By Joel Lacsamana TBB 6
How do you solve a problem like getting the first Philippine gold medal in the Olympics?
Nothing to it. Sports leaders, experts, pundits and even old time sports scribes way back in the 1930s — the acknowledged golden age of Philippine sports — have the inside track on how other countries do it and in the process, leave the politics-wracked Philippine sports scene eating their collective dust).
It’s not rocket science: it’s called grassroots sports development. No frills. No shortcuts. Just a lot of hard, nose-to-the-grindstone work. Forget glamor: one rarely lands in the sports pages or game-of-the-week highlights, say, the way PBA players with fat paychecks do.
And it’s simple ( probably a major reason why Philippine sports leaders don’t like it ) : you come up with a program to train trainors who will then teach kids - millions of them - how to learn, play, excel, but most important of all, enjoy sports all over the country.
With a wider pool from which to choose the best of the best athletes, you have a bigger chance to win sports laurels abroad. And those who don’t become sports champions - well, believe it or not, a country gets to be infinitely better with them. They get to build a nation of take-no-names go-getters, disciplined team players, and just plain overall good guys who like to compete - fair and square. Not like highly paid prima donnas who sulk when things don’t go their way, throw games, and/or move on to another team at the drop of the hat.
The Philippine Taekwondo Association, together with several key private sector partners, are poised to embark on such a grassroots program, to make Taekwondo a very accessible sport not only forstudents in the private schools, but in over 46,000 public schools (reaching over 15 million students) as well. This is part of the PTA’s gameplan to leave no stone unturned in its quest for glory in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and Summer Olympic Games in 2016.
The grassroots program targets primary and secondary students by helping the DepEd select passionate personnel, and train them to teach special ‘Sports Taekwondo’ modules at the regional, division andschool levels. The objective is to build a nationwide cadre of dedicated, tournament-ready, management-oriented, and ethics-driven teachers who will sustain this grassroots initiative.
The PTA is currently working with the Department of Education to put the final touches to the plan to make Taekwondo an official part of the curriculum in all public schools. Taekwondo has been a major part of the annual, DepEd-managed Palarong Pambansa over the past decade. The next logical step would be to offer it through the Department’s Physical Education program. This supports the DepEd’s thrust of ‘Education for All’. With the problem of school drop out rates soaring, and high school National Achievement Tests (NAT) scores plummeting, free Taekwondo lessons at the grassroots level might just help kids stay in school - instead of the streets - and be motivated enough to hit the books a tad harder.
Hopefully, the program, when it kicks off in school-year 2009-2010, will help both the PTA and DepEd to discover, develop, and maximize potential Taekwondo talents from Aparri to Jolo. Bottomline: the next Manny Pacquiao, with the heart of a lion, will emerge from these far-flung country public schools, and crowded, urban centers, but this time, they will be practicing the ancient Korean art of Taekwondo.
And for the millions of kids with lion-sized dreams who don’t get to represent the country abroad, well, the Philippines will be the better for them.
Article from PTA Website