The Bleachers

Small Town Opportunities

Growing up in a small town is entirely different from the polis of the metro where the probability of being scouted is bigger. In urban cities like Manila, the opportunities presented to athletes are far bigger than those in rural towns like mine. Do not get me wrong I am no athlete—I am merely a fan. But I have witnessed how life-changing it can be when opportunity knocks at your doorsteps.

/ 28 August 2020

Cities outside of Metro Manila are swarming with talents. There are some who’s lives have changed completely just because they were given a golden ticket to pursue their passion for sports. While there are those who faded in the face of the industry, not because they are not as talented as others but because they weren’t given the same opportunity—life is unfair that way.

Rags-to-riches stories are one of the many things we love about sports. That inspiring tale of coming from nothing and emerging on top of their profession is truly a joy to witness. The amazing thing about these kinds of stories is that it doesn’t always start from childhood. It can happen during their collegiate careers or even during the pros, others might not even get the chance of entering college or the pro scene but still managed to be a staple in the sports industry. Guys who are overlooked, underrated, and forgotten fit that category.

Michael Oher is one of the most famous in this kind of chronicle. The Tennesse Titans story was well documented in the 2009 film ‘The Blind Side’. Being an adopted son of Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family, Oher emerged to being the first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft. 

In the local scene, the most amazing story would come from Jovelyn Gonzaga. This lethal lefty was not part of any UAAP or NCAA team neither was she part of a highly recruited batch of rookies. But her emergence in the volleyball industry took the country by storm. Making her name in the Shakeys V-League season 10, the prowess of this bionic ilongga would not be kept hidden. Being a constant name in the National team, Gonzaga’s name is at the top with the likes of Aiza Maizo-Pontillas and Alyssa Valdez.

Any person who sees an athlete play with so much passion would make their skin crawl with awe. But it’s sad to see a lot of talented players not having the same opportunities as others. I just wish that the growth of the sports industry in the country will help athletes from small towns to get that life-changing golden ticket.

Maybe our first Olympic gold medalist would come from these small towns—who knows.