Saturday, August 10, 2013

Coach Steven on Sportsmanship

Good Morning and greetings to Rev. Fr. Quirico Pedregosa Jr., OP, Rector UST Central Seminary, Fathers, Brothers in Christ, to the distinguished guests and fellow Thomasians. First of all, I would like to thank the Organizers and Seminarians John Gilbert Sa-onoy, Chairman Sports Committee and Seminarian Evan Joy Laingo, President Central Seminary Senate for inviting me to talk about my personal insights about sportsmanship and my experience or success as a coach.

I am Steven S. Esteban, currently the head coach of the UST Judo Men and I was also a UST varsity player during my college years. I was recruited from Baguio-Benguet  and had the chance to be a part of a great team, in which the UST Judo Men had 6 consecutive wins. I was also an MMA or a mixed Martials arts champion. I am a graduate of UST commerce and currently taking up Bachelor of Laws.

This is my first time to be invited here formally because as a UST varsity player we tend to roam around the campus, and we prefer coming here in the seminary most especially during the summer. We would get some of the fruits in your backyard and of course we always ask permission from someone in charge, if they are around but if not, we would get what we need and go back to our dorm. Way back then the less fortunate varsity players had a dormitory near the swimming pool, at the back of the grandstand and UST was literally our home, its where we sleep and where we study.

This is the Bukluran  opening and I believe sportsmanship has its every role in a sport. My perception of what sportsmanship is, is that it’s about being fair. It is how you play the game. It’s how you love the game. It’s also how you respect the game, your opponents and its officials. And, of course it’s how you accept or respond to every defeat or victory you encounter. You lose some. You win some. 

I still remember my first and only defeat in my UAAP Judo career, since we were always taught to shake the hands of our opponents after each game, I did not forget that. I shook his hand and congratulated him smiling, but later that evening I cried, looking for someone or something to blame it to, but fortunately I came to realize that it was my fault and just accepted that he was better than me on that day. Years later, I defeated him, it was no longer a competition but it was just a sparring or practice, but still I came back and played with him one last time. But I also know that some cannot accept defeat so easily because of so many circumstances to blame it to, such as an error in judgment by the referee or the unruly or foul tactic or technique of your opponent and others, but the thing is and I guess the most important thing is acceptance. When you lose, then accept such defeat and learn from whatever mistake that has caused it and be back another day. If you win, then show respect, be humble and be better because for the next season they will be back stronger.

I have been an assistant coach and head coach for 3 years now and had 2 championships as the head coach, and of course I owe that to the University and most especially the players who have risked their health and time for making it happen. I could say that our system of training is not always limited to the sport itself, but to life. We always begin each training as well as any competition we join with a prayer and I let the varsity lead our prayer and I have observed that most of the time they ask that they be spared or be secure from any injury which I thought was ok, but seems incomplete, so I told them that in every prayer they also need to thank God and that sometimes an injury can be a blessing.

I also remind them that our priority is to pursue education, then secondarily Judo. The relationship that we have is not always sensei-student or teacher-student but at times, I am their father and at times, their friend. I tend to advise them on how to deal with the daily struggles of a young adult, on what I may know best. As a coach, you would need to establish different kinds of adaptation to the sort of relationship that we have because it is necessary for an effective training, physically and in mind. As a coach, I intend not only to impart the different techniques and skills of being a competitor but to guide them on how a sport can actually help in facing reality after graduation. I am hoping that they would carry the discipline and endurance that their sport has imparted and that the teachings and the moral guidance of UST would be a part of their everyday adventures and be able to survive the sweet yet harsh reality of life. At that time, when I can see that the UST Judokas are somehow living up to such expectations then I would say that I am successful, as a coach.

Editor's Note: This was the speech given by Coach Steven S. Esteban during the Bukluran Opening last July 20, 2013. No part of the speech was altered, removed or changed except for the completion of the name of the Father Rector. For details, you may contact Sem. Sa-onoy - Sports Chairman.

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