On the 2nd floor of the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center at the Ateneo campus in Katipunan, members of the collegiate varsity badminton team were practicing when their booster – Ateneo speak for team manager – FREDERICK D. GO walked in.
After an exchange of high fives and friendly shoulder taps, the team was called back on court by Coach Alma Ledesma. Afterall, they cannot afford to be lax in practice, as the UAAP meet is in the offing. With stiff competition coming from other universities, the Ateneo badminton team is hard at work to perform well.
As far as Mr. Frederick Go is concerned however, there shouldn’t be any pressure.
“Any success in badminton or any sport is a bonus. We emphasize hard work and training but Ateneans are, first and foremost, students. Education comes first,” aptly said by the man who heads the very successful real estate company, Robinsons Land and was Jesuit-trained all his life.
The Jesuit training urges FDG – as Mr. Frederick D. Go is called by friends and associates – to give back to the school which is highly instrumental to what he is today.
“It probably sounds like a cliché, but there’s no other way to put it,” FDG says. He adds that when the opportunity came for him to manage the varsity badminton team, he didn’t hesitate.
While FDG hopes for UAAP medals, he is not about to compromise the university’s academic standards.
“Many young players want to play for Ateneo. If it were an issue of finances, I can help. But I can’t do anything if they are academically unqualified,” Mr. Go says.
His live for is alma mater is perhaps only equaled by his passion for badminton. A known badminton enthusiast, FDG is a regular in corporate tournaments and is competitive enough to hit smashed with the pros.
He even encouraged his Robinsons Land staff to organize a badminton team. Today, the Robinsons Land badminton team is one of the best and competes in many corporate tournaments.
He is also the man behind the FDG Cup, an annual badminton tournament that attracts amateur, professional and even international players.
“Badminton is a sport for everyone. It chooses no age, sex or social status. On court, everyone is equal,” he explains. “I always say that badminton is a sport that I can grow old with.”
Badminton is also a sport that keeps him young. After our brief interview and photo shoot, FDG changed into his badminton gear, stretched, then joined the team on court for some friendly but high quality badminton games. And true to his statement that everyone is equal on court, the young players of the Ateneo team played their hearts out and kept FDG on his toes the whole time.
And so every time FDG steps into the More Lorenzo Sports Center to visit the team practice, it is like coming home to two of his favorite things – Ateneo and badminton. And we can only expect better and greater things from the Ateneo Badminton Team with FDG at the helm.
Afterall, it is not everyday that a team gets a boost from a man as passionate to the team and the sport as Mr. Frederick D. Go.
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