All Heart AwardLast weekend, we were back in Xavier School in San Juan, Metro Manila for the this school year’s 3rd semester Hoop Festival and graduation ceremony for Coach E Basketball School. As usual, the day started with the graduation ceremony: the opening speech to thank all the students, coaches and parents who participated in this semester’s module, an explanation of how the day’s tournament for the three divisions will go, and the giving of special awards – the All Heart and Excellence Awards.

The parents and the children don’t know beforehand who will receive these special awards. That morning, my son, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised when my son’s name was called for the All Heart Award for the rookies division of his team / venue (San Beda College Alabang). My son has received the Excellence Award a few times, and his team has won championships a few times too. But this All Heart Award is his first, and it’s special.

When we got home, my son asked me what the All Heart Award meant. We know he was very happy to have brought home a medal that day, but only after all the gameplay and all the exhaustion was he able to reflect on what this award really meant.  This is how the rest of our conversation went:

Me: “What do you think it means?”

Son: “I think it means you give it your all. Like you always do your best.”

Me: “Yep, I agree. Being all heart means you give it your all. You give all your effort, your attention, your energy when you practice and when you play. And as much as possible, you are there. You give your time too.”

Son: “Isn’t All Heart the easiest award to win?”

Me: “You think so? I’d say that All Heart isn’t that easy to get. Not everyone gives their all in basketball. Do you see everyone there giving their all, every time? Does everyone work hard? Does everyone always listen well to the coaches?”

Son: (after a brief pause) “Yeah, Mom. I guess the All Heart Award isn’t that easy to get.”

Then, it was time to shower off all the sweat and tiredness of that day. The next day, he mentioned the All Heart Award one more time, just remembering it and perhaps relishing it again for a little while.  I remember how his enjoyment in basketball and his determination to become a better player has grown over the last two years. His new basketball dream is to one day be awarded Most Outstanding Player in a tournament.  He may not be a natural in this sport, but I believe that his all-heart attitude will help make his dream come true someday.