WELL, it’s that time of the year again to talk about Christmas.
The Christmas season is now with us, even with the coronavirus pandemic.
The streets are now filled with giant Christmas trees and many other brightly-colored decorations. Radio stations are now playing popular yuletide songs and television stations are now counting the days before Christmas.
And this is also the most wonderful time of the year to make wishes come true.
Before Christmas comes, what would I most want to give the Filipino athletes in this season to be merry.
Of course, our athletes do need a sound mind and sound body. But they also need proper motivation, good training and right international exposure.
If I were Santa, I’d give our athletes more leaders who would really set aside their personal interests and put the athletes welfare first.
I’d give them vibrant, young leaders with fresh ideas on minds, and not officials with Jurassic-like mentality that only prevent athletes from reaching their full potential.
I’d give them result-oriented officials who will put his money where his mouth is, and not officials who will put money on his pocket
I’ d give them courage to stand up for their rights, and not allow themselves to be pushed around. I’d want them, for example, to be able to say no and tell their officials when enough is enough.
And of course, I’d give them wisdom to know the difference between a good and bad leader.
If I were Santa, I’d also give:
— Boxing legend Sen. Manny Pacquaio — A blockbuster rematch against long-time American rival Floyd Mayweather, Jr. before his retirement. Age may have caught up with both fighters, but it’s still the fight that the boxing world wants to see. A long-overdue Pacquiao-Mayweather II in 2021 will surely be a joy to watch. It will also keep the boxing world alive following the coronavirus-interrupted sporting year.
— Chess superstar Wesley So — Winning the world championship is always on top of the list. Although he now plays for the United States, the Bacoor, Cavite-born So remains a Filipino by heart. The chess world will always look up to him as a Filipino much like when he climbed the podium to receive the gold medal in the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia in 2013. A Filipino world chess champion? It will be fun.
— Pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno — The Philippines’ brightest sporting stars even before pandemic struck are also the country’s biggest hopes to finally win the elusive Olympic gold medal in Tokyo. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz almost did it with a silver medal in Rio de Jaineiro in 2016. All of them now deserve the prayer of a nation forever in search for a hero.
–Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez — A gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics and a successful sequel to the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and lots and lots of money to help them achiieve these goals.
— Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra — Since his appointment by President Duterte in 2016, GAB has achieved a lot, including being awarded with the “Commission of the Year” award from the prestigious World Boxing Council (WBC), hosting World Women’s Boxing Convention and two Professional Sports Summits and a high rating among government agencies from the Commission of Audit (COA).
Another recognition for all his hard work despite limited budget should be coming
Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Willie Marcial — In its coronavirus-interrupted 45th season, the PBA under the stewardship of Marcial did very well in resuming the games while strictly following the health and safety protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). A bounce-back year in 2021 is in the wish list so they can continue to provide good basketball to keep the basketball world smiling.
The ever-supportive and loyal Filipino sports fans – More cheers, less jeers in the coming sporting year.
Advance Merry Christmas to one and all.
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