A Call to RESPONSE: Sports in Time of Pandemic

Teacher’s Viewpoint by Mrs. Maria Teresita G. Aguilar, MT I – Highway Hills Integrated School

“SPORT has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” This quote from Nelson Mandela highlights how sports have always been a global unifier. 

However, at trying times, case in point, during a global pandemic, when people are forced to be confined inside their homes, athletes, on the other hand, had limited movements to practice and train while stuck at home. Even so, amid the stay-at-home mandates from the government, athletes and their coaches have proven sports’ cohesive power to unite individuals who share the same goal and dream the same dream, even when it almost seemed impossible to resume.

With millions across the world restricted by critically important social distancing measures to curb the spread of the disease, images of the yearly sports events at schools have been replaced with empty and deserted gymnasiums. 

As the World Health Organization (WHO)  recommends that all children and adolescents aged should do moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least an average of 60 minutes per day as well as strengthen their bones for at least 3 days per week and campaign for reducing the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and improves overall feelings, different P.E teachers and teacher-coaches of Schools Division Office (SDO) – Mandaluyong City initiated Project Reintroducing and Enhancing Sports Program through Online Network of Sports Engagement (Project RESPONSE).

Project RESPONSE is a community-based intervention of online sports coaching and training sessions for 12 days which aims to establish a mass-based sports program within Mandaluyong City via Google Meet for all interested and capable public-school learners of SDO – Mandaluyong. 

This was after the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Games and Amusements Board (GAB), and Department of Health (DoH) released Joint Administrative Order, No. 2020-0001 titled Guidelines on the Conduct of Health-Enhancing Physical Activities and Sports during the COVID-19 Pandemic which aims to raise awareness of the participation of youth on the role of sports as a vehicle for personal and community development amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

David Euclid Isaac Yu, Head Teacher III and project proponent, said that Project RESPONSE will help both athletes and instructors to adapt and overcome challenges amidst the global pandemic. “By committing themselves to their goals that raise awareness, appreciation, and active participation in sports, they respond together to promote sports that focus on fun, health, and mental well-being,” Yu added.

“Learning Sports Never Stops! Especially in this time of the COVID-19 global health crisis. We must invest in the health of our children. We, adults, are responsible for protecting them from the threat of the COVID-19 viruses, through project RESPONSE we are making the next-generation active, strong, and healthy individuals!” the head teacher reiterated.

With various activities open for all ages such as arnis, athletics, badminton, basketball, chess, dancesport, futsal, and volleyball, Project RESPONSE uses the opportunity to consider the role of sports and physical activity in the middle of a global crisis. It highlights that being physically active helps keep students fit and healthy, boosts their mood, and helps their cognitive function. 

Parents, who encouraged their children to join the said project said that this exercise is timely as it promotes their children’s interest in sports whereby their growth physically and mentally is being enhanced even during distance learning.

“I hope you continue this project for the next vacation of the learners because the purpose of this is highly appreciated and recommended [at] this time. The learners can still learn without face to face and boast their love in sports,” a parent said in feedback.

Moreover, the said project and coaches do not only aim to respond to teaching the technical skills of the sports but are also inspired to do better to promote the overall well-being of the learners, and more importantly, through sports, they strive to make and change the lives of the whole community. 

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