DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — Winning every match and taking home the football championship for MIMAROPA (Region 4B) is Leon Hagedorn’s main goal. But during his free time, he does something else.
The 15-year-old booter from Palawan campaigns for his grandfather, brother of his direct grandfather Douglas Hagedorn, vying for a senatorial seat in the upcoming May 2013 elections: Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn.
“I campaign for my ‘lolo’ (grandfather) when I have spare time after training and matches,” he said.
Despite the busy schedule of his team vying for the title, he said he does all these things to help his family in any way he can.
Coming from a political family, campaigning is not a new thing to Leon. Aside from his senatorial candidate grandfather, his father, Mark, is also running for vice mayor in Puerto Princesa City.
Antonio Austria, Leon’s personal coach, said that campaigning for the long-time Puerto Princesa mayor was the kid’s personal choice, despite the assumptions that this might affect his concentration playing his matches.
“It was Leon’s choice to help in his lolo’s campaign,” he said. “He is a very motivated and organized kid.”
Leon narrated that during his free time, he goes around Dumaguete City to give out flyers and campaign materials. He also talks about his lolo’s campaign platform.
“I go around the City when I have time. I give out my lolo’s flyers to vendors, stores and my fellow athletes,” he said.
In MIMAROPA’s win against Ilocos Region in the final match of Group C in the football event of the Palarong Pambansa, Leon took his chance to campaign for his lolo once again.
He hurriedly ran to his coach after the final whistle to say his gratitude for letting him play, then he grabbed some of his lolo’s campaign flyers and gave it out to people.
No special treatment
Despite coming from a political family, Leon said he prefers to be treated like a normal kid.
“I don’t want special treatment. I want to be treated equally like the rest. I find it more fulfilling that way,” he said.
He brings his bags all the way to the stadium from their billeting quarters and gives out water to his teammates during breaks in their games.
Asked about his footballing dream, he said he wants to become an Azkal one day.
But when asked about a possible political career in the future, he smiled and thought for a moment, then said these words.
“Politics? It’s not my priority at the moment. But who knows? When the time comes, I’ll think about it.” – Rappler.com