(This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s March 13 edition)
Before taking the post as the Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) chairman under Mayor Mike Rama’s first term, sportsman Ed Hayco had called a few friends and contacts for suggestions or opinions. I was lucky enough to be one of those.
When I got the call, I was pretty blunt. I told Sir Ed not to take the job simply because I didn’t want what happened to another sportsman-businessman Jonathan Guardo to happen to the amiable sportsman.
Boy, am I so glad he disregarded that advice because Cebu sports saw an unprecedented rise in the first years with Hayco in charge of the CCSC.
And it all boils down to a simple philosophy: sports isn’t all about winning medals.
Sure, it’s nice to win, but in reality, that’s not what really matters, right? Just like in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc., where finishing a degree, not winning a trophy is the focus. The CCSC operated on that mantle.
Though some may have been turned off with being required to share their knowledge, that movement had a trickle-down effect.
We also saw the development of the Cebu Sports Institute, those attempts to set the world record in the biggest dancesport class and chess tournament. And my favorite, the archery grassroots program.
We all know archery is a very expensive sport and bows cost thousands. What the CCSC did, together with another visionary in Rosendo Sombrio, was to start a grassroots program with athletes using bows made up of PVC pipes. It was so successful and such a trailblazing program that it has been adopted nationwide.
Though criticized for being too dancesports-focused, Hayco oversaw an era that put the highlight in other sports and in character development, not winning. For that, he deserves a huge congratulations for a job well done.
It won’t be easy taking up the mantle of the CCSC after Hayco’s unprecedented decade-long stint, but I think Mayor Mike Rama picked the right person in John Pages. John also doesn’t have a win-at-all-cost mentality and knows the importance of character development.
But, right now, John and the CCSC aren’t worried about that. They’ll get to that later. Right now, they’re busy just restarting the local sports scene after almost two years of inactivity. After the Hayco era, I’m looking forward to the Pages chapter of the CCSC.