Agent of change

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

SPORTS is a word that is synonymous to competition. It is a field where a gold medal or the championship trophy, is the “be all” and “end all.”
But for Cebu City Sports Commission Chairman Edward Hayco, it’s a different story and he wants to change that culture.

After taking the reins of the CCSC almost half a decade ago, Hayco, a champion of grassroots development and volunteerism in sports, feels that while it is every athlete’s obsession to win a gold medal, he wants them to balance that with social responsibility.

And if there is one milestone Hayco wants to consider in the almost five years that he has been with the commission, it is the establishment of that change.



“I just want to emphasize that the culture that we have more or less created is for the athlete to have a balance between their quest, sometimes obsession, for the gold medal and social responsibility. Through these social efforts, their medals will be more meaningful,” said Hayco.

Hayco said that he had always wanted to transform the youth through sports, one barangay kid at a time. However, sports is not readily available to all of the city’s kids. Sometimes, only the privileged few have access even to the very basic training. And it is CCSC’s goal to change that with the help of volunteer teachers who are mostly topnotch athletes in their own sports.

“There was a time when a gold medalist refused to volunteer in the summer sports classes. We took him out of the priority list and sent another player to the Philippine National Games instead. Even if you are the best athlete, you have to realize that you have a social responsibility to share this talent to others. Teaching others may not seem that big but they have to realize that they have within them the resources—an athletic gift and talent to transform lives,” said Hayco.

Hayco said that athletes must keep in mind that while they remain competitive on game day, outside, he wants these athletes to help each other out.

He mentioned Wilbert Aunzo, a multi-titled dance athlete, who is a product of their grassroots program.

“Wilbert was a scavenger who ate rice and salt for the day, an out of school youth, a gang member. Now, he is an athletic scholar and a member of the Philippine national team and a nine-time national champion. He is a world champion, and yes, a volunteer teacher. To the teacher who nurtured Wilber, his life must be fulfilled,” said Hayco.

“Before, we had athletes who are hesitant to volunteer. ‘Why would they help a competitor?’ They would ask. But we have slowly changed that. I am proud to say that last summer, we had over 500 volunteers—all athletes—who were not forced into becoming volunteer teachers,” said Hayco.

Four years ago, he transformed an abandoned gym, littered with dirt and squatters into a sports hub for the city kids, the Cebu City Sports Institute.

It may not look like the sports institutes of Australia nor China, but it is no longer the dank, stinky and dirty abandoned basketball gym. It has now become a training facility with table tennis tables, nets, balls, weights that kids of the city can use to train in their sport.

Right now, kids will no longer complain about the lack of training as the city’s own athletes will share their knowledge to them.

In less than five years, Hayco is able to affect these changes. He said he plans to use his position as the sports commission chairman to effect more change, hopefully, all over the city.

The other week, he looked at a map of Cebu City showing all of its barangays and he thought to himself, ‘Did we actually cover all 80 barangays of Cebu?’

As the head of Dancesport Team Cebu City Hayco and his wards have spread the love for dancesport all over Cebu. It took them 15 years of sweat and tears. Given more years in the commission, Hayco vows that with more hard work and dedication not just from officials but the volunteer teachers, they will be able to make all sports accessible to all kids all over Cebu City. (MCB)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 13, 2014.


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