ON a grass field in the sprawling campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, star volleyball players and members of the Ultimate Frisbee Philippine Team took time off from their busy schedules to spread some Christmas cheer.
De La Salle’s Kim Fajardo, Carmela Tunay of University of Santo Tomas, UP’s Alex Castro and actress Nadine Samonte are among the Children’s Welfare Ambassadors who led “TAYM PERS - A Christmas Afternoon,” an event organized by the Association of Ladies for Truth and Nobility in Service (ALTANS) for the benefit of 60 kids from Grades 3 to 5 of the Sto. Cristo Elementary School in Bago Bantay, Quezon City.
Lady Spiker Fajardo and Golden Tigress Tunay even brought along some of their teammates to help them teach the game to kids ranging from nine to 11 years old.
An undergraduate in Sports Studies and on her first year taking up masters for Marketing Communication, Fajardo believes sports can make a big difference in the lives of young people.
“Makakatulong ang sports sa kanila para makatuntong sa magagandang paaralan. Magka-pareho din kami ng mga batang ito dati. Ang goal namin, makatapos po,” she told Spin.ph.
Emphasizing “Student” over “Athlete,” Fajardo added, “Huwag silang sumuko sa gusto nilang marating. Kung ano yung goal mo … gumawa ka ng paraan para makuha mo 'yung goal na iyon. Kailangan doon ka nakatingin sa derechong daan na tatahakin mo hanggang sa makuha mo iyon.”
None of the children have held a frisbee before, a situation Castro, a third-year UP Law student, and her teammates were quick to rectify as they taught the kids basic frisbee moves: throwing, how to catch the disc properly and the rules of the game.
"Ultimate Frisbee is not as famous as basketball or volleyball... But when we started playing, nakakagulat kasi grabe yung enthusiasm… It’s a growing sport and we welcome the opportunity to teach the kids,” Castro said.
“It’s important to start the athletes young — the best Ultimate players I know started when they were in grade school or high school. It’s a blessing to show the sport to them and hopefully some of them would grow to love it.”
Aside from being a fun and healthy physical activity, sports can also help develop a positive attitude, said the the former vice chairperson of the UP Student Council who also played basketball and was a competitive powerlifter in college.
“My being an athlete played a big role in my academic life… Discipline and mental toughness, all of that I got from sports. Iba talaga siya sa mindset. This legal endeavor I’m in now is one of the toughest things I’ve ever been through pero nakatulong talaga yung mental toughness I got from sports.
"Na talagang kahit anong mangyari, na sobrang hirap na at hindi na favorable yung conditions for me, push pa rin talaga. Laban lang. It’s an advantage for athletes that we were able to imbibe these kinds of qualities.”
To encourage them to take up sports, some of the kids received prizes. All went home with giveaways that included story books and refreshments.
A year ago, ALTANS gave school uniforms to children in Ilocos. Haj Javier, Lady for Social Affairs, said they decided on a sports clinic for 2016.
“This time, naisip namin na Pasko, willing naman yung mga athletes na mga kakilala namin na tumulong sa outreach. Mga kids ngayon hindi na masyadong lumalabas, puro iPad mga hawak nila so naisip naming na why not encourage sila mag-participate sa sports.”
Raine Mateo Calucag said ALTANS is a women-led organization that aims to help children’s rights to education and women’s access to health care. The group does school sponsorships and give out sanitary kits, particularly during times of disaster in different parts of the country.
“Many of the children don’t understand what’s happening here yet but the ates and kuyas who see what’s going on and see the change like the happiness - that’s what we bank on.
"For the kids it might just be an ordinary day for them but for the ates, the kuyas who on a Sunday nag-laan sila ng time that we did this, that would be our biggest takeaway,” said Calucag.
Major sponsors of the event were Waters Philippines, Bayani Brew, Shawarmama, DLSU Lady Spikers, UST Golden Tigresses, Sunken Pleasures, EMC2 Fraternity, Phi Sigma Delta Sorority, UP Red Cross Youth, CRADLE, UP Broadcasters’ Guild and in cooperation with Husay Talents.