A Tribute to Academic Contest Coaches
Today, I wished one of my grade school teachers luck for her student who was able to make it to the Regional Individual Competition of the Metrobank MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge. As I did so, I looked back on the past competitions I have participated in, beginning from the then Metrobank MTAP-DECS-NCR Math Challenge, to the Mathematics competitions held outside the country, to the contests in other subject areas, and later on, to the collegiate quiz bowls I have participated in.
Looking back, I realized the hardships the coaches in these academic competitions must have undergone. Who would have given thought to the excitement the coaches have in knowing their students have qualified for the next round, only to be quashed by anxieties brought forth by the long waiting time as they leave their students in their respective testing rooms for the individual written competitions? Who would have given thought to their high expectations or their feelings of unease as each team's answer is announced after each question in an oral competition? Who would have even paid attention to the teachers' diligence in taking down questions and answers during these contests so that their students will have some review materials in the future? At the time these are happening, perhaps no one has.
This afternoon, I also spent some time with my university's chemical engineering quizzers in one of their routine review sessions. I remember how I tried to make a number of problems and questions which they can use for their review, and I remember how hard it is for me to formulate questions that can possibly come out in competitions like this. Having done so, I realized that this is just one of the other sacrifices coaches have made for their trainees.
We, contestants, have often been oblivious to the things that our coaches have done to ensure that we go back to our schools knowing that we have done our best even if we do not win. Most of us failed to recognize the price paid for by these loving teachers in supporting us in these competitions. Writing this is not enough to make up for taking them for granted, but as some say, better late than never. And even then, they will still say that seeing us excel is already a great achievement for them.