TAGUM CITY, Philippines – What started off as a way to pass time has turned into something more passionate, and hopefully in the future, a means to attain better education that could be the launching pad to achieving more goals.
Such is the current road Ilocos Region swimmer Alison Noble finds herself in. An elementary student from Lorma Colleges in San Juan, La Union, the 11-year-old athlete is hoping to win her fourth competition in the 2015 Palarong Pambansa – the largest grassroots sporting event in the country.
A fourth win would be a great feat for someone yet to reach her teenage years, let alone an athlete who started her sport just three years prior.
But doing so requires hard work through training, dedication, will, and from time to time, a source of inspiration and motivation. Noble finds the latter from her father, who coincidentally, is the reason she spends hours in a pool.
“Nag start po ako mag swimming dahil sa papa ko,” Noble said on Tuesday, May 5.
(I started swimming because of my dad.)
“Kasi wala po ako magawa sa bahay,” she laughed, “kaya nag swimming na lang.”
(I had nothing to do at home, that's why I started swimming.)
Noble, who will participate in the elementary girls freestyle swimming contest, is coming off an impressive 2014 campaign which included wins in the IRAA (Ilocos Region Athletic Association) and Milo Little Olympics held in Manila.
Her father, a former volleyball coach, has made it a point to travel with her to competitions, with, of course, guiding words to help her get by.
“Galingan ko daw po, tapos good luck, and then sasabihin niya po ano yung kailangan kong gawin,” Noble said.
(He tells me to do my best, good luck, and he tells me what I need to do.)
“Yung daddy ko, inspired ako dahil sa kanya dahil tinuturuan niya ako, sinasamahan niya ako, sinasabi niya kung ano mga mali ko, at tsaka ano dapat ang tama na gawin ko.”
(My dad, he inspires me because he teaches me, always goes with me, tells me what I'm doing wrong, and what's the right things for me to do.)
Her father has dreams of making sure she receives an education in Manila, she says, and the young Noble shares those hopes as well. Improving as a swimmer could lead to a scholarship offer from a top university in Manila. If she gets to that point, Alison already has a specified destination in mind: Ateneo.
Besides their obvious quality education, there’s another reason why Noble would like to be an athlete of the university.
“Doon po yung mga magagaling na kilala ko,” she said, mentioning she idolizes the most popular volleyball athlete of the school.
(That's where the athletes I really know are at.)
“Yung volleyball player po nila, si [Alyssa] Valdez. Kasi hindi siya nag gi-give up. At tsaka kahit na malapit na matalo, hindi siya nagpapatalo.”
([Alyssa] Valdez doesn't give up. And even if her team might lose, she doesn't give in easily.)
Noble would like to major in Chemistry, and become a scientist after graduation.
Would she like to invent something?
“Gagawa po ako nang sasakyan na auto-drive,” she said, sharing her imaginations of a vehicle that doesn’t need to be manually steered.
(I'll make a car that drives itself.)
And in terms of her swimming, she has her eyes set on the largest form of athletic competition the world has to offer.
“Gusto ko pumunta sa Olympics.”
(I want to make it to the Olympics.)