One last roar

By Carmela Tunay

“Fifty, let’s count our remaining training days na!! All out na tayo!” – This was the message I sent my co-senior, Pam Lastimosa, one random day in October 2015.

Our pre-season tournament (SVL12) just ended and we’re about to begin the transition training for our last UAAP…
LAST U-A-A-P. Wow.

It’s a cliche to say that time flies so fast and that it seems like it was only yesterday, but really, it literally feels that way. Remembering our rookie years when what we mostly did at first was get some ball and watch our seniors smash the ball from the sidelines and learn from them.

Now, it’s our time.

It’s sort of weird that from this phase onwards, everything started to turn out differently. Every day was unlike any other. Each training that passes has different versions of, what I’d like to call, “SlowMo-ments.” SlowMo-ments are those moments which happen when you pass through things, places, and people, and all of a sudden, they seem to move in slow-motion, at least in your vision.

I’d like to believe that this is something fate has offered us. A gift and a chance to cherish every single moment there is to remember within those special minutes left on our stay – the smile on my teammates’ faces, the frustrations on my coaches’, the ball that hits the floor every raging attack, the hunger on every player’s face as they dive for that pancake save – all that and more.

Of all the things that bug a senior’s mind, acceptance is one thing that we all have a difficult time dealing with. I mean, how can you make the world stop telling you that it’s almost time to leave? I know I can’t, but still, I want the world to know that I’m not ready. I’m not ready to leave the dream just yet. I’m not ready to say goodbye to the people whom, honestly, I got closer with more than my family.

Not everyone can relate to this, but I know, we athletes can. Teammates are more than just sisters, or siblings. For most cases, athletes spend more time with their teammates during their playing years than their siblings. We spend every single day together, both in difficult and joyful times (but really, more on the difficult part, haha!).

We even spend holidays together because, for something as big as the UAAP, most teams sacrifice rest and holidays just to train and improve, most especially when all teams keep getting better and more competitive each year. We share the same passion for the sport, and with that, we share the same hardships, too.

And that’s what I’m not ready to give up yet. I can’t imagine a day going by without letting my teammates know I’m here to back them up, to talk to them, cheer them up, or on the other hand, know that I have them to cheer and boost me up. The relationship we built within the team has developed a kind of separation anxiety so severe that it can possibly make us switch our faces for spending most of our times together. And this is what pushes me every day.

Going back a couple of years ago, I played because it was and has always been my dream to play with and for the UST team.

But as the years passed by, something different pushed me harder than that dream. A different fire was lit inside me that was more difficult to put out. It was the fire brought by my teammates. Something that can’t run out easily.
The moment one experiences hardships during training and games, the initial reaction is to get tired or get burned out. But since I have a new set of inspiration now, I always go back to remembering that we are all in this together and that this isn’t my dream anymore.

It is ours.

So I can’t back down and be weak nor can I get tired like I used to, because I do not play for my dream, but rather, I play alongside theirs too. And I want to make my, and their dreams come true. That’s what I’m proud most of myself. I’m proud that I’m willing to do more for them than for me.

And on my final year here in the UAAP, I swear to give all out and remember each and every teammate who was there to back me up along the way.

Now it’s about time…on my final year, my final chance, I will give my all to back them up and leave a legacy stronger that the ones they instilled in me. One final roar for UST, and one final chance of redemption for my team…my family.