ONE OF the thing that would really make me happy is if Isay gets hooked on sports. It doesn’t have to be competitively, although God knows a sportswriter dad would always dream of that. But at the very least, I hope she gets interested enough to try out a few disciplines—if only for the fact that sports-active people are some of the healthiest, well-balanced people on earth.
The wife and I talk about it a lot, and we include sports talk with our daily conversations with Isay. We’ve talked about sports like football (our consensus top pick), swimming, tennis, volleyball and taekwondo. I come from a lineage that has asthma encoded into our genetic software. Arthritis, meanwhile, seems to be programmed in my wife’s DNA. And the best way for Isay to crash those genetic downloads is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes getting into sports.
So I try to get her exposed to sports in whatever way I can.
Early mornings, after her sunshine bath and book “reads,” we sometimes try to catch the NBA on TV. Recently, I was overseeing a shoot for Inquirer’s sports special and decided to bring Isay along. I didn’t want her to stay for the whole photo shoot because those things get really crazy at its peak. Crazy fun, but for a young baby, it could be crazy overwhelming. The plan was to catch the first part of the shoot, bring Isay back home and then return to the office to finish work.
And guess who showed up early for the shoot?
Ateneo hotshot Alyssa Valdez, arguably the finest volleyball star in the country today.
Alyssa: You brought your baby!
Alyssa: Can I babysit while waiting for the shoot to start?
And thus did Isay have her first photo with a certified athletic superstar.
A few moments later, Angeli Tabaquero, my all-time favorite UST Tigress (and believe me, the UST program has produced some of the finest female volleyball players in UAAP history) showed up. While she was being prepped for the shoot, NU’s Peter Torres, Tabaquero’s favorite volleyball player (insert wink emoji here), also arrived, which gave me another chance get Isay a photo op with the couple.
And finally, NU’s famed Santiago sisters, Dindin and Jaja, arrived at the office just before things officially went hectic, giving Isay one more chance at a photo op.
I do not know if Isay gets into sports when she grows up. Or if she actually becomes competitive when she takes up a discipline or two. Her mom and I have no plans of forcing it on her. I just hope she tries it out. After all, sports brings a lot of positives into a person’s life. The health benefits, physically and mentally, plus the dedication, passion and discipline that sports arouses from people make it a crucial component in developing a well-rounded individual.
Plus, there are the other sports-specific reasons:
- Football—No height requirement. Plus, girls playing football? Really cool.
- Volleyball—Because Alyssa Valdez’ athleticism and skill, Ara Galang’s spunk and Angeli Tabaquero’s fire and passion, period.
- Tennis—At the very least, exquisite and fashionable tan lines.
- Swimming—Saves lives.
- Basketball—Because it’s my favorite sport all-time.
- Badminton—Because tennis can sometimes be too expensive.
- Taekwondo—So I don’t have to shoot that many boys.
If she tries and fails, at least she picks up a lesson somewhere along the way. And if sports really isn’t for her, maybe she could try a little sports broadcasting. After all, that was how her dad became a sportswriter. He sucked at sports. Show me a sportswriter and I’ll show you an athletic dream melted by fate. Isay could learn a thing or two about the craft from another celebrity who called first dibs on babysitting her, Patricia Bermudez-Hizon, wife of retired basketball superstar Vince Hizon. To those born in the year of the eye-candy courtside reporter, Patricia is a throwback to the days when the ladies behind the mic actually talked serious basketball and were more than just pretty faces. And she happens to be one of the people who will stand as godparents to Isay when she is baptized next month.
To other dads out there with daughters: What sport would you want your kid to try? And why?