By: Airnel T. Abarra-Grade School Sports Officer and ADDU Track Team Coach
Since 2014, we tried to bring a better experience for the athletes of Mindanao in terms of Athletics. On our fourth season (2017-2018), we at the Ateneo de Davao Track and Field Team is grateful to the communities that joined our journey especially on our initiative which is the Blue Knights Track League whom its 4th season concluded on 27-January-2018. As always, we look back and assess on how we can make things better for the sport in Mindanao through that we love the most which is Athletics.
We started to include coaches’ education this season in the form of BKTL forums with guests such as Coach Jonathan Familar who is a former member of the National Training Pool in Athletics during the 90’s. Through his insights as a former national athlete he applied basic principles of training in line with the current conditions in Davao. We hope on our Season V, we can stage more of this kind of forums that will not only talk the technical aspects of the game but also to have an avenue to enhance our coaching values.
From initial average of 15 teams, we sustain our pace to reach more communities with an average team-turn out of 20 teams per month covering three major regions in Mindanao. Every month, we ensure that our ADDU Community knows what the team is doing. Our opening ceremonies were grace by Fr. Michael Pineda, SJ- Principal of the ADDU Junior High School and and Ms. Geraldine Nina Rocel A. Libron- Headmaster for the ADDU Grade School Unit. Through this, they can see that our athletes are not just players but in fact also community-builders.
Engagement with our parents provides the proper guidance and enthusiasm for athletes and our participants. Through their efforts, we make sure that BKTL is a league that takes care of its participants through its continuous effort to provide refreshments to our athletes. We thank our local partners Creating Keepsakes Café and Piccola Bakeshoppe. Gone were the days that Athletes are not taken care off. With the assistance of the ADDU University Clinic, we organize our meets safely and with proper medical attention in times of emergency.
Through our constant effort and engagement, this season ended with a bang with the participation of Miriam College Track and Field Team from Quezon City, Philippines. Through their presence, it provided a feeling of significance to BKTL as they managed to participate in our event even the effort they need to travel to Davao City from Manila. As we look ahead to the next season, more presence of other non-Mindanaoan athletes will give further impact to BKTL as an event of choice in Philippine Athletics. Closing the season is also the visit of Olympian and former coach of Project Gintong Alay, Mr. Tony Benson who is doing advocacy through the Run Out of Poverty program.
It is important that we don’t only highlight the positive and significant events but also look on other aspects of our event that will make us better persons and team. This year, we still try to work on limitations of manpower in running the event. I see this as another stepping stone to strengthen our presence in more communities. The constant engagement and communication with other stakeholders whatever the situation is, will give a sense of common goal for everyone.
This tasks of collaboration and engagement can be done through making sure that we are open for more partners and also look on the shortcomings that we faced this year. The importance of doing things with order and consistency will be the values we will try to carry on our next season. I remember the communities I visited in Europe since 2015 that they do things with efficiency whatever the cost. This value creates an impression of stability, integrity, and trustworthiness of our initiatives for Athletics.
Sometimes good things in life came from painful moments and we at BKTL is not immune to this. There are times we’ve been scrutinized and challenged on our intentions. Still, we didn’t flag nor fail. We stick to our good intentions and principles. When things get tough on us, I am being reminded of the athletes entrusted to me. I build better values and experiences. I am not an elite athlete maker. Yet I can always say with serene head that I tried everything to give what’s best for them. Not being as champions in sport but towards a higher race which is life itself. I am not a miracle worker and I can’t do everything on my own. I must strive to work with different people and try to let them understand what we are doing. On a personal note, I have my limitations and challenges but those kind of situations can make someone better and wiser. BKTL might not have the glam of the bigger leagues yet time will come, we will be an event of choice by the athletes, for the athletes. After all small seeds can sprout big yields. As we look forward on our Season V on July 2018, we hope to reach wider presence by possibly tapping another venue of our events that will foster better ideals and aspirations. We might a small league yet my dream to be like our friends in Ostrava Golden Spike in Czech Republic remains the same. We learn, we move, we make things better. Together.
With contributed photos by: Ed Leuenberger and Gideon Juezan.