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By Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

Congratulations both to Ateneo and de la Salle basketball teams. They both showed outstanding basketball. To the Ateneo team the victory is well deserved. The discipline and luck played out for the victory. I was afraid that the set plays would run out of time as in the second game. This rivalry is all over the world, in cities that have a Jesuit school and a La Salle school as St. Mary’s and St. Ignatius (and USF) in San Francisco, California; as La Salle and Fordham in New York City. This rivalry has existed since long ago when I was still a small boy. It is good rivalry and good for the formation of gentlemen.

In the preparation for life, sports is said to be a good training ground. The reason for this is that it trains a player to lose graciously. And when he wins it also teaches how to be magnanimous. In sports you lose some, you win some. So in life you cannot win everything. When you lose in sports you know there is another day. In sports too you learn how to use your best effort over a sustained period of time. You train your skills and learn in set plays that have to be practiced over and over again if it is to be carried out successfully. In spite of all the effort the potential of loss is always present. But when victory comes it is important to be humble and considerate. Sports is a good preparation for life.

Sports also teaches that there are few short cuts worth seeking. It is important to practice, practice, practice, and to coordinate with others. It teaches that you need the help of others and to elicit their good will. Alone is not possible to win in sports or to live successfully in life. You also need strength and therefore the need for proper nutrition and rest. Strength needs to be built up little by little. It cannot be achieved in a hurry.

When I was a young student I learned the La Salle cheers under supervision of La Salle cheer leaders. La Salle boys learned the cheers of the Ateneo from Ateneo cheer leaders. This was and is the rivalry between Jesuit and La Salle schools. May it make them better because of the rivalry. And it should go beyond schooling into life. For the La Salle team: You lost this year; you won last year; next year who, knows who will win. The important thing is to try our best.

The largest spectator sports in the Philippines is not basketball, although 22,000 watched the Ateneo-LaSalle game and thousands more watch PBA and NBA. It is cockfighting. And not all sports is for everybody. When young you try everything from boxing to fencing to softball and back to basketball and track and field. For senior citizens these are no longer possible. They are limited to walking or bacchii or a little golf. There are sports that need heavy bones such as rugby or American football. But the most popular game in the world is soccer or football. Here audience participation is good and the audience knows how difficult and exacting it is to make the moves that can make a striker shoot the ball past a goal keeper. This is not popular in the Philippines for many reasons. First we have too much rain so that we prefer a game that is played indoors. Secondly it requires a lot of stamina. Of course basketball also does but soccer requires even more and good coordination with the other players. Again basketball also does but I think soccer demands even more. There are other sports that need to be mentioned like judo, jujitsu, sipa, wrestling, and swimming. In the end sports is good for everybody. Some at the proper time in life.


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