“Go, La Salle!” Under the blaring heat of the sun or the yellow lights of the Coliseum or perhaps under the cool shade of the covered court, one cannot miss hearing those three simple words. In the recently concluded InterLaSalle 2020, those words actually became something of a joke; because of the irony that “La Salle” is the name of 14 other schools! Yet, we cannot just help but wonder how beautiful and significant those words are, given the narrative. This is how InterLaSalle 2020 went by and this is its story.
Comprising 550 athletes, 14 schools, with 6 major sports events, in 4 days, InterLaSalle 2020 was a daunting leap into easily one of the biggest sports camps of the year. InterLaSalle is a legacy in commemoration of the skills of young athletes that bear the Lasallian identity. This year, it was held at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, from January 27 until January 30, 2020.
Kicking off the sports camp was the arrival of the delegates coming from all corners of the country. They entered the school halls with heads held high, and bucketloads of duffel bags and pieces of luggage, while holding their school names across their hearts and actions. The opening ceremony, filled with performances and heartfelt messages, was held at the Br. Roly Dizon Sports Complex. It was truly a beautiful way to begin such exciting endeavors, behind a backdrop of the setting sun. Negros Occidental Governor Hon. Bong Lacson showered both audience and athletes alike with words of wisdom about love of sport. Truly, it was inspiring enough to honor the athletes as they left for their rest.
The next two days witnessed the games in full flow and swept the athletes off their feet. It was time to meet new people, face new foes, play the same game that others had been preparing for days. Filled with glory and tragedy, the teams pushed on, carrying their school banners proudly. They rolled on dusty grounds and fell on sweaty courts, yet by the end of the day, these athletes and their coaches all screamed the same maxim “Animo! La Salle!”. There is absolutely nothing else like this event, where several schools come together on the same campus, to participate and compete between brothers of the same blood. Mr. Stephen Fernandez, Sports Director of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Manila, be followed up by Ms. Agatha Wong, a 2-time gold medalist in Wushu for the South East Asian Games spoke a few words in front of the athletes for the first formation session.
One thing is for certain, amidst the games and sporting events that transpired, InterLaSalle would not be truly the legend that it has become if it wasn’t for the team-building exercises and formation activities, where athletes searched into the deeper meaning of being an athlete. Diving deeper into the second day of events, Ms. Kat Tan, dubbed as the “one-armed mamba”, the former member of the De La Salle Zobel women’s basketball team, also delivered some inspiring messages as well as paying tribute to the Basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
USLS Alumnae and Philippine Volleyball superstars, Ms. Bea Tan and Ms. Giselle Tan also spoke in front of the athletes for the third part of the Lasallian Formation Series inspiring them as Lasallian Athletes.
On their last day at the sports camp, the athletes, volunteers and teacher-chaperones were all treated with a trip to Magikland, Negros' first immersive amusement park. Joyful screams and laughter filled the venue. The athletes enjoyed the remaining hours they had in the City of Smiles and formed newfound friendships. It was a bittersweet sunset but fun was still prevalent. Later that night, a grand feast was held on the park grounds, as a fitting farewell to the whole InterLaSalle event. Bountiful feasts were served and surely everyone had every reason to sleep tight later on. Stomachs were full but hearts were fuller.
Oh! And of course, to mention the school coordinators and the volunteers that sacrificed their time and effort constructing a makeshift bunker of their offices, thank you for making this event possible.
To our sponsors, we owe our deepest gratitude for ensuring that the Bacolodnon spirit shall calmly stir the memories of our beloved Lasallian athletes.
By the end of the day, it was never truly about winning, oh dear no, it was about the bonds that were created in the spirit of teamwork and camaraderie. And all this was done through the love of the sport. So once more, that we may forever be in your hearts, our dear athletes, we yell, as one: “Go, La Salle!”. (Text: Giollian Henry Demaulo, & Lou Marcial Cuesta - Grade 10 Students of USLS-IS; Photos: InterLaSalleBCD Official Page; Videos: Project Twenty Six)