That dude with a wide smile in the middle of this sea of wide smiles is my son.
This is my son, who, after a grueling day at school, just has to go outdoors and fling that frisbee for hours–until the dark says “Enough.”
And on weekends –Saturdays AND Sundays– he wakes up before the crack of dawn, travels to some out of town place to spend 2 whole days playing this sport that engages him completely–heart, body, mind, soul– and where he and his team win a few but where I sense, winning is bonus because playing it is prize enough for him for the wild joy it gives him.
This, too, is my son who is so out there with his passion for social justice. A straight guy who’s had the rainbow flag for years in his room because he understands how much gravitas a straight guy brings to the table when he fights for LGBTQ rights.
So when a friend from the UP Mountaineers, Lizz, someone who loves ultimate the way Rafa does– donated frisbees to the kids of Binaloan, I asked Rafa if he would like to come with me to my next trip to Samar and teach the kids there this cool sport.
I didn’t have to ask twice.
For 2 days I saw my son play with the kids of Binaloan. And all over the school field, one could hear happy shrieks, laughter and “Kuya Rafa! Ako! Ako! AKOHHHH!! Kuya Rafaaaa!”.
My Rafa soaring and diving and the kids soaring and diving with their Kuya Rafa.
For a few moments, in that small patch of green, class distinctions didn’t exist and these kids who’ve known nothing but want and deprivation, could, for a moment, be the carefree children they ought to be.
For a few moments my son played the small part he was asked to play in leveling a most unequal playing field.
For a few moments, the children of Binaloan gave my son a bigger vision of himself and the part he must play in a hurting world that needs all of us to give our share–no matter how crummy we think it is.
And I am grateful to the children of Binaloan for teaching my son that other realities so far removed from his own reality exist and, “What now, Rafa?”
A relationship of equals is how I see it. And I’m sticking to this story.
My son got to know the satisfaction of having shared something he loves to kids he cares about for a cause he is passionate about.
And these kids got to learn a sport that would have been off limits to them (the way good food, education, shelter, etc are off limits to them) if not for my friend and my son.
And who knows where all these will lead.
When we do what’s asked of us, I don’t think it is our business to know the full picture. We just take our place in the chain that,hopefully, leads to good things for these kids.
That is my wild hope for them.
You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. So many of you have joined me.
And the world will be as one–as it should be.
Made you sing, didn’t I? Haha!