Here is a mother’s impassioned letter to me.
"I would like to tell you about my son…
"My son plays for his high school’s varsity basketball team. He loves the game so much that he dreams of playing for a big school and hopefully, in the PBA or even the NBA. Libre naman mangarap, my son tells me. I laugh at it but it is possible naman no matter how hard it seems.
"The first time my son played for his school and put on his game jersey, I was so proud of him. And he felt proud ,too. Sometimes, I have to remind him not to forget his studies. Yes, ma, he always reassures me.
"Lately, my son has become sullen and withdrawn. Nung una, akala ko may love problems. Siguro may liniligawan tapos hindi siya sinagot. But it’s not. It turns out that it is worse.
"When we watch my son’s basketball games, I would notice how the coach gets mad at his players when they make mistakes. I know that is normal but as a parent, you feel hurt as well. But it’s part of the game. Except that it happens too often and the situation has become worse.
"My son plays for a high school basketball team that is considered to be a very good one. And there is pressure on them to win and to continue to win. I think it’s bad that given the boys are all in high school they are being taught the wrong values.
"The coach and his assistant have become very abusive. Not only to my son but even the star players. If you noticed that the star players have not played well. They feel stressed out. The slightest mistake grabe kung pagalitan. Hindi naman kagustuhan ng player magkamali. Hindi naman sila professional basketball player. High school lang sila. Kahit PBA player, nagkakamali.
"My son has been told by his coaches that they will take away his scholarship. Halos araw-araw siya sinasabihan na if he continues to make mistakes, they will take away his scholarship. The past two months, as soon as he leaves the house for school, he calls me up on my cellphone to say that he wants to go home na. He is so afraid for practice because his coaches always get mad. It has affected him so much that for the past three nights, hindi siya makatulog.
"The mental torture that he undergoes has taken a toll on his health and even his grades. His self-esteem and confidence is shot. He is happy only when he is home. In fact, he doesn’t watch basketball on TV anymore. Dati, basta mayroon PBA or NBA game on a non-school day, he watches. Not anymore. They have killed my son’s ambition and drive. School officials don’t seem to care because the basketball program brings in so much prestige and donors to the school. The parents are all afraid to talk. No one wants to talk.
"Maybe you can write about this and spare not only my son (and his sisters) but also other children the agony of abusive coaches."
Doesn’t that make your blood boil? As a parent and a father, I too have kids who play varsity sports. I am quite thankful that they aren’t exposed to these kind of coaches although I know quite a few of these types (there are even some who are in the pros pretending to be nice people when they are not).
The parents refuse to divulge their names (although I know who they are) for fear of reprisals because their kids are still in that school. There are many others who have reached out, including an African teen who is the subject of not only verbal abuse but also racial slurs from his coach (from a school not in the major collegiate leagues).
Rest assured, I have reached out to the proper authorities who are in a position to do something (both in the senate and in congress).
Will advise on updates about this pressing matter.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.