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June 19, 2010Posted by on
As a former athlete of his, I can say in all honesty that Ed Sediego is a great coach. Whatever accolades I accomplished throughout my track years, I owe it all to the man who introduced me to the track & field and hurdling.
My first encounter with Coach Ed was during P.E. class back in my sophomore year in high school. I was a feeble, 115-pound weakling. Although I harbored some dreams of basketball glory, never in my wildest dreams did I picture myself competing in track. A year and a half later, I did just that.
Coach Ed taught me the most important facet of hurdling – the three step stride pattern. I practically spent the entire summer before my senior year in high school attempting to master three-stepping – to no avail. It took a single one-on-one training session with Coach Ed to do just that. And it felt great! Coach Ed’s instructions were simple: “Sprint! Sprint! Sprint! Shoot the hurdle!”
Throughout college, I made it a point to visit Coach Ed and the high school team from time to time. We talked about a lot of things, but of course, the main topic was track & field. Amidst the frantic routine of college and college track, Coach Ed’s calm demeanor was an oasis.
What I admire most about Coach Ed is his humility. Despite countless achievements, he is always modest underneath the spotlight. He considers himself as a good motivator, not a great coach. Not once have I seen him scold or berate a student-athlete. Instead, he has quite a few catchy lines such as “Enjoy life!” and “It takes time to cook good food!” at his disposal.
In more than two decades as head coach of the high school team, Coach Ed has trained the likes of Jay Arteficio, Illac Diaz and John Aguilar. He really does have that keen eye for talent. As a scrawny 16-year high school junior, I found inspiration in the exploits of these fine athletes. But then again, my nascent knowledge of track prevented me from seeing the entire picture. Even today, emerging talents like JB Capinpin and Maki de Jesus – both Palarong Pambansa medalists – can trace the roots of their success to this humble man from Zamboanga (although I’m sure, in Coach Ed would deny this, in his usual self-deprecating fashion).
8 years later, having competed for 5 years in the college ranks, I found myself in Rizal yet again. I witnessed a high caliber high school competition, with Palarong Pambansa standouts among the young athletes. With the high school team’s 20-year winning streak (and the subsequent 5-year winning streak) a distant memory, the current crop of student-athletes lost 1st place by a measly 6 points from a determined rival in UP.
The young men were openly crying, ruing their lost chances and their lost Crown. I haven’t missed a single UAAP meet since Season 64; this is the first time I’ve seen such raw emotion.
Coach Ed was nowhere to be found, however. At first I thought that Coach was just a sore loser. I was light years away from the truth. In a YM conversation days later, I had my answer. “Okay lang sa aking matalo,” said Coach Ed. “Hindi ko lang kayang makitang umiiyak ang mga anak ko.”
I was touched by Coach Ed’s concern. This was cura personalis at its best. Through the years, Coach made it a point to do various chores for his athletes as much as possible (piecing together makeshift racing bibs, bringing food, carrying throwing implements and hurdles around), likening his wards to his own children. I never realized how seriously he took this to heart until then.
If I can highlight an underlying reason for Coach Ed’s success, it has to be this close, paternal bond with his athletes.
Indeed, training programs, coaching philosophies and genetics matter. Ultimately, what binds all these – what makes winning worthwhile or defeat less damning – is the unique relationship between athlete and coach.