September 20, 2018 (2:23 PM)

5 min read


University Athletics Director Mr. Emmanuel Rene S. Ayo, otherwise known as “Coach Noli” defies what lies beyond sports based on life experiences as a coach in the second Ignatian Conversation, held today, at the Finster Auditorium. Photo by Maxine Lumbera

“Sports placed in the hands of bright leaders and coaches has the power to help change the world,” University Athletics Director of Ateneo de Davao, Mr. Emmanuel Rene S. Ayo believed in his talk on “Insights and Reflections from a life as a coach,” yesterday afternoon at Finster Auditorium.

To provide a venue for appropriation of Fr. Joel Tabora’s call on the “greater intellectual engagement formation” in the field of sports, the Ignatian Spirituality and formation office (ISFO), organized its 2nd Ignatian Conversation, “Beyond Sports,” for this year, with Coach Noli Ayo as the speaker.

Coach Ayo focused his talk on what people should be mindful of.

In his speech, he presented three points: being mindful of the words we teach, being mindful of the people we keep, and being mindful of the excellence we chase.


Imparting knowledge

“Did I teach them well?”

Coach Ayo shared how he often asks himself “if he is still doing the right thing” to remind him to “be mindful of the words he teaches.”

“Titigil ako at tinatanong kung tama pa ba ang ginagawa ko. Kung ito ba ay sapat, ito ba ay dapat, at higit sa lahat ito ba ay karapat-dapat? Ito ang lagi kong sinasabi sa pagiging mindful,” he said.

With these questions, the athletics director shared his philosophy to the participants on changing their mindset.

He believes that “the way you think, dictates the way you act,” and so “if one approach does not work, use another.”

Coach Ayo also emphasized the importance of building a culture within the team.

“Yung skills madaling abutin yan, pero yung kultura, yan ang gagamitin natin para talunin sila, kasi mahirap itong abutin, if once maunahan natin sila, we will become the standard,” he said.

The coach repeatedly emphasized the idea of “being mindful of the words we teach” as he believes that “your word becomes your world.”

“Yung paulit ulit mong sinasabi, yung paulit-ulit mong [share] sa iba, iyon yung nagiging katotohanan mo,” he said.

For this reason, he called out the coaches and teachers to always educate themselves because

“If [they] know more, [they] can teach and say more. But If [they] know less, [they] can only teach and say less,” he expressed.

Building companionship

For the second part of his talk, coach Ayo underscored the importance of being “mindful of the people we keep.”

He reasoned out that “you are who you are with.”

“Be mindful of the people you choose to spend most of your time with [because] yun yung average mo,” he said.

Coach Ayo then raised the following questions, “Are they helping me increase my average or am I pulling their average down?” for reflection.

The coach shared another one of his philosophy about doubting one’s self and where to seek for answers.

“In life, when you are having doubts, we can always find the answer within the people that immediately surrounds you, and if you can’t find the answer, then perhaps it’s a good time to explore outside,” he said.


Chasing excellence

“What kind of excellence do we chase? Is the excellence worth chasing or should we chase something else?”

The speaker shared how he often throws the following questions to the coaches, and to the athletes.

Hence, coach Ayo encouraged the participants to “find more reason that would let you [the athletes] stay when the heavy days would come, because there would be.”

He also believed that “this is where the mentors would come in.”

“I hope we would have a community of mentors to be able to teach the younger ones to go through those heavy days,” Ayo said.

For the same reason, he expressed to the athlete participants that “mentors are difficult to find too” and so he advised them that “if you find one, keep them.”

The coach concluded his talk by sharing the value of what lies beyond sports.

“It’s just real life, when you stop playing the game. Kung hindi ka na volleyball player, sino ka? Kung hindi na ikaw ang coach sino ka?” he pointed out.

He also posed the same questions to the faculty and students of the university.

“Para rin ito sa inyo [faculty and students] ang mga tanong na ito. Kung hindi ka na bahagi ng Ateneo de Davao, sino ka?” he asked.

With these questions, the coach believes that it “can be answered well with the excellence you are deciding to chase now.”

“And mind you, I am not even talking about sports, I am talking about life,” he added.


Continued mission

Liza Lao, program development officer of ISFO shared in her rationale that the series of annual “Ignatian Conversations,” which is now on its fifth year, continues to take up focal areas of discussion that open up reflection and invitation to the administration, faculty, staff, and students of the university, to appropriate the Ignatian spirituality, the mission of the society of Jesus, and the vision and mission of Ateneo de Davao.

“Beyond Sports” was organized by ISFO together with the Arrupe Office of Social Formation, and the Campus Ministry office of the university.

The first Ignatian conversation for this year was to move the Ateneo de Davao community to appropriate Fr. Tabora’s message on a chance for “greater intellectual engagement formation.”

It was also intended to support in setting the tone for the celebration of the 70th year of Ateneo de Davao University.

End the silence of the gagged!

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