Another milestone … While it may not actually sound too impressive, I still think it's a huge step, 4 flights of steps actually. I just came from a meeting with none other than Commissioner Akiko Thomson-Guevara. She's the Philippine Sports Commission's (PSC) cluster head in which Sport Climbing falls under. Sounds huge already? For a sports fan like me it is definitely bigger than what I'm used to. Meeting and spending 30 minutes in conversation with a pinoy sports icon and discuss the near future of sport climbing in the Philippines . . . what can beat that ? Refresher . . . She held the women’s 200-meter backstroke that clocked at 2:16.76 during the SeaGames in 1995. Only last year did it got broken, the new record at 2:15.73.
I was almost late for the appointment. I was catching my breath when I got to the 4th floor. The long corridor's polished granite and the hushed library feel as I walked to the commissioner's office reminded me to compose myself. It's almost like composure before sending a route or a problem but not all chalked up all over. I greeted Atty. Jay Alano and the secretary a good morning. The rosy cheeks and sweat beads rolling down my neck perhaps gave it away when they asked if I needed time to relax. HA ! So, "Yes, please. I'll just catch my breath for a minute", was my response. I sat down to lower the heartbeat. I waited for the secretary's nod before proceeding into the office.
Akiko stood tall at the handshake. Her smile, reassuring as the sunrise. She offered coffee, tea, … the apparent parched throat said "water please." We met before but only in brief passing, during the Philippine National Games in Bacolod, May 2011. Close to a year already. It's a pleasure to get reacquainted again. Only a day before did I get the call for the meeting. It's almost too sudden that I found myself in her office. Starstruck much !!!??? You bet !
Her office sat on the fourth floor of the newly refurbished PSC office at the old Rizal Memorial Coliseum. The glaring midday sun highlighted the main track oval. The view was framed over by drapes and the full glass windows behind her desk. She didn't stay behind the desk, she greeted me by the doorway. The gesture to me was a very welcoming one. It felt as though there is already kinship even before we met. Maybe it's the kind of ties athletes share. It felt like the kinship climbers share all over the world. I felt at home.