Limpag: National Sports Academy

Mike T. Limpag

WHILE some are quick to hail the signing of the National Sports Academy (NSA) bill, I wonder whether the parents of the prospective enrollees of such an academy will be as enthusiastic in joining the program. You see, for the academy to go full blast and to succeed in its mandate, the parents’ cooperation is vital.

Football had such an academy of sorts over two decades ago, but it never kicked off since the educational institution the Philippine Football Federation partnered with for its youth team wasn’t at par with the private schools some of the students studied in before getting called to camp. However, with the backing of the national government, I think the NSA will address that concern and will manage to hire the best teachers in the country.

That’s just one of the things the NSA has to shatter in order to succeed. Another thing is the parochial view of some coaches—and parents—that they and they alone should decide on whether their children should join this or that competition. That’s the age-old problem in the Department of Education meets, when some coaches are loath to lending their wards to other coaches for the next level.

And the NSA, in this case, is the next level.

Make no mistake, I hope the NSA will succeed as the success in the one planned at the Clark facilities used for the Southeast Asian Games may mean the establishment of two others in the Visayas and Mindanao. But to get there, the sports community in the country has to come together, from the selection of students, coaches to the programs to the international events they will be joining.

I don’t think the Academy will start with a full complement of an elementary and a high school in its first year. I think the safest bet would be to work with the K to 12 program and start a program for Grades 11 and 12, since most of these students seem to have been forced to “park” their careers before jumping to college.

But then again, there’s that counter-argument that starting elite training at that age may be too late.

Oh well, I’m sure the men and women behind the NSA have addressed such concerns and I look forward to what they have in mind in starting the academy. At least, aside from the Tokyo Olympics and its qualification phase, we have something to look forward to next year.