Palaro 2012: A family affair

Lois Joy Guinmapang
The Nachor family of Region 9 is at Palarong Pambansa for various reasons - the daughter is a gymnast, the father a taekwondo coach, and the mother a chaperone

CARVING HER PATH. Young rhythmic gymnast Trixia Nachor is the daughter of a Palarong Pambansa taekwondo coach. Loj Guinmapang.

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Palarong Pambansa isn’t just a week-long tournament for athletes, it’s also an enjoyable bonding activity for families.

For the Nachor family, however, “bonding activity” is an understatement. They’re all geared up to play a part in this year’s competition.

Coach Emil Nachor, the head of the family, is one of Region 9’s taekwondo coaches, leading a promising team of high school girls. He has been into taekwondo since his college years, winning silver in a kyorugi (sparring) competition in 2010.

He started coaching in Palaro since 2005, and was hired in last year’s games as a technical official.

His wife, Abegail, is one of the teacher chaperones who help with their regional delegation’s preps.

Their only child, 11 year-old Trixia, has been exposed to taekwondo for most of her life. This year, she finally joined her father in Palaro as an athlete for Region 9, though she competed not in taekwondo but in the recently concluded elementary rhythmic gymnastics event.

The shift

Coach Emil has been teaching Trixia kicks and blocks since kindergarten, though his daughter hadn’t really warmed up to the sport.

“Passion ko ang taekwondo (Taekwondo is my passion),” said Coach Emil. But he never pushed Trixia into it, saying that her passion might be different.

And different it was. A giggling Trixia shared she found love in gymnastics, saying she’s in heaven when twirling and bending and doing backflips.

She quit her formal training in taekwondo when she was in 4th grade. The following year, she discovered an opening at their school’s gymnastics team and she tried out, made it, and fell in love with the sport.

Mahilig ako magtumbling-tumbling sa bahay, sa school, kahit saan (I love tumbling around at home, in school, anywhere),” Trixia said, that’s why she took the opportunity once it presented itself.

Magkaiba gymnastics sa taekwondo pero gusto ko sila pareho. Love ko magsports (Gymnastics and taekwondo are different but I like them both. I love sports),” Trixia gushed.

At her young age, Trixia was taught the importance of dieting and taking care of herself because of her sport. “Hindi pwede softdrinks tsaka tsitsirya kasi hindi na tataas yung jumps (I can’t drink soda and junk food because I wouldn’t be able to make high jumps).”

Trying, failing, and trying again

Now that she’s found her niche, her parents couldn’t be any prouder. They were scared of accidents at first, but they realized that in order for Trixia to succeed in doing what she loves most in the world, she must have their full support.

After only a year in gymnastics, Trixia was already good enough to compete with the best of their region to play for Palaro.

With NCR sweeping the awards in her category, however, she wasn’t able to clinch a medal. But with a bright smile, she said competing in the prestigious Palaro is already an achievement in itself.

Trixia graciously accepted defeat, taking it as another challenge.

Hindi naman po ata talaga kami deserving, mas deserved nila yun. Magaling po sila talaga (I think NCR deserves the win, they’re really good),” she said, adding that there’s always next time to try harder, be better.

Trixia did not let the defeat crush her dream of being a renowned gymnast. In fact, she still plans to hone her skills to compete in Palaro’s secondary gymnastics competition next year, in hopes of qualifying for the SEA Games.

Susuportahan pa rin namin siya, kahit minsan mayroon talagang sacrifices (Trixia would still have our full support, even if sometimes supporting her entails sacrifices),” said her mom.

Syempre, magastos din. Yung costumes, yung training (It’s pretty expensive. You’d have to shell out for costumes and training,)” she added.

Coach Emil said they’d support Trixia in every competition because it’s what makes her happy, however, they stressed that her studies are of utmost importance.

Athletes always have a limit, he said. “Kapag nakarating sila sa limit nila, dun na lang sila. Wala na. Pero yung pag-aaral, iba yan, hindi nawawala yan (If athletes decide to stop playing, that’s it, but their education remains with them).

The importance of family

According to studies done by the University of Exeter social support plays a big role in paving the way of an athlete’s victory.

In a report in, Dr. Tim Rees of the University of Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Science shared, “while training, tactics and luck all play a part, the encouraging words or kind gestures of a partner or friend can make the difference between a footballer scoring that winning goal, or a sprinter achieving a record time. The encouragement and support of friends and family clearly plays a massive part in building confidence, which is so important when the pressure is on,” he added.

Researchers tested amateur golf players who completed a series of questionnaires regarding the support they get from their family and friends.

Results said the players who received more support improved by a shot per round, when those who didn’t get as much encouragement were affected by up to three shots per round.

Trixia is a living example and with the support she continues to get from her parents, the road ahead is rich with possibilities. –