An open letter to a son
THIS is an open letter to my 16-year-old son Justin Miguel.
Yesterday (March 4) marked the fourth anniversary of your love affair with the sport of basketball.
On March 4, 2015, you, a reed-thin, 5-foot-1 kid who had just completed your Grade 6 exams at Betty Go Belmonte Elementary school, tried your luck in varsity basketball as a walk-in by setting foot on a hardwood for an official training session with the Philadelphia High School Juniors team under the guidance of coaches Simon Sim, Angelo So and Shaun Sim.
At 12 years and nine months, I did not have any inkling that you could play the game, let alone succeed in athletics. Three years before, I brought you to my alma mater Xavier School to play basketball. Without any previous experience, it would appear that you didn’t have the skill set to excel even as you found it hard to even dribble the rock with your southpaw stance.
But time has a way to move mountains. Your four-times-a-week summer training helped you discover the hidden skills and great discipline that you possess. The coaching staff taught you how to dribble and shoot with both hands, read the defenses (as a point guard) and most importantly, play the team game — the qualities that a cage athlete needs to develop to succeed.
Your blinding speed, endurance and athleticism are what you brought to the table. Amazingly, it was only because our dad did not know you have these qualities in you.
You even copped the bronze medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event in the Fil-Chi MASA track and field event at the Ultra in January 2016 as a high school freshman (Grade 7), trailing just a pair of 16-year-olds from Philippine Cultural College.
You probably were born to run, a running man-child if I may so.
Be that as it may, there was a stringent condition that I had imposed on you since the start of your 2015-16 school calendar: No failing marks in exchange for your continuous stay on the Panthers varsity basketball team.
That was — and will always be — non-negotiable. Education sill is the primary reason why you are in school.
After four years, you have kept your part of the bargain — and more. Your grades have been high enough to even merit a certificate of outstanding honors as you are about to complete your Junior High (Grade 10) studies this month.
You have proved to me that academics and athletics can mix with proper time management.
As you play your farewell game with the Philadelphia HS Juniors team in the 13th Alliance Basketball League on Saturday, March 9, with some degree of success, offer your swan song to God and to coaches Simon, Angelo and Shaun.
You are what you are today under their mentorship.
Remember always, to God be all the glory!
– Your dad
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