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In Retrospect: FFLA Stories from the 15th Thirsty Cup

Tacloban City – Weeks after their Thirsty Cup experience, we checked in on the players and asked them to share some highlights from their trip. They happily obliged.

​As it was their first time to visit Cebu, and likewise, their first time to play at the Thirsty Cup, the FFLA players eagerly refreshed their memories and shared their stories.

All 20 FFLA players have never travelled outside of Tacloban before, and the chance to go to Cebu and play against football teams coming from different cities, schools, and regions proved to be an eye-opening experience.

New experiences, fortified dreams

It costs 50 USD for FundLife to bring a FFLA player to Cebu, but for a child who’s never been out of Tacloban – the experience is priceless.

For children coming from marginalized communities, the chance to visit new places and cities and meet new faces is nothing more than a fancy dream. With their families’ priorities centered on food, shelter, and education, travelling is just a financial burden. Hence, FundLife, through the FFLA programme, brings players to compete and thrive outside of their comfort zones, thereby exposing them to different situations, new people, and diverse cultures; and in the process – introducing them to a bigger world abound with possibilities awaiting their potential. In many ways, this is what experiential, play-based learning is all about.

A lesson on failing

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.” - Denis Waitley

When asked how they felt about losing, the players shared that they we’re initially disappointed. But they chose to look at it as a chance for improvement. With the help of FFLA coaches, they assessed their performances and identified weak points of their game plan and, more determined than ever, committed to diligently attend their practice sessions to further develop their football skills – as individual players and together as a team.

Met with much bigger players and more aggressive opponents, the FFLA kids struggled to execute their game plan. But they soon gained momentum and managed to win a few games, though not enough for the qualifying matches. Nevertheless, they described the experience as nothing short of fun and full of learning.

Grateful and hopeful Ever grateful for the opportunity to play at the 15th Thirsty Football Cup, the FFLA players expressed how FundLife, through the FFLA programme contributed to their growth, values formation, academics, and personal and interpersonal development. Although they came from different schools in Tacloban, they have formed a special bond with their teammates and have learned greatly from each other and from their shared experiences on and off the field.

Amidst the exchange of thank yous, we did a quick scan of the happy faces and, with a renewed sense of passion and pride in the progress of our endeavors and the impact in the lives of underserved youth that we are making, we nodded back and uttered, “the pleasure is all ours”.

​We move forward with bigger dreams to achieve.

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