Taking A Closer Look on the 30th SEA Games
By Jet Cimafranca, Sports Contributor
My desire to witness a multi-sport event emerged when I represented my school during the Congressional Meet in Balamban, Cebu back in the Fourth Grade. With my sport fanaticism, I like watching NBA basketball competitions especially placing my bias with Boston Celtics. Let me hear a shoutout!
Last December 2019, I had the opportunity to behold the 30th Southeast Asian Games. It was a one-of-a-lifetime dream since when I was a child. I really long to witness in person a regional multisport event. My journey just started with a simple prayer!
“Lord I want to watch the SEA Games with my family.”
Praise God as early as February 2019, I was able to book a PISO fare flight going to Clark, with my wife, Eloise, and 2 years old then – Ely.
In any multi sport event—whether it is an Olympic Games, Asian Games, or even Palarong Pambasa—there is always an Opening Ceremony. This time the 30th SEA Games was held inside the Philippine Arena and its opening ceremony was a fabulous cultural presentation of the Philippines. It was proudly creative and definitely hair-raising for a native like me. Who wouldn’t be proud of that? So I was cheering loud for our Filipino athletes as they showed up the entrance with the music “Manila, Manila”. As our nation faces a lot of problems, I realize that sports can be a great unifier. It unites all Filipinos and other country people without political agenda, color, and race.
The New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac is a dream-come-true for Philippine Sports. Why? It has the Aquatic Center, the Athletic Stadium, and a world-class Athletes Village that are places to be for a lover of sports. After receiving a huge Asian budget for this, I’m sure Philippine athletes are delighted to experience this one-of-a-kind sport facility situated in the country—that finally it is a day reached!
These are the events I had witnessed in the entire competition: Water Polo, 3x3 Basketball, Kurash, and Petanque. The Athletes perform their very best, that they wanted to win for a podium finish for Gold. To this regard, here are my spiritual reflections during the 30th SEA GAMES that I wanna share with you.
1. HE is the LORD of simple desires – I just prayed “Lord, ganahan ko maka-witness sa SEA Games”. The Lord provides – plane tickets, hotel accomodations, and venue tickets. We can confidently trust in the Lord that He is the Lord of small and big things. He bestows good things to his children. He is not a God who withhold blessings to his beloved children.
2. “Cloud of Witnesses” - Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)
As I cheered for Filipino athetes at every game, I was reminded of the spiritual reality. The “cloud of witnessses” is reference to faithful men and women who paved the way for us (Enoch, Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc.). Likewise, I should act as if they were in sight and cheering to the same victory in the life of faith. This gives me inspiration through their example of a godly life.
3. The Need for Discipline - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
At the game, I saw the endurance of Water Polo players. They have long endurance. They swam from end to end. They fought and never gave up. I personally saw the skills of ball handling and shooting of our Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 both Men and Women Basketball Teams. They became experts in their field because they carry strict discipline in trainings, likewise in their diet.
On same note, we need spiritual discipline. We can become effective against battling spiritual warfares when we discipline ourselves in prayer and in meditating the Scripture. The Holy Spirit will fill us if we submit ourselves into spiritual training and discipline.
Indeed sports can be an avenue in knowing the character of Christ. So I’m encouraging you to find your place, spend some of your energy in a sport you like or be a fan for it’s one way to motivate us persevere in our faith.