The other day I was watching the news on TV. One of the stories was that there was a lady who is entering the weightlifting competition in the coming Olympics in Beijing. She will be the first Filipina to compete in weightlifting in an Olympic Games. At the end of the story they said that her entrance into the games brought the Philippine team up to 15 members. This kind of surprised me to be honest, because I thought that the Philippine team would be quite a bit larger than that.
The Philippines, after all, is a country of 90 million people. There can be no doubt that there is a warm climate here, and basically that applies 12 months of the year. If we were talking about the Winter Olympics, I could understand that the Philippine team would be very small. After all, this is not the climate for winter sports. But for summer sports, the Philippines should really excel.
I have noted since living here, there seems to be a real lack of competitiveness in the Philippine culture. Competitive organized sports are few. Basically, basketball is about all that you see. There are other sports too, things like martial arts, swimming, soccer and such, but the number of people competing in the sports is very limited. Where I come from, even when you’re only four or five years old you’re already participating in sports leagues. Things like Little League baseball, Pop Warner football and other such events. I find that here in the Philippines, those kind of things are very limited, if not impossible to find.
One of the reasons, of course, is a lack of funding. Such sports can be expensive, and funds for that kind of thing are simply not available here. This would especially apply towards any kind of school events. However, it would seem that there are enough people with money here, that there could be like a kid’s soccer league or something like that. Each parent would supply the money for his own kid’s participation, and that wouldn’t be very expensive, in my opinion. Of course this would be limited to people that have money, or poorer people that were sponsored into such events.
I wonder though, if it’s not more of a cultural thing than a financial thing. Culturally, competition might cause the other person to lose face, embarrass them or something like that. In this culture, making somebody embarrassed like that is to be avoided or not done at all. Maybe it’s not cultural, but it’s something that comes to mind.
I find it strange though, that such sporting events don’t exist, but when it comes to basketball people go crazy. Why is that? I mean, there are multiple basketball leagues, college competition etc., but few other sports being competed. Another one that does come to mind is billiards. Billiards is widely played.
So, what do you think? Does it seem like there’s a lack of competitive sports in the Philippines compared other countries? To me that is clearly the case. Am I missing something?