Olympic potential hampered
Pacific Daily News
If you were born around
the1960s, chances are you were a student at
the Guam Academy of Music and Arts. It was a
reddish-brown building down the street from
the Agana Cathedral.
Everyone took lessons from the
Dela Cruz family.
I took piano lessons on Thursday
afternoons. I also took ballet. Mrs. Morgan
was my instructor. I remember my pink toe shoes.
Every Saturday morning, a group of us would
plié and leap across the floor. I absolutely
Today, as I battle the mid-life
bulge, thoughts of returning to ballet flutter
through my mind. Flutter is the key word there.
Knowing that my schedule must be
flexible, I settled for activity that was just
as flexible. So, I've returned to walking and
a little -- very little -- bit of running.
This exercise you can do in any
weather. Finding a place was another story.
While the neighborhood would have been convenient,
it's full of opinionated dogs. Not my cup of
The Paseo Loop is good. Watching
the boats, the canoe-builders, the kids playing,
the people fishing, the business at the Chamorro
Village, is uplifting.
The Tiyan route is somehow bothersome.
Buildings are being leveled. Roads are being
shifted. Because there are many isolated spots
at Tiyan, it would be easy for someone to get
hurt and not helped.
My sister does the Tumon route,
so I thought of that. And while it would be
interesting to see tourism in action, the exhaust
from the buses makes me gag even when my windows
Duch recommended the University
of Guam. I have now found my ideal route. During
certain segments, you can see and hear the students
buzz about their business. Another section treats
you to the ocean. At the same time, there's
still plenty of open space to breathe and think
During the last couple of weeks,
as I walked, I thought of Jojo Santo Tomas'
insightful accounts of our Guam athletes at
the Beijing 2008 Olympics. My appreciation of
their efforts grows.
But, I also feel badly. At this
time, it's almost impossible to live on our
island and grow into an Olympic medal winner.
Not because we don't have the potential
for award-winning performances in certain sports,
but because we don't support the development
of athletics throughout our systems. The focus
and discipline required from the earliest years
to deliver the highest standards of achievement
doesn't happen here.
Programs complete with funding
support for facilities, coaches, training schedules,
competition events, travel opportunities and
whatever else goes into the mix for Olympic
competition need to be fostered. Training needs
to be continuous. Programs need to articulate
from those for preschoolers to childhood to
middle school to high school and beyond.
While the networking at the Olympics
is awesome, as is the opportunity to see star
athletes, it would be even better if our island
provided the needed support to help our island
athletes actually develop their full potential
so that their chances of getting that medal
Perhaps our current star athletes
-- Maria Dunn, Derek Mandell, Sean Pangelinan,
R.J. Blas, Cora Alicto and Chris Duenas -- can
ask all previous Guam stars from the Olympics,
South Pacific Games and Micronesian Games to
help develop what needs to be improved on our
island to help them get the gold.
Coaches would contribute significant
perspectives, as will family members. Reporters
would also be in a position to contribute thoughts
because of all of the observations they make
as they pay attention to the actual events.
Families who have actually transplanted their
children to the U.S. mainland to benefit from
sports programs offered there should also be
invited to the table.
Then again, maybe this has already
occurred and I don't know about it.
What I do know is that Guam people
have the potential to get the gold. Like everyone
else, however, they need the support and training
from the very beginning to achieve it.
In the meanwhile, my personal Olympics
have me enjoying the sights and sounds of overflowing
UOG parking lots.
The Olympics of the minds is in
full gear. May the achievements begin!
And, hopefully the bulge disappears.