By JOHNNY R. LEE, Ph.D
The undying appetite of Tawi-Tawi youngsters towards the game of volleyball cannot be overemphasized. Literally, youngsters from the time they learn how to walk are already exposed to this game.
In several villages in the municipalies of the province, volleyball games has become a way of life second only to their practice of Islamic religion.
The game of volleyball is both a sports and recreational. To the male youngsters the said game is a competitive sports among themselves or with teams outside of their villages. For the elderly men and women and the young girls it is a form of recreation.
Betting is a norm among the male contenders by few hundred pesos and running to thousand of pesos when team from one municipality visits another neighboring island municipalities. The stiff coompetition with cash incentives at stake motivates the players to improve their skills and techniques.
There are numerous factors, both physical and technical, that led to sustainable dominance of volleyball players from Tawi-Tawi that reign supreme in the entire Mindanao regions since the advent of Mindanao athletic meets in the 80’s.
The first among them is the physical assets of the local players that suited for the sports like their ability to jump higher than normal and adaptaton to environmental stress caused by direct exposure to sunlight. Sometimes they play even in a knee-deep water during high tide – which developed their quick footwork when playing in an open court.
(To be continued in the next issue).