What’s a good sign that a sport is moving from the fringes of society into the mainstream? I would say media coverage, and celebrity involvement.
Don’t get me wrong; cycling and triathlon have been around for quite some time here in the Philippines and have quite vibrant communities in and of themselves. But like I said in a previous post, running enjoyed a popularity boost when Piolo joined a few races, and look where we are today. Ü Kung may nakiki-uso nang sikat, that’s when you know your sport is booming.
A celebrity joining a sport is not a bad thing; it’s good for the sport because the more interest the sport generates, the more events catering to the sport will be held, and access to the sport becomes easier.
I happen to follow some Pinoy celebrities on Twitter, and workouts form part of their routine (if their tweets are anything to go by). Iza Calzado was into running last year, and these days she’s into CrossFit. Kuya Kim just finished his first marathon. And I’m looking forward to seeing Ms. Daza at the starting line of a tri very soon.
What I like about these celebrities is they don’t pick up sports half-heartedly. They really invest the time and money, as well as effort. (Of course, if you had their time and their money, this wouldn’t be such a difficult proposition as it is for the rest of us.) And when more and more people get into the sport their favorite celebrity is doing, the chances increase that these fans find out they enjoy the sport — or they simply enjoy being physically fit and active.
So I say to any celebrity that comes and joins us runners, triathletes, cyclists, and enthusiasts of other sports: WELCOME!