Through this simple breakfast meeting, further collaborations for Sport happens. UAO Director Noli Ayo, with Coach Simone Jaldon and Coach Airnel T. Abarra of Ateneo de Davao University joining hand-in-hand with coaches from Mindanao State University headed by Coach Joseph Gieward Layao. (Photo by Noli Ayo)

A day after the successful staging of Get Into Rugby by the Philippine Rugby Football Union, the ADDU-Office of the Athletics organized a simple breakfast meeting with selected coaches from Mindanao State University at Lispher Inn, Matina, Davao City on 13-June. Present in the meeting are current and former Mindanao State University Coaches Headed by Coach Joseph Gieward Layao; from Ateneo de Davao University is Coach Noli Ayo- UAO Director, with Celina Simone E. Jaldon- Coach of the ADDU Men’s College Football Team, Airnel T. Abarra- Coach of the Track and Field Team, and Ms. Jill Echon-UAO Secretary. This setting paved the way for  future collaboration among these coaches from different schools.

The breakfast meeting. The coaches had the chance to share their experiences and their Whys.

Coach Joseph shared his challenges as a coach especially with the current situation in Marawi City- the main campus of Mindanao State University. He explained the value of a university as a community especially in these trying times. Their resilience is worth emulating and is a shining light in this age. Through his and his colleagues’ involvement in Sports, they gained the respect of their community and will continue to push forward, using Sports for Peace in Mindanao.

Coach Airnel of Ateneo de Davao Track and Field Team shared his experiences seeing Athletics in different countries especially in Europe. Their success is seen on how they do things consistently and always making sure that there is equal opportunity in playing, coaching, and managing the sport. Their openness towards best and innovative practices and technologies enabled them to have a successful Athletics programs. Still it is the community and the belief in strengthening the base of sport which is the youth made this countries a powerhouse in Athletics. Without the strong system, they won’t able to reach greater heights in Athletics.

Coach Simone of Ateneo de Davao University shared that passion in sport especially in Football drives her to  face challenges working with the men’s team. It’s not common for a women to coach a men’s team but through her determination and competence, she was given the task to guide college football students. “If men can coach the women’s team, why can’t women coach the men’s team?” It’s about high time to break gender barriers and provide equal opportunities for all gender as this is the growing trend in different sport disciplines.

By-product of this kind of conversations is a future collaboration of the football clubs in the MSU system and other schools in Mindanao. A simple get-together rooted on good faith and intentions, really produces good connections.

-Airnel T. Abarra