(We are printing this article written by my classmate, Victor Africa, a sports advocate & Reformer Attorney & Counsellor-at-Law .)
“THE unexamined life is not worth living” (Socrates). Was Socrates advising us to do an occasional self-reflection, probably to improve ourselves and also to deepen our involvement with whatever we have dedicated our lives to? If so, what better time for self-reflection, than now .. now that we are confronted with situations that question what are our real values in sport. Maybe we can make use of the present free time, to review our basics of sports .. and to re-state them to the other members of the sports community.
To us, persons/organizations in sports, basic is the individual’s Philosophy on Sports. Everyone has one, although there may not have been a need to verbalize it. Indeed, everyone must have one; for without it, how does s/he/it choose the course s/he/it will take? I put to you that Philosophy is a way of life. From it naturally come our tenets on values/culture/ethics. Our Philosophy on Sports is a reflection of how we live sports. But to us, as the sports community, basic is: The National Philosophy on Sports (the “NPS”). It is what we – each one – tack our personal sports philosophy to; it is what we bear in mind when we – together – exert a national effort in and for sports; it is what binds us – a united Philippine team – when we talk about national sports development. The NPS will answer the question “Why?”: Why the country is into Sports, why the country allocates its resources – people, funds, and facilities – to Sports, and why the country invites the sports community to join in and support the national sports development. The NPS will identify the reason for the nation’s attention to sports and its involvement in sports activities and programs.
Similar to what one’s personal Philosophy on Sports does for an individual, the NPS will be the lighthouse, the beacon, the blueprint, the compass that will guide the Government in its sports activities and programs .. that the sports community will cooperate with, participate in, and support. It will clarify the roles of the sports participants: the athletes, the coaches, the administrators, the media, and the fans, as well as the relationships between/among them. Sports is truly, a national movement .. and it is founded on the NPS. I invite you to join in the process of verbalizing that NPS. “How does the country search for its NPS?” The same way that each one of us searches for our personal Sports Philosophy: The question “Why?” is propounded. The sports leaders are asked: “Why Sports?” Then to their answers, you ask: “Why (is that so)?” And to their last answer, you ask again:“Why (is that so)?” A reference to existing laws may make it easier to find the answer to the first “Why?” The Philippine Constitution for example, declares – in Art. XIV, Sec. 19 (1) – what is the expected contribution of sports to the nation, viz., The State shall promote physical education and encourage sports programs, league competitions, and amateur sports, including training for international competitions, to foster self-discipline, teamwork, and excellence for the development of a healthy and alert citizenry. (bolds mine) The Law creating the Philippine Sports Commission (The “PSC Law”; RA 6847) even emphasized that Constitutional expectation, by declaring it as the “policy of the State”. Almost all – if not all – the Legislative Bills on sports, filed by the Senators and Congressmen, refer in their “Explanatory Note” to the above-quoted Constitutional provision. And in some sports laws – if not in all – it is a “Declaration of Policy” (as in the “PSC Law”, supra) or is included in the “Declaration of Principles” (as in the “National Academy of Sports” law; RA 11470). It is also written, in so many words, in the PSC’s “FIVE-YEAR SPORTS DEVELOPMENT PLAN (Second Cycle) 2017-2022 PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS”.
Thus, I submit that for “Why Sports?”, the answer is: Because Sports is a requisite part of the holistic development of man. That is, at the least, hinted by the above citations. I venture no answer though, to the second and third “Why?”. The sports leaders – after more self-reflection and discussion/consultation – will best answer them. But in the end, everything leads to the NPS, to be verbalized to and by the sports community, and to all and sundry. As an aside: May I also submit that we need the NPS as the step towards the creation of a Culture of Sports Excellence. The NPS will define for us, what “sports excellence” is. It will in fact, define us. Now is the time for the sports community to move forward as one, to “march to the beat of just one drummer”. And that one drummer is the National Philosophy on Sports.( Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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