In a surprise move never done before in recent history of sporting events, mothers were honored for the part they play in their athlete children’s lives during the opening ceremonies of the 6th MILO Little Olympics National Finals 2014 held at the Marikina Sports Center.
In the words of Prof. Robert Milton Calo, the regional organizer of this year’s host, the National Capital Region (NCR)—“there can be no champions without the mothers”. Calo said the concept of putting the mothers at the centerstage was a product of a brainstorming that they had with the Department of Education.
“I just feed them stories about what was it like during the old Olympics wherein women, thus, mothers are not allowed to watch because the games were only for men. In one of the events, a man won the gold and his mother defied the punishment of death to run to her son and congratulate him. Can you imagine the mother’s love for her son that even faced with the punishment of death, she showed herself,” Calo narrated.
During the opening ceremonies, right after Southeast Asian games gold medalist for taekwondo, Japoy Lizardo presented the 2014 trophy, instead of the first of the four torch bearers representing the four delegations—Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR, their mothers took to the stage.
The torch was then handed to the mother from Luzon, who watched her son come up the stage. She then read something to him before handing him the torch to begin the torch relay accompanied by Lizardo and running coach Rio dela Cruz.
After finishing the torch relay, all four torch bearers then stood before their mothers on stage before proceeding to light the MILO unity and friendship flame.
Asked whether a father’s role is not equally important, Calo said that a father’s role is a given and as head of the family is often not taken for granted. However, it is the mother who hugs their children and wipes away their tears when they are down, in short, the mothers are the motivating factors especially in a young athlete but this role is often brushed aside.
Team Visayas elementary football coach Joselito Bono agrees saying that the presence of the mothers inspires his players to churn out a good performance.
“Dako jud ug ikatabang kung naa sila (Having them there is a big help),” said Bono.