody will play.

I will be assisted by three PEHM majors as part of their training. I am now called “Coach Doc” by people on campus.

The budget for our participation is P92,088. It’s not peanuts. But it’s an investment for a better future of our children.

On another note, the “Children Futsal for Peace” that was held at the IYSPeace gym during the past weekend, staged for the first time in celebration of September as Month of Peace, came to a successful conclusion with teams from Silliman U, Anthonies, Bacong, Siaton, and the Gandhi Korean school in Valencia who call themselves Kalikasan FC.

FU’s strong futsal program was manifested in its winning 1st place in the U13 (coed), U15 (girls), and U18 (girls) categories.

Team IRBO, composed of senior Anthonies players and supported by the Peralta family is champion of the U18 (boys), with the Koreans as runner-up. A girls U18 team whose members are called “Hush Rashers” supported also by the Peralta family was runner up.

FU President Dr. Mira Sinco relates a heart-warming story: While she was buying groceries at Lee Plaza, she was approached by a young girl who took President Sinco’s hand and placed it on her (the kid’s) forehead in the tradition of mano po. Not recognizing the kid, President Sinco asked who she was. The girl’s mother, Selda K. Peralta, said her daughter was one of FU’s iPad girls who joined the U13 tryouts in Bacolod in April.

One of the virtues we constantly remind our children athletes to observe is courtesy and politeness towards elders. This desirable virtue shown by Su Adelyn K. Peralta in a public place proves the validity of FU’s program of sports for values and virtues.

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