By JOHNNY R. LEE, Ph.D
The evolution, development and coping-up with the modern games of volleyball in Tawi-Tawi are not without any external and internal factors that mould and shape their dominating presence in Mindanao region.
Looking back, the history of the game of volleyball in Tawi-Tawi is almost parallel with its introduction in 1910 to the Filipinos by an American named Elwood S. Brown, the then Physical Director of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)..
It became a popular game held in backyards and at beaches in the islands. At first, the Filipinos invented their own rules for the game. US soldiers who were assigned to the different islands of the Philippine, including Tawi-Tawi, during the period also helped in the widespread introduction of volleyball to the Filipinos.
These American military servicemen encouraged the Filipinos to join them in playing during their time-off from military duties. Early in the history of the game of volleyball in the Philippines, the Filipinos used trees as makeshift net holders (the net was hung between the two chosen trees). This scenario (using makeshift courts) has become commonplace in almost all the island municipalities of the province.
Whilst youngsters from this province, both males and females, are endowed with ‘inborn talents, it is not enough to come to terms with the fast-changing styles and modernities in techniques and training that is happening in the big cities and the world volleyball for that matter. There’s got to be a radical change if only for these youngsters to be able to cope up with the onslaught of a very competitive and hard volleyball. These ‘changes’ became the missing link or else Tawi-Tawi volleyball players remained stagnant and undeveloped.
We have lots of players beginning Circa 60’s who has been outstanding in big universities in Manila in the likes of the late Mandutong Jumianjang of UST, Abdulgafar Hamdan, Edwin Chio (UE), Abdulmunap Ibrahim(UE), the Lipae Brothers (Algarad and Nurgandi both from FEU), Jukran Hamdan (RTU) and the younger batch consists of Alnakran Abdilla (La Salle Dasmarinas), Madzlan Gampong and Fauzi Esmael both of 2019 Champion Team National University.
Whilst the above-named players are volleyball heroes adored by Tawi-Tawi youngsters their impact towards the advancement of volleyball did little to the development of the game in the area. This is because after their playing days were over, they either stayed in the city or are gainfully employed as public servants and private citizens.
(To be continued in the next issue: The Role of MSU-TCTO in Volleyball Development in the Province.)