Before the pandemic threw a monkey wrench on everything, I had a standing invite from then first term TalisayCity mayor Samsam Gullas for a talk on his planned Talisay City Sports Summit. His idea was to get everyone involved in sports in Talisay under one room to map out basically the road map for Talisay City.
Why me? A basketball guy, Samsam is not your typical basketball guy when it comes to LGU-based sports and like me, believe in the idea that you get into sports, not to produce champions, but to produce better individuals.
“The true success of the league doesn’t matter on who becomes champion, who becomes MVP, but on how many of these kids can be seen by schools, become under-trainees, varsity players, Team B players or reserves who get scholarships…that’s how I gauge the success of the league,” Samsam said after the success of a tournament he sponsored while he was a representative.
I praised what he said in a column and the next day, I got a message from then Rep. Samsam, “Maulaw man sad ta sa imo gisuwat sir.” We all know that in sports, ego is sometimes a factor. Players have certain “Praise me” moments, sometimes deservingly.
As a politician, I realized after writing and getting that message, Samsam has a “praise them” mentality. I remember recalling Samsam’s words and laughing in secret at another LGU who proudly announced a basketball tournament for 18-year-olds and 36-year-olds four months before the 2019 elections and calling it a grassroots program. That’s like serving Red Horse as Kids’ Lemonade.
In case you miss the sarcasm, any tournament involving the voting population is NOT a grassroots program. So when I got the invite to talk in Samsam’s planned Talisay Sports Summit in 2019, I remember thinking of a perfect opening statement that would have jolted the sleepy summit participants, a line that I know Samsam would agree with.
“Good morning. If you’re here thinking about medals and trophies, please leave. If you’re here, thinking silently that you can assure Mayor Samsam that Talisay will win in the next competition in your sport, please leave. That is not the direction Talisay City sports should take.”
That never happened because 2020 happened. I saw how Samsam handled the pandemic and wished that every mayor could have adopted the way he handled public information. Fast forward to 2022, I saw his post regarding Talisay City’s sports clinics and I asked if he would be amenable to receiving a proposed futsal program for Talisay.
He said yes. He liked the idea of bringing futsal to the barangays. That was in June. On July 27, when I relayed an invitation from the Central Visayas Football Association for him to watch the invitational U20 tournament on Aug. 4 to 6, so they could also present their proposed program, he had to beg off because of a scheduled personal time off. But he said we could meet on Aug. 2.
So there we were, in his office on Aug. 2. , discussing a futsal program and his first words were, “I want to see first how Talisay City kids will receive futsal.”
After two years of being locked inside their houses, Mayor Samsam just wants to see kids play. That’s why Talisay had a massive sports clinic. Before reaching his office I saw a bunch of kids doing karatedo at their lobby. When we left, I saw another bunch of kids doing taekwondo in front of City Hall. (Or was it the same bunch?).
When it comes to sports, Mayor Samsam’s No. 1 goal is to get kids into sports, not medals or trophies. So, what will happen with the futsal program for Talisay?
Well, this October, we will see how the kids of Talisay accept futsal.