Sep 26, 2020

Sports Intel — Tokyo Olympics 2020 + 1

The move to shelf, postpone or cancel sporting events that drive people to the stadiums in thousands, is a painful financial pill to swallow but very essential to save lives.

It is kind of expected with soaring cases of the covid19 pandemic worldwide and I believe it is the right choice that Tokyo decided to postpone the 2020 Olympics to next year. Details are sketchy as of this writing but it seems like July 2021 is the new date for the quadrennial meet. The athletes whose conditioning is timed well to peak for this year’s competitions would have to slow down a little and repeat the cycle of conditioning once the world sees some slow down of the pandemic.

Like most of professional and amateur sports tourneys, the Olympics wasn’t spared by the corona scare. Not even the best-conditioned athletes can not lay claim to being invulnerable. The move to shelf, postpone or cancel sporting events that drive people to the stadiums in thousands, is a painful financial pill to swallow but very essential to save lives.

Although watching games live on stadiums or arenas is a treat, I believe the impact of this pandemic will force sports leagues around the world to rethink their business model to include proper spacing of people in the stands and start capitalizing on live stream video. They may add a higher mark up for this avenue to negate revenue loss by fewer ticket sales. Now packed stadiums could possibly be a thing of the past with people more conscious about the health hazards of being elbow to elbow with other people. Even none sports organizations, private offices, are expected to adjust. That’s how big the impact of covid19 is, at least until a vaccine is discovered.

Come to think of it, the 2021 version of the Olympics can somewhat curb travel of participants. Eg: chess. Chess can theoretically be done remotely. Technology can make it happen. Wushu, a none contact sport, can be done live from the athletes’ home town via live streaming. Diving, floor exercises (gymnastics), weight lifting, and so on. I think it can possibly happen in the near future.

Team sports can be played in stadiums on 50% capacity and again money-making avenue would be live streaming. Japan has the technology to make it work and they have a full year to prepare and secure the participants and the fans. I believe the Tokyo Olympics 2021 will be the new norm for future international events.

Tribute to Coach Aric

Philippine basketball has lost a well-loved basketball pillar and Olympian in coach Aric Del Rosario. From player to coach, his track record could well be among the top of the helm worthy of the hall of fame call up.

The author of the first-ever 4-peat UAAP Men’s basketball champions, the UST Growling Tigers in the mid-90s, coach Aric passed away March 25 leaving a legacy worthy of a lifetime achievement award.

He happens to have a home in Barangay Pagasa, Quezon City, the same place where my family lives, so I often see him at SM North EDSA. He doesn’t look like the popular jock but basketball fans, the purest of them, would often say hi to the legendary coach.

He is very fun to watch as he strolls the bench observing the action on the court, sometimes throwing tantrums here and there for blunders made by his players. He can be very strict on the court but very father like off it. I recall a story back in his UST days that he even coughs up money to feed his players after games. That’s one of the reasons why he was able to produce multiple stars that did well in the pro league.

He drives the best out of players. Proof of testament to his coaching acumen is not about his achievements with UST nor his wins at the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association. It’s his stint with his last collegiate coaching gig, the University of Perpetual Help in the NCAA, that cemented his legacy in my opinion. Unlike the star-studded teams he handled in the past, he took over a ragtag UPHR team and made them into the final four candidates. He also was able to develop future pros from that roster in Scottie Thompson, Juneric Baloria and Harold Arboleda.

The Altas went back to relevance when coach Aric and his son Lester took over the system. Coach Aric provided old school practical drills and approach to collegiate ball while Lester provided the modern day program that worked well for the Las Pinas based squad.

Building something from nothing. That’s his core strength. Coach Aric, you will be missed.

(The writer is a senior leader in the Business Process Outsourcing industry managing Philippine countryside operations)

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