It’s been a few weeks since the Dragon Boat brouhaha that has caused a lot of mudslinging from the dragon boat group and the POC/PSC.
Here’s my take: I feel for the all the dragon boat people — from the paddlers all the way to the mussels that the paddlers ate before going on that gold medal winning spree in Florida. Like all sports groups who bring honor and pride to our country, I think the Dragon Boat Team deserves all the praise and respect especially with all the hardships they went through.
But, but, but…
I also think that they should align themselves with the POC or the PSC officially. I know our sports leaders really handled this situation in the worst possible way with their insensitive comments, but you see, technically, they just can’t reward the paddlers with money, or any form of incentive. The rule is, if a sport is not part of the Olympics, then there could be no support. Makes sense, being the country’s “Olympic” committee. Imagine the protests and complaints if the POC started awarding millions of pesos for every title that Bata Reyes or Paeng Nepomuceno wins while wearing a Philippine flag on their shirt. Simply put, dragon boat racing, just like billiards and bowling, is not an Olympic sport. The same can be said about those junior golfers who win internationally but never get government incentives. Or the rugby team (no, not the little boy sniffers, but those Volcanoes who caused an eruption with their underwear magnified 200 times in the billboard).
Of course, the PSC’s suggestion of having the paddlers go under the canoe and kayaking group is downright silly. I know the reason for this suggestion is to allow the paddlers an official channel by which they can receive government incentives. But really, how silly is this suggestion?
Here’s a picture of a dragon boat…
… and here’s a picture of a canoe:
Now, tell me if that’s a good idea.
As I said, our sports leaders handled this terribly. How easy would it have been to just connect with their private partners and arranged a nice financial package for the paddlers instead of resorting to immature comments? After all, ABS-CBN, MVP, and Lucio Tan (who saved the paddlers from the start) all jumped in with hefty rewards.
For our paddlers, nice job of not agreeing to go under the canoe and kayaking group. I think you’re doing the right thing of waiting it out- dragon boat racing will soon become an Olympic sport, according to you guys.
With this assumption, now is the best time for the POC and the paddlers to hold hands. People always say we should be investing in sports that give us a better chance of winning, and now we have that in dragon boat racing. Start the lobbying process at the IOC instead of bickering and politicking. BMX racing got in the 2008 Beijing Olympics so maybe dragon boat at the very least has a chance. That’s better than nothing.
Whatever it takes, let’s just get this thing going and start paddling to the same drumbeat.